FIRST FOOT THEN FAST FOOT

Ath­letes geared up the an­nual Blair­gowrie Fun Run

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - THE BACK PAGE - Sports Reporter

Keen run­ners from across east Perthshire and be­yond will be un­der starter’s or­ders dur­ing the 34th an­nual New Year’s Day Fun Run and Walk in Blair­gowrie.

Al­though the em­pha­sis is al­ways on en­joy­ment and mass par­tic­i­pa­tion, en­trants with an eye on the clock will be look­ing at the 19:55 posted last year by men’s win­ner Michael Car­roll – a mul­ti­ple pre­vi­ous win­ner who trains with Perth Road Run­ners.

The record is held by Jamie Crowe, of Cen­tral Ath­let­ics Club, who fin­ished in 19:18 in 2016 – a full 10 se­conds quicker than the pre­vi­ous record for the 3.7mile­long course, which stood for 10 years.

A new record was set for the ladies’ sec­tion 12 months ago by Blair­gowrie’s Michelle Mackay. The Dundee Road Run­ner smashed her own bench­mark by 33 se­conds in chilly con­di­tions as she com­pleted the course in 22:56.

In the 2017 boys’ race, there was an­other lo­cal suc­cess story as Blair­gowrie’s Fraser Matthews fin­ished in first place in a time of 21:42 – just five se­conds out­side the course record set in 2015.

In last year’s girls’ race, it was Emily Gil­more from Blair­gowrie who came in first in a time of 30:14.

Run­ning clubs rep­re­sented last time around were Perth Road Run­ners, Dundee Road Run­ners, Dundee Hawkhill Har­ri­ers, For­far Road Run­ners, Fife Ath­let­ics Club, Aberdeen Ath­let­ics Club, Perth Strath­tay Run­ners, Ve­gan Run­ners UK, Falk­land Trail Run­ners, Mother well Ath­let­ics Club, Stir­ling-based Cen­tral Ath­let­ics and Bel­la­hous­ton Road Run­ners.

And, as the event and area con­tin­ues to build in pop­u­lar­ity on the coun­try’s run­ning cal­en­dar – par­tic­u­larly with the re­in­state­ment of the Blair­gowrie and Rat­tray half-marathon ear­lier this year – the vol­un­teer-led or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee is hop­ing for an­other bumper turnout next week.

Ardler res­i­dent and for­mer coun­cil­lor Bob El­lis is one of those giv­ing up their time to help stage the show­piece.

Speak­ing pre­vi­ously, he said: “I think that to hold an event like this on New Year’s Day and never have to can­cel it for what­ever rea­son must be ex­cep­tional.

“Also for the same or­gan­is­ing team to turn up year af­ter year is ex­cep­tional.

“We are a small team but we take our du­ties se­ri­ously and at the same time en­joy all of the good­will from all of the par­tic­i­pants who turn up year af­ter year as well.”

Reg­is­tra­tion for the 2018 ver­sion is at Blair­gowrie Town Hall on Brown Street at 11am on Jan­uary 1.

The walk will set off at 12.30pm, with the run set­ting off at 1pm. En­try is £2.

The route will see all par­tic­i­pants turn right on to the High Street, head along Perth Street, Perth Road, turn left on to Golf Course Road, left on to Coupar An­gus Road be­fore turn­ing left into the Wellmeadow and the fin­ish line.

There will be stew­ards at the junc­tions and the fin­ish will be looked af­ter by the team/

Times will be noted for the first 10 men, first 10 ladies and the first boy and girl only.

Prizes and spot prizes along with soup and juice will be avail­able af­ter the event in the Town Hall.

Friendly con­test Run­ners on the start line last year

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