The first-ever Stirling Scottish Marathon arrives this weekend - here's a flavour of what to expect as 7,000 runners are set to run through the heart of Scotland

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

There will be more than 7,000 runners taking part in events across the weekend in Stirling, with The Thistles Great Stirling Family Run taking place on Saturday at the University of Stirling, and the Stirling Scottish Marathon kicking off on Sunday morning. Before the marathon runners make it to the city centre, more than 500 runners will take on the Great Stirling 5k, following a city loop and finishing in City Park. There is something for everyone!

SAFARI PARK

How many running events do you know start in a safari park? The answer is one. This one. Blair Drummond Safari Park will host the start area of the Stirling Scottish Marathon, where runners will complete their final preparations and take on some vital fuel, with the safari park offering water and bananas on the day. Don’t let the giraffes put you off your warm-up though, they won’t be joining you on your 26.2 mile journey.

RUNNING WITH LEGENDS

Double Commonwealth Games gold medallist Liz McColgan will be taking on the marathon, alongside South African and Great British Olympian Zola Budd who is jetting in to tackle the 26.2 miles distance. They will be among the 6,500 runners who have signed up for the very first marathon in Stirling. In the 5K, Portugal’s Olympic gold medallist Rosa Mota is making the journey to join 500 other runners for a city centre run.

SCENIC VIEWS

This marathon has been designed to fully maximise the incredible scenery we have in the heart of Scotland. As you make your way past Doune Castle, into Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, and through the University of Stirling’s grounds, before passing underneath the Wallace Monument, where you will be able to see the imposing Stirling Castle in the distance. Two laps of the city centre will then see you finish alongside the castle in City Park. If the run isn’t enough, the view will be breathtaking.

JELLY BABIES

It is scientifically proven that runners need jelly babies. They are specifically designed to give a boost to the distance runner, and there will be piles of the stuff available when the runners really need them. Look out for kind people handing them out on your city centre loop.

KEEP UP

Not running? Keep tabs on your loved ones taking part by downloading the Great Run app, where you can track your friends and family as they make their way around the course.

BEER AND GIN AT THE FINISH LINE

Most runners taking on the marathon will have taken a vow of abstention during their gruelling training for the marathon, so will be looking forward to a drink once they’ve tackled the 26.2 miles. If they are that way inclined, event partners Harviestoun are offering free beer to the first 500 finishers, while Stirling Gin will be providing runners with samples of gin and tonic. Drink up, you’ve earned it!

PHOTO FINISH

Look out for the Stirling:Alive with Scotland photo booth at the finish line on Sunday. Capture the moment with a free animated GIF of you and your family/friends, as well as a printed copy to take home. PLUS one lucky visitor will get selected at random for a FREE Stirling City Pass and overnight stay in Stirling

CHARITY SUPPORT

The course will be lined with seven charity cheering points, where representatives from good causes will be providing the 6,500 runners with support and encouragement. It’s going to be a tough slog around the 26.2 miles, and you will need every high five you can muster. Nothing gives you a boost like a well-despatched high five. Again, that’s science.

CITY CENTRE MUSIC

The course has been designed so that runners will get the support they need for the toughest part of your marathon journey. Look out for the bands on the run around the course. From mile 17, you enter the city centre and complete two full laps, finishing in City Park. Event partners Capital Radio will be playing out power tunes at various points around the course including Murray Place - ditch the headphones and rock out!

FOOD AT THE FINISH

Having ran a marathon, runners are well within their rights to demand, and consume, every morsel of food they can get their hands on. There will be plenty of food on offer at the finishers’ village, where runners can reunite with their families. And with the city centre a short distance away, there will be plenty of food outlets to choose from.

Click here for our Spectator Guide to the Stirling Scottish Marathon!