THOUSANDS of runners took to the roads for the Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run this weekend. Over 5,000 signed up for a marathon or half marathon challenge on a spectacular route through several historic locations in Stirlingshire on Sunday. A day earlier, hundreds of youngsters took part in the Simplyhealth Great Stirling Family Run in Kings Park.

Runners were set on their way by Stirling's Provost, Christine Simpson, as they headed out on a route through the local countryside, featuring historic towns and impressive monuments, before returning to the finish line on Kings Park Road.

Michael Wright of Central AC retained his title as champion of the Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run marathon in a time of 2.29.32, with Kevin Wood of Fife AC second in 2.30.53 and Donnie Macdonald of Inverness Harriers AAC  in third clocking 2.34.21.

Jennifer Wetton, also of Central AC was the first woman home in 2.56.05, Lesley Hansen of Inverness Harriers AAC was second in 3.04.50 and Rhona Van Rensburgh of Fife AC third with 3.09.55.

Central AC also took the top two spots in the second Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run Half Marathon, which was won by Matthew Sutherland in 69.59, with Lewis Millar second in 73.36 and Martin Brown of Kilmarnock Harriers & AC was third in 73.48.

First woman was Fiona Matheson of Falkirk Victoria Harriers with 82.48, Sarah Stephen was second in 87.37 and Rachael Adamson third in 89.39.

Organisers The Great Run Company, working once again in partnership with Stirling Council, were delighted with the day.

Jamie Still, Event Director, said: "The Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run has once again given runners the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful part of the world from a unique perspective.

"The atmosphere around the course was great, with locals turning out in force to cheer on runners.”

Speaking after the event, Stirling Council Chief Executive, Carol Beattie, said: “It has been another wonderful weekend of sporting action in Stirling, kicking off with the fun-filled Family Run on Saturday which saw hundreds of children and parents get active together.

“Less than 24 hours later we welcomed thousands of participants and visitors to our beautiful city for the marathon and half marathon, with our communities turning out in great numbers to offer tremendous support.

“A huge congratulations to the medal winners and all the runners for achieving personal targets, raising money for a range of good causes and inspiring others with their dedication.

“For Stirling, this festival of running cemented our reputation as a top-class events destination and delivered an economic and tourism boost to the area.

“Getting people active with such an entertaining event will also improve health and well-being across our communities.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our staff, partners and all the various agencies for making the event such a success, and to express gratitude to residents for their patience and understanding with the road closures.”

Bambos Neophytou, Brand Director at Simplyhealth, said,  “What a fantastic weekend - the Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run and Family Run have been amazing!  We welcomed thousands of runners and spectators alike to the city, creating an electric atmosphere. From families taking part and getting more active together, to individuals taking on their own person challenges, events like these just go to show what people of all ages and abilities can achieve. Congratulations to everyone who took part. We're really proud to be supporting people every step of the way and hope to encourage even more people across the UK to be more active, helping them to achieve happier, healthier lives while reducing the risk of health concerns such as Type 2 diabetes.”

For full results and pictures visit  greatrun.org/Stirling