THOUSANDS of runners are limbering up for one of most eagerly-awaited events on the Capital’s sporting calendar.
Sunday’s Bupa Great Edinburgh Run will see 5000 people taking to the streets on an extended course which takes in some of the most iconic sights in the city.
Previously the race has featured 5km and 10km distances but this will be the first time it has been extended to ten miles, or just over 16 km.
Organisers said that if the total distance covered by all the participants were added up it would be almost equal running twice around the world.
David Hart, communications director, said: “It should be a great day and we are really looking forward to it.
“It is the only true city road race in Edinburgh. There are other events like the Edinburgh Marathon but that is more on the outskirts. This is iconic in terms of location, and the longer distance has also proved popular.
“Because the Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon unfortunately had to be cancelled, many people have found this to be a good alternative. This is an undulating course and people will know they have had a challenge when they triumphantly cross that finish line.”
High-profile runners taking part include Freya Ross, and Chris Thompson, and Susan Partridge, while Irish sporting legend Sonia O’Sullivan, the former holder of the women’s world best time for ten miles on the road, will also be on the start line in Holyrood Park.
And the race will also see celebrity runners including actors John Michie, Chris Chittell, Richard Harrington, Nicola Wheeler.
But Mr Hart stressed this was more about the thousands of people running for a whole host of charities.
Among them will be Hannah Lithgow, 23, of Dalry Road – dressed in fluorescent orange paint and with a traffic cone on her head – who is raising money for MS Society Scotland.
She said: “My dad, Malcolm Lithgow, was diagnosed about seven years ago and I run to make him proud and raise awareness for the charity.”
She will run despite an injury to her ligaments and hopes to raise up to £700.
The warm-up is due to start at 9.20am, with the mini run starting at 1.30pm, and the junior run at 2.15pm.
This year’s course will feature 15 entertainment points, with pipers posted at every mile along the route.
Councillor Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh’s festivals and events champion, said: “This event is a fantastic way for residents to show their support for very worthwhile causes. Last year saw thousands of runners take part and I’m sure the participants will enjoy taking in the stunning backdrop of Arthur’s Seat and the Scott Monument.”
Augustine United Church, on George IV Bridge, normally holds its morning worship at 11am but it will shift it to 1pm on Sunday to support the runners.
CLOSURES AND DIVERSIONS
DUDDINGSTON Road West will be closed northbound from Peffermill Road and Niddrie Mains Road to Old Church Lane from 9.15am until 12.45pm.
Southbound traffic on Duddingston Road West will be unaffected.
There will be no entry to Quartermile, Kier Street, Heriot Place and Lauriston Place during the race.
Access to Holyrood Road will be via St Mary’s Street, with runners expected to be in the area between 10am and 12pm.
Parking will also be suspended on The Pleasance and St Leonards Street but side roads will be unaffected. There will be no exit via Clockmill Lane, Abbey Lane or Abbeyhill during the closure period.
Stewards will be there to help drivers.