Balmoral Castle the backdrop to the race

The Devil of Deeside Challenge at Balmoral - 25 October 2016

The Devil of Deeside Challenge at Balmoral

Entries open for the 20th anniversary 2017 races to be held on 22nd and 23rd April.

Entries have now opened for the 20th anniversary RunBalmoral races to be held over the weekend of 22nd- 23rd April 2017 and as part of the celebrations organisers are encouraging competitors to sign up for an exciting new test of endurance - the Devil of Deeside Challenge. 

This novel event involves taking part in all four adult races over the two days - the ConocoPhillips 5km and the Stena Drilling 10km on the Saturday, followed by the Apollo duathlon and the TRAC 15 mile trail race on the Sunday.

The man and woman with the best cumulative time from the four races will win a fantastic trophy and prize, and everyone taking part in the challenge will receive a limited edition Devil of Deeside race t-shirt. A discounted entry fee will be given to all Challenge competitors.

RunBalmoral Chairman James Knowles hopes the new challenge will prove popular. He said: “We wanted to come up with something a little different for our 20th anniversary and believe this will test the hardiest of competitors. We know that some people have tackled all four races in previous years so decided it would be interesting to turn it into a proper competition for2017.

“There’s no doubt it will be a tough but enjoyable couple of days for those taking part and I’m looking forward to seeing how many people sign up to become one of our Devils of Deeside. They will all be asked to wear a distinctive t-shirt for the races so they can be easily distinguished from other participants and I’m sure the Devils will become cult heroes for the weekend. It should be good fun.”

In another new development, Knowles announced that TRAC Oil & Gas have signed up as  sponsors of both the 15 mile trail race and the 3 mile Wee trail race.

He said “I am delighted that TRAC Oil & Gas have agreed to support our event for the next two years. These are difficult times for local companies so we are grateful for their support and for the support of all our sponsors, many of whom have been associated with Run Balmoral for a long part of the event’s 20 year history.”

"These companies have always worked with us in a positive and proactive way to ensure we have a successful event. Not only do they provide financial backing, they also encourage their employees to take part in big numbers, which they do.  Without this loyal support, RunBalmoral could not happen.

“We are also delighted to once again be working in partnership with Balmoral Estate and to have the support of Aberdeenshire Council as well as many local community organisations who contribute to making the whole occasion something special.

“The Balmoral Estate offers one of the most dramatic settings for a running event, not just in the UK, but worldwide. Last year more than 5,000 runners of all ages signed up for the programme of eight races, and in keeping with the strong community focus of the event, these Balmoral runners raised well in excess of  £100,000 for local charities. We will again be involved with a number of nominated charities in 2017 and we encourage runners to get involved in supporting these organisations. The charities have without doubt added a real vibrancy to RunBalmoral.”

The race weekend programme will kick off as usual on the Saturday with the MPH Ltd primary schools 1.5km boys’ and girls’ races , followed by  the Kongsberg Maritime secondary schools 2.5km, the ConocoPhillips 5km and the Stena Drilling Tartan 10km. The 5km and 10km also include a corporate team challenge competition. Then on the Sunday there’s the Apollo duathlon (5km  run/20km cycle/5km run), the TRAC Trail Race (15 Miles) and the TRAC Wee Trail race (3 miles).

With thousands of spectators coming along to support the runners, the estate will be buzzing with excitement and for those not taking part in the races there is an opportunity to visit the Event Village where a range of activities for all ages will be on offer.

In the lead-up to the race weekend, a Come-and-Try day will be held when people will have an opportunity to be taken on guided runs around the race courses. A date for this is to be confirmed.

Knowles reflected on the history of RunBalmoral, and is looking forward to what promises to be another fantastic weekend. He said: “Paula Radcliffe set a world record time for five miles when competing at the first Balmoral races and since then many other world class athletes have competed here. In more recent years we have seen some of Scotland’s best emerging runners participating on the estate, including Andrew Butchart who finished sixth in the 5,000 metres at this year’s Rio Olympics, and local Great Britain internationals Rhona Auckland and Robbie Simpson.

“All our races promise to be exciting events in which experienced runners will rub shoulders with club athletes, recreational runners and first-time runners as they compete on safe traffic-free courses which offer magnificent views of the castle and the spectacular surrounding countryside.

Knowles also highlighted a RunBalmoral project which he is particularly enthusiastic about.

He said: "I am delighted that we are in a position to continue the RunBalmoral sports bursary initiative into a third year. Last year £3,000 was distributed to support 12 different north east projects which helped youngsters become  involved in sport, or opened up opportunities for young people which might not otherwise have been possible.

“Schools, clubs and other organisations within the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire local authority areas seeking funding for projects which encourage youngsters to take part in running or other active sporting activities are eligible to apply. The Bursary fund will again be £3,000. Small bids allow us to support a variety of projects but in exceptional circumstances a single large award up to the maximum may be made. Bids could be for the total amount needed for a project to proceed or to support funding being provided from other sources. Any innovative ideas will be considered.”

“Also, we are, in conjunction with RUN-4-IT, organising a t-shirt design competition again. School pupils have the chance to design an exciting image for the front of the t-shirts to be given out to all participants in the MPH Primary Schools 1.5km and the Kongsberg Maritime Secondary Schools 2.5km races. There are separate competitions for primary schools and secondary schools.The winners will receive a free entry to RunBalmoral 2017 and a voucher from RUN-4-IT. In addition, the winner’s school will receive £250 to be used for any sports related project. This could include paying for transport to allow pupils to access sports events/facilities or for purchasing kit or equipment.

“Finally, I’d like to advise runners to enter RunBalmoral as soon as possible. Many of the races sold out well before the official closing date last year, so anyone thinking about taking part is encouraged to sign up  quickly.

Full entry details and further information about the bursary project and t-shirt competition can be found at www.runbalmoral.com and www.facebook.com/runbalmoral

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