Capital gets ready to run

THE Royal Mile, Sunday morning: a chap in a Highland kilt swishing in the breeze, another in a Spandex all-in-one in a rather fetching bright pink, and yet another in a Viking outfit complete with helmet, shield and sword.

But this isn’t just the aftermath of another Saturday night stag party in the city centre. The clue is in the thousands of others wearing the more standard running shorts and T-shirt.

Tomorrow around 10,000 runners will take to the Capital’s streets for the annual 10k Bupa Great Edinburgh Run, which starts and finishes in Holyrood Park. A firm fixture in the city’s calendar since 2005, this year sees a few changes - the most obvious one being the date.

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Previously the event was held in May but, as Andy Michelmore, senior events manager at organisers Nova International, explains: “We felt there was so much going on in April and May and we wanted to distance ourselves from that and give ourselves our own identity.”

The company also organises the Great North Run, which took place two weeks ago, and races in Yorkshire and Birmingham which are coming up. “We wanted to package these races together as a kind of grand prix,” he adds.

Not that Edinburgh needs much selling with a race course which has been described as the most scenic city centre route in the world, taking in the Castle, weaving between the galleries and heading down the Royal Mile. Among those taking part are last year’s men’s winner, Kenyan Titus Mbishei, Scotland’s Freya Murray, actress Shauna MacDonald and Taggart star John Michie.

Also new this year is a 5k route, designed for new runners or those not keen on the 10k challenge. There’s also the 1.5km mini run for three to eight-year-olds and the 2.5km junior run for nine to 14-year-olds.

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Pipers and drummers will mark each kilometre, Forth FM’s Grant Stott will be on The Mound and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children will have a disco bus on Melville Drive.

Jamie Laing, 29, a data centre technician for RBS in Dalkeith, will be running the 10k in his kilt for the Sick Kids Foundation, where he is a volunteer. It’s his fifth event in five weeks for the charity - he’s trekked Ben Nevis and cycled from Glasgow to Edinburgh in a bid to raise more than £1400. “I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve never really been sick as a child or an adult,” he says. “There are a lot of children there who haven’t got the chance to do what I did as a kid.”

Also running is Wishaw research scientist and historic re-enactment enthusiast Jean-Paul Anthony, 37, who will race with 60lbs of kit including helmet, armour and stunt weapons for bone marrow charity Anthony Nolan.

And perhaps most eye-catching will be James Jopling, fundraising manager with Breakthrough Breast Cancer, which has Scotland’s only dedicated breast cancer research unit, who will wear that pink Spandex all-in-one. James, 39, from Stockbridge, hopes to raise more than £1000 for the centre at the Western General Hospital, and says the timing of the run couldn’t be more perfect - right at the start of breast cancer awareness month.

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“I’m hoping that in some way my running in pink will remind people to be aware of their bodies and their breasts,” he explains.

• For more information on the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run, visit