For more information or to enter the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run, visit: Greatrun.org/Edinburgh

Today saw the launch of the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run, the only run that travels through the heart of Edinburgh city centre.

With just two months to go until the starting gun fires, a group of inspirational runners, who have signed up to take on the event on Sunday 23 April, met with Team GB athletes and friends Beth Potter and Steph Twell on the rooftop of the Apex Hotel in Grassmarket as they geared up for the event.

  • Al Hopkins is president of the Edinburgh FrontRunners, a running group that helps drive LGBT inclusion in sport across the city, after finding running as a release when he came out. They have gone from 3 to 128 runners in 3 years.
  • Helen Westcott and her fiancé Justin Orde are training for the 5-mile distance to lose weight as they marry a week after the event. The couple decided to sign up after Justin discovered the tartan trousers he was going to wear for the wedding didn't fit him any more.
  • Arlene Botha set up the Galavanters after a group of friends enlisted her help to get fit. She joined a Jog Scotland leadership group and soon 12 Galavanters runners turned into over 100. Ray Cunningham is the oldest member of the Galavanters at 71 years old.

This year's event will feature the traditional 10-mile distance and a brand new 5-mile run that is perfect for new runners who want to tackle a shorter running route and don't want to miss the opportunity to experience a beautiful course in the city centre.

The runners were offered training tips and advice from long distance runners and Team GB athletes Steph Twell and Beth Potter.

Steph and Beth, who both represented Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and were part of Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games, often train together and spoke to the group about the benefits of running with a buddy.

Beth, who ran in the 10,000m in Rio, said: “When you lead a busy life, you can't always do everything you need or want to do.

“Combining your training time with your best friend or a partner can kill two birds with one stone.

“If you're both training for a big event such as the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run, doing it alone isn't always the best way.

“If there are two of you or a bigger group working toward the same goal, you can always share tips, advice and have an idea of how you are getting on in comparison.

“Plus there is someone to celebrate in style with when you cross that finish line!”

Steph added: “Whether you're new to running or an elite runner, there are many benefits that running in a group or with a friend can give.

“Knowing that you have people waiting for you makes waking up on an early morning a lot easier, especially on those cold days.

“With the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run only two months away, runners will be in the height of their training and having the support from someone else who understands is crucial.”

The Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run course makes the most of the city's historic setting. Starting in Holyrood Park, the course takes runners on a tour of the beautiful city centre, past Holyrood Palace, up the famous Royal Mile and passing tourist destinations such as the Edinburgh Dungeons.

The route takes in the iconic Edinburgh Castle, travelling past the Apex Hotel, which offers runners stunning views of one of Scotland's biggest tourist attractions.

Participants then travel up The Mound before returning to Holyrood Park, near Arthur's Seat and crossing the finish line.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Festivals & Events Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I am delighted that, with the Council's support, the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run returns this spring.

“What is so special about this event that you see runners return time and time again to take part.

“With such a scenic route through Holyrood Park and the city centre, it is no surprise the competition becomes a firm favourite with Scottish and visiting runners.

“I'd like to wish good luck and the best of health to everyone taking part. May Edinburgh's windy weather be always at your back!”

Commenting, Sarah Ford of Simplyhealth said: “Al, Helen, Justin and the Galavanters are perfect examples of how running can be fully-inclusive and beneficial to both physical and mental wellbeing.

“Through their stories and experiences they are all bringing to life the Simplyhealth and Great run purpose to get millions moving.”

For more information or to enter the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run, visit: Greatrun.org/Edinburgh