Thousands of runners of all ages braved a chilly drizzle to take on Inverurie’s Run Garioch this Sunday morning.
First to line up under the start gantry on Burghmuir Drive were the nearly 600 pupils from 77 different schools taking part in the three-event CP&Co. Junior Run. Aberdeen FC star Barry Robson, Olympic swimmer Hannah Miley, and Marc Souter and Greg Mitchell from Inverurie Locos FC all took time out of their busy schedules to encourage the young runners throughout the morning.
In addition to the usual winners’ prizes, two new Junior Run trophies were up for grabs this year. Strathburn School won the prize for having the most pupils (43) running across all three Junior events, narrowly beating Kintore School (40). Monymusk School took home the award for having the most pupils taking part as a percentage of their school roll (43.48%), just edging out Oyne School (37.93%) for the honour.
Young runners dominated the podium in the Ferguson Group 5k. Jordan Chapman (15.48) took the men’s trophy home for a second year in a row, while Robert Gordon’s College student Morna Holmes (20.40) celebrated her first-ever Run Garioch win.
Club runners Kyle Greig (1.10.37) and Marie Baxter (1.26.03) both put in exceptional performances in the Accord Energy Half-Marathon to smash their respective course records by several minutes each. As part of this year’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of ‘the Garioch 10k’, both runners were awarded £350, or double the posted prize money, for their record-breaking efforts.
Over in the Dandara 10k, the winner of the 2006 and 2007 events, John Lenehan (33.32), travelled up from London to take the title again – nine years after his first victory. Current women’s record holder Nicola Gauld (36.23) also triumphed in the women’s event for an impressive third time.
There was disappointment for GE Oil & Gas’ Peak Performers, who were unable to retain the Inverurie Business Challenge shield for a third year in a row, but joy for Fisher Offshore, who picked up the prize in their first year as water sponsors. Team member Ruth Pirie said: “Fisher Offshore have been involved in Run Garioch for many years. But this year, we decided to enter a team of four into the Inverurie Business Challenge along with our sister company RMSpumptools.”
She added: “The rain on race day couldn’t dampen our spirits – and with such a well-organised event and positive atmosphere at the race village we were feeling positive. The undulating course was far from easy but all our runners were delighted with their final times.
“Fisher Offshore were delighted to win the shield for fastest business in the AB51 postcode and are looking forward to defending our title next year! Well done to everyone involved in organising such a fantastic event.”
Run Garioch began life as ‘the Garioch 10k’ a decade ago. The event, expanded to incorporate the 5k and ½ marathon in 2011, is the major fundraiser for the Garioch Sports Trust. Chair of the Trust, Graeme Hay, said: “In addition to encouraging local residents to get active, over the past 10 years Run Garioch has become an important contributor to the ongoing running costs associated with the Garioch Sports Centre. The Trust also donates a portion of the monies raised to partner charities, so other worthy causes in our community benefit from everyone’s hard work too.”
Dozens of runners also took up the challenge of Run Garioch 2015 to raise funds for their own chosen causes – including Kayleigh’s Wee Stars, Clan and Befriend a Child. Carolyn Milne of the Garioch Roadrunners completed all three events in just over 2h 57mins to raise over £500 for the British Heart Foundation. She also managed to pick up age-group awards in the 5k and ½ Marathon along the way.
After completing the last leg of her 22.4-mile challenge Carolyn said: “The atmosphere was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the main body of the two events I shared with others. I had a lot left in my legs at the top of Dubston at the end of the Half-Marathon so I just decided to go for it. My legs were flying until I got cramp in both calves at Anderson’s. The faster I tried to go the worse it got so I had to slow down a bit.”
She added: “When it started to hurt it made me remember why I was running. It wasn't supposed to be easy! I’ve had lots of donations for the BHF on JustGiving and would like to thank everyone who has contributed.”
Speaking after the event Race Director Eric Simpson said: “As promised, this year’s Run Garioch was bigger and better than ever. Many runners have told me how much they appreciated our investment in the races, including the new course markers and the extra loos. We’ll be taking all the feedback we received on this year’s event into account when we start planning Run Garioch 2016 this summer.
“I’d like to congratulate all our winners on their fantastic achievements as well as thank our sponsors and patrons for their support. To have both ½ -marathon records smashed and the first-ever winner of the 10k return to Inverurie to win again has been simply amazing.
“It also gave me great pleasure to award local runner Neil Skene a bottle of whisky in recognition of being the only person to have run all 10 ‘Garioch 10k’s.
He added: “This event can only happen with the help of over 100 volunteers, so I’d also like to thank everyone who gave up their free time before, after and during the event to help make Sunday such a success. We’ll see everyone again in 2016!”