The stage is being set for Aberdeen's biggest running event, as the inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run makes its debut in the Granite City on Sunday 27th August.
Almost 8,000 athletes, fun runners and charity fundraisers have entered the event, which features a half marathon and a sold-out 10k and Family Run.
Olympic silver medallist, World & Commonwealth Games champion swimmer Robbie Renwick, is returning to his hometown to set the runners on their way, before running the 10k himself.
Former Scotland football star Ian Wilson will also take on the 10k distance, along with colleagues from his children's football coaching academy, which he set-up 18 years ago.
Starting and finishing on Union Street, the routes take in many of Aberdeen's cultural landmarks and iconic buildings such as Castlegate, Aberdeen Harbour, Pittodrie Stadium, Brig O'Balgownie, King's College and Old Aberdeen.
The event is taking place on the same weekend as Celebrate Aberdeen, which will see more than 160 third sector organisations perform a parade along Union Street on Saturday, August 26th. They will also stage an afternoon of live music in the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run event village in Union Terrace Gardens on Sunday from 12-15:00.
It's shaping up to be an international affair, with runners travelling from Austria, Canada, Norway and the United States to take on the 10k, while the half marathon features entrants from Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa and Singapore.
The day will hopefully see a world record being set for the fastest half marathon runner wearing a kilt, an initiative set by VisitAberdeenshire. Local athletes John Roach and Jim Tole are the contenders, and will go head-to-head in an attempt to set a new record by completing the course in less than 90 minutes.
Many of the north east's top elite names will be competing, including Deeside's Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson, who was second British finisher in this year's London marathon.
The 25 year-old is to take part in the half marathon in which he'll be joined by Great Britain ultra-distance trail running representative Kyle Greig, of Metro Aberdeen Running Club.
All three members of Metro Aberdeen's British marathon championship women's winning team will also be in action. Fiona Brian is to run in the 10k while Jennifer Elvin and Hazel Wyness plan to tackle the half marathon.
Active members of the business community will be out in force, with teams taking part in what is sure to be a competitive Business Challenge competition within each of the distances.
The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is being brought to the city by the organisers of the Simplyhealth Great North Run, the world's biggest half marathon, held every year between Newcastle and South Shields. It is being delivered in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, VisitAberdeenshire, and Aberdeen Inspired. It is supported by the Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan.
Kerry Simpson, communications manager at the Great Run Company, said: “We can't wait to bring Great Run to the North East, and we hope that the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run shapes up to be a must-do event in the UK's running calendar. It's sure to be a great day out for the whole family, and we encourage participants and spectators alike to stay in the city and enjoy the entertainment from Celebrate Aberdeen throughout the day in Union Terrace Gardens.”
James Glover, Simplyhealth chief corporate affairs officer, said: “As title partner of the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run we have one simple aim to get #millionsmoving. Our passion and purpose is helping people to make the most of life through better everyday health. The new event in this great city is a brilliant way to do just that and we look forward to seeing many runners of all ages and abilities enjoy the numerous races on the day.”
Aberdeen City Council leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “Through our City Centre Masterplan Aberdeen City Council is committed to making Aberdeen an even more vibrant place to live, work, invest and visit – and the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is an exciting addition to our city events programme.
“Combining the inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run with the established and thriving Celebrate Aberdeen is fabulous for the city, creating a weekend of activity that has something for everyone. Our Aberdeen 365 Events Programme demonstrates the commitment of our local and national partners that support our vision of development and sustainability of culture in the north-east.”
Chris Foy, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, said: “The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is a fantastic addition to the busy North-east events calendar, which through its collaboration with Celebrate Aberdeen will offer visitors and residence alike with a unique sport and cultural experience.
“We also have the possibility of setting a new world record this weekend, which would be fantastic if we can get the first ever Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run listed in the record books. I'm sure John and Jim will have plenty of support along the route. The inaugural event has definitely captured the attention of people both locally and internationally and we look forward to welcoming runners and supporters alike to the city.”
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We are delighted to be a key partner in bringing the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run to the city, which fits perfectly with our ambition to see the very best national and international events come here. To have the start and finish on Union Street, right in the heart of the city, will only add to the spectacle. Of course, the weekend will be complemented by the colour and splendour of Celebrate Aberdeen, a fantastic gathering of worthy third sector organisations from across the city that we are proud to sponsor and support.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a fantastic and energetic event that is a real positive for Aberdeen. The route showcases the very best of what we have to offer visitors and we look forward to welcoming thousands of people to the city centre, both participants and spectators, providing a welcome boost to the local economy and raising the profile of our region.”
Find out more at greatrun.org/Aberdeen