This weekend (April 28/29) will see an estimated 5000 runners attend the popular Run Balmoral road races. The action-packed programme gets underway today with two school runs and will be rounded off on Sunday with the much-anticipated Petrofac Challenge 15 mile multi-terrain race. Starting within the grounds of the royal estate in the heart of Deeside, all of the races are held on traffic-free coursse. The 15 mile competition will be of particular interest this year, with the leading athletes battling it out to win a trip to Ethiopia.
In addition to the Petrofac Challenge, the 10k event looks set to be highly competitive with four of the five previous winners vying for the 2012 men's title. They will all be chasing the top prize of £250 which is doubled if the record is broken.
The 2010 winner, Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde AC), will be going all out for another victory after returning to Scotland from two weeks of warm weather training in Portugal. He'll be challenging the course record of 31min 23sec set by Robert Russell (Central AC). Scottish 10k road running champion Ross Houston (Central AC) and City of Aberdeen 10K champion Ben Hukins will also be competing.
In the women's field, Scottish masters champion Melissa Whyte of Inverness Harriers is a strong favourite despite having missed training recently because of injury. Alford's Lisa Leonard, winner of the Garioch 10K at Inverurie last month, will also be in the frame for the top prizes.
Entries for the Petrofac Challenge 15 mile multi-terrain race and the Taqa Diamond Jubilee Mile are still open. For more information, visit the Run Balmoral website.