Running in the right direction

8000 runners, live bands, a parade featuring over 160 volunteer organisations, and one or two famous faces; the weekend of the 26 and 27 August is not to be missed in Aberdeen.

Winding through the historic streets of Old Aberdeen, taking in the Beach front, the Brig O’ Balgownie and many more iconic sights, the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is putting Aberdeen on the map for running events through collaborative working.

Meanwhile, Celebrate Aberdeen will have the city singing and dancing along to the various acts performing across the city, as well as entertaining the participants of the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run along the course with ‘Bands on the Run’, and in the Finisher’s Village in Union Terrace Gardens.

The weekend of festivities is the latest in a series of collaborative cultural events for Aberdeen City Council, supported by the Aberdeen 365 event strategy as a core project of the City Centre Masterplan.

Through working with partner organisations such as Celebrate Aberdeen, the Great Run Company, VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Aberdeen Inspired, the Council is aiming to strengthen Aberdeen’s reputation as a destination for large scale events to support the city’s economic strategy.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “Through our City Centre Masterplan Aberdeen City Council is committed to making Aberdeen an even more vibrant place to live, work and visit – and a year-round events programme is integral to that.

“The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is an exciting addition to our city events programme. With 5000 runners participating in the half marathon, 2500 in the 10K and 300 families in the family mile, the city will be alive with activity and excitement.

“Combining the inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run with the established and thriving Celebrate Aberdeen is fabulous for the city, creating a weekend of activity that has something for everyone, but also encourages people into the city centre boosting the leisure economy.

“Collaborative working is vital to the success of events like Celebrate Aberdeen and the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run. Our Aberdeen 365 Events Programme demonstrates the commitment of our local and national partners that support our vision of development and sustainability of culture in the north-east. The programme provides an opportunity to promote and enhance the long-term economic prosperity of Aberdeen and the wider region by attracting visitors, both local and from further afield, to the city.”

Celebrate Aberdeen founder, Morven Mackenzie said: “Celebrate Aberdeen goes from strength to strength from year to year and 2017 looks like being no different. We have more voluntary organisations than ever taking part in our Saturday morning parade and the entertainment line-up is fantastically diverse this year. Combine this with the Sport Aberdeen Union Street Mile races that will be taking place, along with the inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run, and we’re set to have a brilliant weekend in the city.

“Celebrate Aberdeen is organised in the main by a very small team of volunteers who work tirelessly over many months to bring the event to fruition. However, we are also supported by Aberdeen City Council’s event and marketing teams, which makes a huge difference in terms of what we can achieve. It really is a partnership that works incredibly well.”

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “Organisations throughout the region are working more closely together than ever before to agree and deliver key strategic priorities for Aberdeen city and shire. The Regional Economic Strategy, City Region Deal and other key initiatives are all evidence of a much more joined up approach which is starting to bear fruit.

“The success of attracting and hosting high-profile events like the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run and the recent Tour Series has not only engaged people within the local community but also sent out the message further afield that the North-east is a vibrant and positive region with big ambitions and the capability to deliver.”

Chris Foy, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire said, “Aberdeen has a diverse year-round events calendar, and the collaboration of Celebrate Aberdeen and the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is a great example of how combining sporting and cultural events can strengthen the city’s cultural output, help raise the profile of the city nationally and internationally, and position Aberdeen as a vibrant place to visit. Our alliance with local partners is the key to making such events a success for the city.”

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We are delighted to be a key partner in bringing the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run to the City, which fits perfectly with our ambition to see the very best national and international events come here.

“To have the start and finish on Union Street, right in the heart of the city, will only add to the spectacle. Of course, the weekend will be complemented by the colour and splendour of Celebrate Aberdeen, a fantastic gathering of worthy third sector organisations from across the city that we are proud to sponsor and support.”

Eric Wilkins, chief operating officer at The Great Run Company, said: “Our aim is to make the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run a must–do event in the Scottish running calendar, and working with Celebrate Aberdeen gives us the opportunity to provide runners with an exciting afternoon of live music in Union Terrace Gardens following the event.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Great Run experience to Aberdeen and this vibrant city will provide an impressive backdrop, which will see up to 8,000 people take on the half marathon and sold-out 10k and Family Run.

“The event has attracted runners from as far as the United States, South Africa and Singapore, as well as Austria, Norway and Sweden, which shows that Aberdeen is producing events with international appeal.”

With the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run expected to bring approximately 20,000 people into the city on the day and Celebrate Aberdeen bringing an estimated 8000 over the weekend, the weekend of the 26 and 27 August is set to be a vibrant showcase for Aberdeen.