FIRST FOOT THEN FAST FOOT
Athletes geared up the annual Blairgowrie Fun Run
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