Runners and spectators were out in force on Sunday for Run Garioch, the seventh annual running event hosted by the Garioch Sports Centre. Weather conditions were perfect as a record 1,300 runners of all ages came to take part in the charity event. Both the Specsavers 10K and the Junior Run were completely full. The 5K and half marathon were also very near their increased capacity for 2012.
First off their marks were the 300 children participating in the Junior Run. After an energising warm-up in the games hall led by jogscotland coach Hazel Patterson, the keen primary school athletes were taken to the start and sent on their way by Inverurie Locos co-managers Kenny Coull and Scott Buchan.
Kathy Yates, Active Schools Co-ordinator and Junior Run co-director, said: "It's always great to see so many keen smiles and eager children on race day. And the energy inside the hall during the warm-up this year was amazing! But the races wouldn't have been possible without the support of our sponsors CP & Co. as well as the pupils from Inverurie Academy who marshalled and ran with the children around the course."
Organisers also made special mention of the accomplishments of Chapel Cheetah Finlay Strachan, who has won his race category for many years. This will be his last year competing in the Junior Run.
As always, the junior runs were very popular with the children as well as their parents. Euain Drysdale, whose daughter ran in Category 1 said: "The Junior Run was such a great experience for the wee ones. The warm-up was excellent and really got them in the mood to run! Lucy's so proud of her medal and can't wait to run the big race like her mummy does!"
At 11am, attention turned to the adult event, where race director Frank Mathers welcomed the runners. He also read a tribute to local runner Mark Sharp, who passed away during the 10K last year. After a minute's silence in memory of Mr Sharp observed by all runners and spectators, Inverurie citizen of the year Gordon Booth officially started the race.
The first runner across the line was the winner of the Men's 5K, Malcolm Beattie (Metro Aberdeen), in a time of 17.06, setting a new men's record by over two minutes.
Several of last year's winners retained their titles, including Robbie Simpson (Deeside Runners) in the 10K (32.49) and Carolyn Milne in the half marathon (1.29.17), who took three minutes off her course and category record in the process.
Vivienne Bruce (Metro Aberdeen) not only kept her course and senior record in the 5K but improved on it by nine seconds (20.55). Lisa Leonard's win in the 10K (39.10) and Cosmic Hillbasher Christopher Hill's victory in the half marathon (1.19.37) rounded off the day's list of winners.
Sunday was also a good day for runners from Inverurie clubs. Anna Stephen and Ryan Thomson (Garioch Gazelles) were 7th man and 12th woman to finish the half marathon; Catherine Mackay (Garioch Roadrunners) was 8th woman home in same race. In the 10K, George French (Garioch Roadrunners) was 8th; his clubmate Maureen Macinnes set a new female super veteran category record with her time of 46.25 in the same event.
It was also a good day for the runners who took part in the Garioch Sports Centre's 10 Weeks to Run Garioch Training Programme, with many of them completing their first-ever race, and five finishing in under 50 minutes: Jayne van der Post, John Cardno, Murray Bruce, Roma McIntosh and Alison Murray.
Feedback from those taking part in this year's event was overwhelmingly positive. Laura MacGill of Kintore, 5K third veteran female said of the day: "It was my first time at Run Garioch. It was so well organised, with a fantastic atmosphere. It was a lovely family day out, and I'll be back for more next year!.
In addition to being one of the most popular running events in the north-east, local charities also benefit from Run Garioch. Sheryl Donaldson and her fellow massage therapists raised nearly £150 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society (Inverurie Branch) by offering their services for a donation. The Inverurie Round Table also raised a considerable sum from their popular BBQ. Other charities, including the Garioch Sports Trust and the Diced Cap Charitable Trust, will also receive funds from the race.
Frank Mathers, outgoing race director said: "It's been a pleasure to be involved with Run Garioch for the past seven years. The 2012 event has run very smoothly and I expect Run Garioch to go from strength to strength in the years to come."
After the race, Stuart Gordon, general manager of the Garioch Sports Centre, said: "Thanks to everyone who made Run Garioch 2012 such a success, including the marshals on the course, Sports Centre staff, the runners and of course the spectators who cheered them on."
Run Garioch, along with the popular "Ten Weeks to Run Garioch" Training Programme, will return in 2013. For results from this year's race check out scottishrunningguide.com race listing.