The streets of the Granite City were awash with colour on the 26th August as more than 5,500 runners joined some of Scotland’s top athletes for the second annual Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run.
Enthusiastic spectators turned out in the morning rain to cheer on the runners who were taking part in both the 10K and half marathon events which followed traffic-free routes through the most scenic and historic areas of the city, including the Brig o’Balgownie, King’s College at Old Aberdeen, Marischal College and the Art Gallery.
All of the events, including the one mile Family Run, finished on Union Street in the heart of the city centre where the crowds were at their biggest.
Love was in the air at the front of the 10K field, as Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Robbie Simpson and his partner Virginie Barrand took the top spots in the men’s and women’s races.
Simpson was given a huge welcome as he sprinted to victory in a highly competitive 10K with a time of 30:01. “Everybody expected it to be a close race and some people doubted if I’d be able to win it, so I am pleased to have run as well as I did. I thought I had gone under 30 minutes but it was very close so I can’t complain. It’s the fastest 10km I’ve run for quite a while despite not doing any specific road training, so that’s encouraging. I really enjoyed the 10km. I thought it would be tougher than it was but I actually liked the hills.
In the women’s race, Virginie Barrand claimed victory in 36:39. “I was lying in fourth position until around the halfway point but after that I could see I was gaining on the others, particularly on the uphill sections. I put my head down and gave it everything. I was borderline feeling sick, but I didn’t look back and kept pushing on and hoped for the best. I was on a mission because I did badly in this race last year and wanted to make up for that.”
In the half marathon, Kristian Jones won the men’s race in 1:06:35 and Sheena Logan from Fife Athletics Club was the first female over the finish line in 1:21:56.
The runners were spurred on by Bands on the Run with the energetic Dezibel Drumming Band at Mounthooly roundabout, Scottish piper Chris Sibbald in Old Aberdeen, and the Northsound1 Cheer Zone on the Ellon Road.
Families and young runners thoroughly enjoyed the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Family Run in the afternoon with over 300 people completing a one mile route around the city centre.
Kerry Simpson, communications manager at The Great Run Company, said: “The second staging of the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run was yet another celebration in the city, with people from across the UK taking on their own personal challenge. We witnessed some outstanding times from the elite runners and many inspiring performances from thousands of others, including the spectators, who braved the morning showers to come out and support in the city centre and along the route.”
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