Some of Scotland’s best distance runners are among the 5,000 people to have signed up for Run Balmoral 2022 being held this weekend (April 23-24).
Two-time Mountain Running World Cup champion Andy Douglas (Inverclyde AC) has been a regular supporter of the popular Deeside meeting and the Caithness man returns to compete in the Bristow 15 mile trail race. Jason Kelly (Metro Aberdeen), who is to represent Great Britain at this summer’s world 100k championships, also plans to run.
Scotland internationals Sean Chalmers (Inverness Harriers) and Lachlan Oates (Shettleston Harriers) go head-to-head in the Harbour Energy 5k in which the course record is expected to come under threat. Teviotdale’s Alastair Walker, a world record holder in the over-65 age group, is also taking part while Scotland international Naomi Lang (Aberdeen AAC) is among the favourites for the women’s 5k title.
But while these and other elite performers will battle for the top prizes, the exciting programme of eight races caters for all ages and abilities, making this a true community festival of running.
Run Balmoral Chair James Knowles is looking forward to welcoming runners back to the Deeside estate from far and wide for what will be the 23rd edition of the races.
He said: “It has been a long wait since our last event, in 2019, and we would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during what has been a traumatic time for so many people.
“But the support we have received from runners, sponsors, suppliers and the wider local community has been terrific and we are excited to be back. One new feature this year will be enhanced top quality video coverage of the event, with drone footage (weather permitting), courtesy of sponsors Tidy Green Clean (TGC).
Knowles outlined the format for the running festival which sees the action spread over two days.
He said: “The opening day begins with the MPH primary schools 1.5km races and the Aon secondary schools 2.5km followed by the Harbour Energy 5km and the Stena Drilling 10km.
“The Apollo duathlon kicks off the second day followed by the Bristow 15 mile and three mile trail races. And, for those who want the total Balmoral experience, there’s always the Devil of Deeside Challenge. This gruelling event requires competitors to take part in four adult races over the two days – the 5km and 10km on the Saturday, followed by the duathlon and 15 mile trail race on the Sunday.
“Then there’s the Stena Drilling – Harbour Energy Corporate Team Challenge. This is an exciting competition embodied within RunBalmoral. It provides a wonderful opportunity for you to get together with your work / colleagues to compete for the magnificent team trophy to be awarded to the RunBalmoral Corporate Team Challenge Champions.
“Every finisher will receive the second in our series of five medals to be presented between now and 2025, each featuring an iconic landmark within and around the Balmoral estate. The 2019 medal showcased Lochnagar while this year we feature Balmoral Castle. In future we will include the Auld Brig o’Dee, Albert’s Cairn and Crathie Kirk.
“In addition to the race we also have the bustling Albyn Hospital Event Village which offers a range of catering outlets and a number of fun activities for youngsters.
“Our charity programme continues to raise huge amounts of money for worthy causes and this year I am proud to say we are working closely with VSA, Kayleigh’s Wee Stars, Aberdeen University Development Trust, Charlie House, and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.
“It is, in every respect, a truly fantastic example of all sectors of the community coming together in partnership to create and enjoy what is a superb family occasion.
“It promises to be a fabulous weekend.”