The leading field

Places available on Sunday. - 23 April 2014

More than 5,000 runners have signed up for this weekend's Balmoral races and entries have closed for all the events - other than Sunday's Wee Trail race.

We'll be taking entries on the day for this exciting new three mile run which is part of the 2014 jogscotland Challenge Series. So, if you are already doing one of the Saturday races and fancy unwinding a scenic short spin on the Sunday, why not come along?

Or, if you just want to get a feel for trail running, with a view to tackling the 15 miler in 2015, then this is your big chance. With a bit of luck there could be 100 runners taking part.

Meanwhile, a capacity field of 500 runners will line-up in the 15 mile trail race which is being held for the fourth time.

Great Britain mountain running champion Robbie Simpson has won all three previous races, but he's giving it a miss this year to concentrate solely on the Stena Drilling Tartan 10Km.

In Simpson's absence, Ben Hukins appears to be favourite to pick up the winner's prize. The Aberdeen runner, who represents Ron Hill Cambuslang Harriers, has been a regular competitor in the 10Km over the years but now he's trying his hand at the longer distance.

Other contenders include Forfar's Brian Bonnyman, Metro Aberdeen's Barry Ingram, Braemar's Al Hubbard and Kemnay's Gregor Young.

Portobello Running Club's Nicola Duncan, who is to represent her native Ireland in the marathon at this summer's European championships in Switzerland, has entered the women's race but may not compete.

The Edinburgh-based athlete is still recovering from posting the 12th fastest time, 2hr 33min 28secs, in the London marathon earlier in the month.

If Duncan doesn't run, then Veronique Oldham (Cosmic Hillbashers), who has finished runner-up twice over the past three years, will be aiming for top spot.

She is likely to face opposition from others including Louise Cartmell (Moray Road Runners),Ruth Mackenzie (Deeside Runners), Angela Hepburn (Aberdeen AAC) and Sarah Simpson (Aberdeen).

Gates McKnight has travelled all the way from Dallas, Texas, to take part while his wife Janet will be joined by Gates's brother Philip in the Wee Trail race. We hope they, and all the rest of you, enjoy the experience.

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