Luke Traynor

Off road but on track

Running challenge will see participants compete alongside world-class athletes

Entries are open for The Simplyhealth Great Stirling Castle Run, which will take place on Saturday, 12 January 2019.

Runners will take on a 7km off-road course through some of Stirling's most iconic locations, while international athletes compete in the Great Stirling XCountry event which moves from Edinburgh to Stirling.

The scenic course will cover Stirling Golf Course, King’s Knot, the Beheading Stone, Castle Cannons, famous wood carvings as part of Stirling's heritage trail and Stirling Castle including a section on Gowan Hill, before crossing the finish line in Kings Park.

The new event further develops the partnerships between organisers Great Run, EventScotland, sportscotland, Scottish Athletics and Stirling Council.

The Great Stirling XCountry moves to Stirling after 13 years in Edinburgh, with the new location providing a fresh backdrop for the televised event on the grass and hills around Stirling Golf Club and in Kings Park, as international and domestic athletes battle it out for honours.

The competition has a rich history and has seen athletes such as Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, Paula Radcliffe, Liz McColgan and Haile Gebrselassie compete, while in recent years Sir Mo Farah, Laura Muir and Callum Hawkins have graced the event.

sportscotland Chair, Mel Young, said: “The Stirling Castle Run and XCountry will be a fantastic celebration of international athletics with opportunities for local people to take part through the mass-participation event.

“The positive power of sport and physical activity can be seen every day in communities across the country thanks to the great work of community sports hubs, clubs and the wider sporting system and events such as this can only add to that.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “EventScotland has a long history with the XCountry, having supported the event since it came to Scotland in 2005. We are delighted to be continuing our support for the XCountry in its new location in Stirling as well as the new Simplyhealth Great Stirling Castle Run.”

Councillor Scott Farmer, Stirling Council Leader, added: “This exciting event will allow residents and visitors to participate in a prestigious sporting spectacle on a truly unique course.”

Scottish success

Scottish athlete Luke Traynor has competed over the cross country in its previous location in Edinburgh and is delighted the event has been kept in Scotland for 2019.

The 25-year-old, whose third-place finish in the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run earned him the Scottish Half Marathon Championship crown a fortnight ago, said: "I'm looking forward to seeing the Great Stirling XCountry as it moves to a new location.

"This event has been a major part of the recent success from Scottish distance runners and I'm pleased that it has been kept in Scotland rather than moving anywhere else.

"I'm sure the people of Stirling and further afield will turn out in large numbers to cheer on the athletes and maybe take part in their own challenge with the new trail run taking place at the same time."

Find out more

About the Great Stirling XCountry and about other athletics opportunities from Scottish Athletics.

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