Williams and Simpson show early Interest in Balmoral 2012 - 30 October 2011
Commonwealth Games marathon representative Martin Williams and international mountain running star Robbie Simpson are among the first leading Scottish athletes to express an interest in competing in the 2012 Balmoral road races, entries for which have now opened.
Anglo Scot Williams, who won the Stena Drilling Tartan 10Km at Balmoral last April, is competing in the London marathon one week before the big Deeside event.
He's looking for the performance of a lifetime to secure a place on Team GB for the London Games later in the summer, but admits it's a bit of a long shot.
He said:"The London marathon will be the final chance to post a qualifying time and I'll be giving it one last go.It's going to be tough as I'd need to run much faster than I've done before, so that may prove to be too much."
So, it all depends on how things progress. I'd like to do Balmoral again. I won the 10Km there a week after running in London last year, so I know I can do it."
Simpson, from Banchory, has already pencilled the event into his diary. The 19 year-old, silver medallist in this year's Commonwealth mountain running championships and bronze medallist in the world long distance mountain running championships, is keen to build on previous successes at Balmoral.
Last April he won the Petrofac Challenge half marathon less than 24 hours after finishing third in the Stena Drilling Tartan 10Km.
He's desperate to tackle the event again in 2012 when the Petrofac race is held over a 15 mile course around the royal estate.
He said:"I really enjoyed it this year and I'd be keen to run in it again. The course was great and everyone seemed to like it."
The Petrofac race will be held on Sunday 29th April while the other Balmoral races, the Stena Drilling 10Km, the ConocoPhillips 5Km, the Kongsberg Maritime secondary schools 2.5Km and the MPH primary schools 1.5Km all go ahead on Saturday 28th April.
In total, around 6,000 people are expected to sign up for the races.
The event is now in its 15th year and continues to go from strength to strength, being widely acknowledged as one of the premier running events on the Scottish sporting calendar.
Many of the races were fully subscribed well in advance of the closing date last Spring, and the same is expected on this occasion.
Event manager Alastair Simpson said: “Each year we try to make the event better and hopefully that will be the case again in 2012."
"RunBalmoral offers something for runners of all ages and levels of ability. We have great prizes for the top athletes if they can break the existing course records, but we are equally interested in ensuring that everyone enjoys their visit to our event. If you haven't done it before enter now and get training."
Race organisers are keen to attract groups of runners from companies to take part in the Stena Drilling 10Km, the ConcoPhillips 5Km and the Petrofac Challenge to help promote health in the workplace.
Schools from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray are particularly encouraged to participate in the Kongsberg Maritime Secondary Schools 2.5Km and the MPH Ltd Primary Schools 1.5Km as the primary and secondary school with most runners taking part will be awarded the Aberdeen City and Shire Active Schools Challenge trophy.
RunBalmoral Chairman James Knowles is looking forward to what promises to be an exciting weekend. He said: “We had a very successful event in 2011 and we are working on enhancing the experience for 2012."
"It's certainly a special event. There's nowhere else in Britain that you can come and run in the grounds of royal property."