Runners in the Dunbartonshire area looking to make a good start to 2013 will have the ideal opportunity at the Balloch's New Year's 5K Shortbread Run & Walk on 2 January. After it's successful launch earlier this year the Shortbread 5K returns to Balloch Country Park and a scenic course - that follows the pathways around the park with great vistas of Balloch Castle, and includes the Walled Garden. An additional bonus is the beautiful backdrop of the hills along the Loch's shoreline. Check out the route at Map My Run.
The 10.30 start is just inside the main gates of the Park which is on Balloch Road (opposite the bus terminus adjacent to the Co-Op supermarket). The 5k course will be marked out with directional signs but there will be limited stewarding. Children under 11 years of age, must be accompanied by an adult. It's a no-fuss event - no registration, no fee and no official recording of times - just turn up for the run/walk.
The festive nature of the event will be marked with all participants enjoying a complimentary piece of shortbread, courtesy of sponsors, Valvona and Crolla. Full details are available at the event website. In the event of severe weather there is a hotline number you can call to confirm that the 5k will be going ahead - 07534 365271.
Balloch's New Year's 5K Shortbread Run & Walk is organised by West Dunbartonshire jogscotland. The group has been established for 10 years and marked the anniversary in style with the award by Scottish Athletics of Jogscotland group of the year.
Maurice Donohue at West Dunbartonshire jogscotland told scottishrunningguide.com: "A decade on, we have blooded 38 jog leaders, with some of the founder jog leaders and members still turning up every week. The group includes three septuagenarians, who regularly compete in 5k, 10k and half marathons, and inspire fellow members."
He continued: "People are encouraged to aim for their own personal goals and one member described 'an abundance of support at every level'. Each year, the group holds its own West Dunbartonshire Awards Night to celebrate the achievements of members. Since the awards night was begun it has raised £5000 for the Childrens' Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) and has seen the creation of spin-offs including Joggers Got Talent and Strictly Come Jogging.
"West Dunbartonshire jogscotland includes three separate groups, in Dumbarton, Alexandria and Clydebank. Additional training is supported by leaders in their own time to help runners who are entering events, and a 5K run is organised at Balloch Country Park every Saturday morning, which has also drawn many participants from beyond jogscotland."