The countdown to Run Garioch 2014 began on Tuesday at Inverurie's Garioch Sports Centre with a launch attended by sponsors, local runners and students from Strathburn School and Inverurie Academy. The event, which consists of a 5k, 10k and half marathon, will be held on Sunday, 23 March 2014.
Race director, Eric Simpson, said: "Run Garioch is Inverurie's largest annual community event. Thanks to the support of all our sponsors and patrons, we've been able to invest heavily in race infrastructure to make the next Run Garioch better than ever. From a new online entry system to state-of-the-art chip timing and the race-day experience itself, runners will notice a lot of improvements. They'll also be pleased to hear that we've held prices at 2013 levels."
The race committee has chosen event specialist FR Systems to time the 2014 races and generate the results. The company will also be sending runners everything they need for race day a few weeks before the event.
Managing director, Pam Wowk, said: "From the early days of working with Run Garioch we could tell that the team and personnel behind the scenes have the talent and work ethic to perform and execute what is going to be a fantastic event. Our team are looking forward to working with Run Garioch and wish them the very best for the 2014 event and for many more to come."
Taking part in the launch of the Dandara 10K were Team GB marathoner, Commonwealth Games favourite and first British runner across the line at the 2013 London Marathon, Derek Hawkins, the Chief Executive of Scottish Athletics, Nigel Holl, Gillian Roberts of Dandara, Perthshire Highland Half Marathon record holder, George French (Garioch Roadrunners), and last year's Specsavers 10K winner, Ben Hukins (Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers).
The CP&Co. Junior Run was launched by Rachel Gray from Aberdeen College, Allan Charles from sponsors CP&Co. and P6 and P7 pupils from the Strathburn School jogging group - all with a little help from Jog Scotty. Strathburn School depute head, Ruth Wight, said she expects many children from the school to take part next March.
Entries to all races are limited, and will close towards the end of February to allow for the processing and posting of race packs, or when individual races sell out. Entries are now open on the Run Garioch website where you'll also find the latest news. Run Garioch is also on Facebook.