One day to go . . . . - 24 April 2015
Robbie returns to bid for double in Stena Drilling Tartan 10km and Glacier Energy 15 mile trail race.
Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson will make a bold attempt to win the Stena Drilling Tartan 10km and the Glacier Energy 15 mile trail race at Balmoral this weekend.
The 24 year-old distance running star has flown home from his training base in Austria to take part.
Simpson loves competing at Balmoral and has a long association with the event. He won the Kongsberg Maritime secondary schools 2.5km race in 2006 before going on to take top spot in the Stena Drilling Tartan 10km for the past two years and the Glacier Energy 15 mile trail race three years in a row between 2011 and 2013.
He last won the 10km trail race double in 2013 and will attempt to match that again this weekend but admits to be focussing his energies primarily on the 10Km with the aim of improving the course record of 31min 17secs he set in 2013.
He said: "Balmoral is one of my favourite events. I come from Deeside and it's the biggest event in the area. I love racing in the estate, the forests are great and you get the views of the hills so it’s the best place to do a road race.
I first raced there in 2004 and I've done at least one race every year since then because I enjoy it so much.
Other 10km contenders include veteran Corstorphine athlete Keith Hood who won the 10km in 2009 and finished third last year, 2013 Crathes half marathon champion Kenny O'Neill (Ron Hill Cambuslang), Garioch half marathon champion Kyle Greig (Forres Harriers) and 2014 Tour of Clydeside winner Stuart Macdougall (Bellahouston Harriers).
Simpson's main rival in the trail race is Great Britain international Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde AC). Douglas, who won the Balmoral 10Km in 2010 and 2012, will be going into Sunday's trail race with fresh legs as he is not taking part in Saturday's 10km.
Simpson's record for the route is 1hr 21min 11secs set in 2012 but that could come under threat either from him or Douglas.
George French (Garioch Road Runners), who was third two years ago, looks capable of emulating that performance again.
Veronique Oldham (Cosmic Hillbashers) defends her title in the women's trail race in which last year's third-placer, Nicole Akeroyd, is also taking part.
Pics: (1) Robbie Simpson, 1535, takes an early lead in the 10km last year; (2) Runners in the trail race; (3) Veronique Oldham, 2014 women's trail race champion