Thousands of runners of all ages and abilities will take on the challenge of a half marathon, 10K or family run as part of this weekend’s Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run.
Union Street will be transformed into a festival of running, with all three distances starting and finishing on the famous thoroughfare in the Granite City, as 5,000 participants take part in the final Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run.
Among these are special, dedicated waves from Aberdeen University, Police Scotland, jogscotland and Aberdeen Football Club.
In particular, the AFC red wave will be 1,000 strong, and along with supporters, a number of staff members from the club are running. Fans of all ages from 12 to 76 will be running both the 10k and half marathon. Aberdeen’s record goalscorer Joe Harper will be honorary starter for the Red Wave.
The Red Wave has proved so popular that other UK professional football clubs are now following Aberdeen’s lead and creating their own waves in Simplyhealth Great Run events around the United Kingdom.
An Aberdeen FC spokesperson said: “The ‘wave’ is a great idea and AFC is extremely proud to be the first professional football club to be creating its own wave.’
“Sunday is set to be a veritable ‘sea of red’ which will be a magnificent sight for what should be a great mix of fun and healthy activity and fantastic for the Aberdeen FC Community Trust which does so much good here in the north east.
“Having Joe Harper, AFC’s all-time top scorer, with 205 goals for the club, to see the runners off will only add to the occasion and hopefully spur on those taking part to hopefully record a personal best for the event. On behalf of AFC and AFCCT, I would like to thank everyone who is participating in the AFC Wave for their generosity. It really is appreciated.”
The traffic-free courses showcase many of the city's key historic buildings and landmarks such as the Castlegate, Beach Ballroom, Brig O’Balgownie and Marischal College. The half marathon also includes a section through beautiful Seaton Park before heading past St Machar’s Cathedral and along the cobbled streets of the Auld Toon.
The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is an event staged in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Celebrate Aberdeen, VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Aberdeen Inspired.
Jayne Fearn, Simplyhealth Great Run Manager, said: “The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is perfect for families who want to enjoy happier, healthier lives through being active together, and Simplyhealth will be supporting you every step of the way. We’ll also be helping runners with their post-run recovery at our free Massage Zone.
"This year, we’re proud to have Diabetes UK as our official charity partner for the Series. Our partnership enables us to continue our great work in supporting people with their health; encouraging as many people as possible to become more active to reduce the risks of developing conditions such as diabetes.
"Good luck to everyone taking part. We look forward to seeing you at the finish line to celebrate your amazing achievements.”
Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said: “This weekend is set to be packed with festivities, we are looking forward to seeing thousands take to the streets of Aberdeen, of all ages and abilities, bringing the streets to life by either running the family mile, the 10k or the half marathon.
“We hope to see those that are not running lining the streets to show their support.
“With Inspired Nights and Celebrate Aberdeen also illuminating the city centre this weekend there is something for everyone.
“The Great Aberdeen Run is one of many events on the summer schedule and part of the 365 events strategy, which will allow us as a city to continue to evolve, reach new audiences and underline our role as a global city and must-visit destination.”
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “It is shaping up to be a fantastic weekend with the Great Aberdeen Run, Celebrate Aberdeen and Inspired Nights on the Green.
“Events like this showcase the heart of our city centre and will attract thousands of people, both runners and supporters to enjoy everything Aberdeen has to offer. Our team is looking forward to taking part in the 10K and wish all our fellow competitors the best of luck on the day.
“There is always a fantastic atmosphere at the Great Aberdeen Run and we are looking forward to being a part of it.”
Chris Foy, Chief executive, VisitAberdeenshire said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming runners from up and down the country to take part in the final Great Aberdeen Run. We hope runners enjoy the city’s majesty as they make their way around the scenic course. I’m incredibly proud to be starting the race and wish all runners taking part the very best of luck.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The race generates a tremendous atmosphere with participants coming from all over the world to take part and we want to see as many spectators as possible lining the route across the city to cheer on the runners. We also know there will be tough competition in the Business Challenge so wish every team taking part good luck for the big event.”
For more information, visit greatrun.org/Aberdeen