Runners’ chance to pick up keys to Balmoral as entries open for the 21st anniversary races on 21st and 22nd April 2018.

Boost for secondary schools runners

Runners can earn a key to the castle when competing in the 21st anniversary Run Balmoral races over the weekend of 21st-22nd April 2018.View on Facebook

Entries have now opened for the popular Deeside event and to commemorate the occasion iconic key-shaped medals featuring a symbolic outline of the Balmoral castle turrets will be given to all competitors.

It’s a one-off innovative idea from the organisers of Aberdeenshire’s biggest sporting participation occasion which attracts more than 5,000 runners of all ages who will take part in a programme of eight races over the two days of competition.

RunBalmoral Chairman James Knowles said: “We are always keen to try new ideas and this year we have come up with a medal design which is very different from the usual ones. We thought it would be appropriate to have a key, given this is the 21st year of the races, and we are sure runners will be keen to earn one of these unique awards.

Knowles also revealed that a new sponsor has come on board to support the secondary schools 2.5km race which will additionally receive backing from the annual RunBalmoral sports bursary scheme.

He said: “I am delighted that the FOS Group has signed up as title sponsor for the2.5km race. The FOS Group brings together the skills of one of our existing sponsors, engineering experts Apollo, with offshore construction specialist, Aqua Terra, to deliver on and offshore oil and gas projects.

“With the new sponsors on board we thought this would be an ideal time to make a fresh attempt to encourage more secondary school youngsters to run at Balmoral. To assist with this, we have allocated £1,000 from our successful sports bursary programme for projects which lead to an increased number of runners in the 2.5km race.

“These might be projects which support after-school running clubs, encouraging more teenagers to get involved with the sport.

“Or it could be for the purchase of running kit for a new team. Equally it might used to help subsidise transport to the RunBalmoral meeting for a group of youngsters who might not otherwise be able to make the trip. We will consider any exciting ideas.”

“The other part of the Bursary programme offers a further £2,000 and bids are invited from 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. We have supported 32 different projects over the first three years of the Bursary scheme and look forward to helping more in 2018.”

The race weekend will kick off as usual on the Saturday with the MPH Ltd primary schools 1.5km boys’ and girls’ races , followed by  the FOS Group secondary schools 2.5km, the ConocoPhillips 5km and the Stena Drilling Tartan 10km. The 5km and 10km also include a highly competitive corporate team challenge competition. Then on the Sunday there’s the Apollo duathlon (6km run/15km cycle/5km run), the TRAC Trail Race (15 Miles) and the TRAC Wee Trail race (3 miles).

And, returning for a second year is the Repsol Sinopec Devil of Deeside Challenge. This gruelling event requires competitors to take 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 and running vest.

Knowles said: “We were taken aback by the popularity of last year’s inaugural Devil of Deeside Challenge which attracted more than 100 hardy participants. It proved hugely attractive and captured the imagination of so many people that we just had to put it on again. Alan Semple and Kerry Prise are the reigning champions and both have indicated they will defend their titles in 2018.

Knowles also paid tribute to the many sponsors who make RunBalmoral possible, saying:

“I am grateful to all our sponsors who, despite given the harsh realities of the economic climate, continue to give us tremendous support. 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 2018 and we encourage runners to get involved in supporting these organisations. The charities have without doubt added a real vibrancy to RunBalmoral.

“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, Come-and-Try days will be held when people will have an opportunity to be taken on guided runs around the race courses. These will be on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th March 2018.

“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.

“Also, in conjunction with RUN-4-IT, we are once again organising a t-shirt design competition. 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 FOS Group Secondary Schools 2.5km races. There are separate competitions for primary schools and secondary schools. The winners will receive a free entry to RunBalmoral 2018 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 by going to our exciting newly revamped website. 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 and


Add Comment