THOUSANDS of runners took to the roads for the second-ever Stirling Scottish Marathon – with organisers announcing it will be even bigger and better next year.

A total of 6,000 signed up to the marathon and half marathon distances, taking on a spectacular route through several historic locations in Stirlingshire, on Sunday.

A day earlier, hundreds of youngsters took part in the growing Thistles Great Stirling Family Run held as part of a family-friendly fun day in Kings Park, where the marathon and half marathon finished on Sunday.

Marathon runners took on a brand new course with a city centre start and finish, while the half marathon saw its first staging on a bespoke city centre route with magnificent views of the Ochil Hills.

Michael Wright won the Stirling Scottish Marathon in a time of 2.29.19, with Patrick Gierjatowicz second in 2.33.10 and Tom Roche third clocking 2.33.38.

Alison McGill was first woman home in 3.02.35, Michelle Mackay second in 3.05.01 and Rhona Anderson third with 3.09.46.

The inaugural Stirling Scottish Half Marathon was won by Michael Crawley in 69.33, with Stuart Paterson second in 75.03 and Jason Kelly third in 75.55.

First woman was Sarah Brown with 86.58, Louise Tyler was second in 88.21 and Kirsty O'Brien third in 88.32.

Outlander star Sam Heughan (above) took part in the marathon, passing some of the locations where the hit TV show are filmed including Doune Castle – and he clocked 3.13.37 in his first of two marathons inside a month.

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

Paul Foster, Great Run Company CEO, said: "The Stirling Scottish Marathon has showcased central Scotland in all its glory this weekend.

"We're delighted with how our second event here has turned out with runners being cheered on by thousands of supporters.

"We're grateful as ever for the support from Stirling Council, as we look forward to continuing to grow this event.

"I'd encourage anyone who has been inspired this weekend to sign up for next year's marathon and half marathon."

Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer said: “This has been another fantastic day for the Stirling Scottish Marathon, and we'd like to say a huge thank you to all our runners, supporters, spectators and volunteers.

“This is only our second year, but the event is going from strength to strength and we look forward to building on that success for next year.”

The marathon and half marathon will return next year on Sunday 28 April, with entries open now. The first 200 entries in the marathon and first 500 entries in the half marathon will receive a 20% discount.

The event will from next year be welcomed into the Simplyhealth Great Run Series and will now be known as Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run.

Romana Abdin, CEO of Simplyhealth, said: “We're thrilled to welcome Stirling into the Simplyhealth Great Run Series calendar. We have a passion and purpose that's all about helping people make the most of life through better everyday health and firmly believe that movement is the cornerstone to both physical and mental wellbeing. 

“As today has proved, the Stirling Scottish Marathon and Half Marathon is a key date in the city's calendar and we look forward to joining you on the start line next year at the very first Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run – we will be supporting you every step of the way.”