Entries are now open for RunBalmoral 2013 - one of the biggest participation sports event in the north east of Scotland. The festival of running, now in its 16th year, takes place in the grounds of Balmoral Castle over the weekend of 27 April and 28 April with more than 5,000 runners - and almost as many spectators - expected to flock to Deeside.
RunBalmoral chair James Knowles spoke of his excitement about next year's event, saying: "We try our best to make each year a better experience than the previous one and we've made some changes to the programme which, hopefully, will make RunBalmoral 2013 another big success story. On the Saturday we will once again have races for all age groups, starting with the MPH Primary schools 1.5K runs for boys and girls, and the Kongsberg Maritime Secondary schools 2.5K. There's also the ConocoPhillips 5K and the Stena Drilling Tartan 10K for adults.
"Then on the Sunday, we can offer the RunBalmoral 15 mile trail race which takes runners out into some of the wilder and more testing routes on the estate. With the backing of our sponsors, we have introduced the Stena Drilling-ConocoPhillips Corporate Team Challenge which is designed to encourage teams of runners from companies and other organisations to compete against other in the 5K and 10K for a magnificent trophy.
"We are also working closely with scottishathletics to introduce a new team competition in the RunBalmoral 15 mile trail race. We hope to be able to announce more about this exciting new development in the very near future."
Four records were set at last year's event: Commonwealth Games 1500m runner Ali Hay (Central AC) became the first man to crack the 15 minute barrier when clocking 14min 57sec to win the ConocoPhillips 5K; Scotland international Rhona Auckland (Banchory Stonehaven AC) won the women's race by slicing a massive 30 seconds off the course record to finish in 17min 16sec; and youngster Rebecca Eggeling (Aberdeen AAC) set a new record in the MPH Primary schools girls 1.5K, recording 5min 54sec to take four seconds off the time she set the previous year.
Other highlights included Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson's victory in the Petrofac Challenge 15 mile multi-terrain run in which Morgan Windram-Geddes was the first woman to finish. Both runners won trips to Africa and will next month be jetting off to Addis Ababa to take part in the Great Ethiopian 10K Run along with 15,000 other competitors.
For more information and to enter, visit the Run Balmoral website