Caithness-born Andy Douglas will be looking to maintain his 100% record at Run Balmoral this weekend as he aims to make it three wins out of three in the men’s 15-mile trail race.
Now based in Edinburgh, the 35-year-old Scotland international – who took bronze at the Scottish National Cross-Country Championships in February – has won the 15-mile trail race twice on the only two occasions he has entered the competition.
Run Balmoral, which is set to welcome 5,000 runners this weekend, is the north-east’s biggest participation sporting event, with eight different races catering for both elite and recreational runners of all ages.
But, for Douglas, who works in finance in Edinburgh and still has family back in Caithness, Run Balmoral will allow him to kick-start his trail running season, which will culminate with the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Thailand this November.
He said: “The last race I did was the National Cross-Country in Falkirk, so just after that I took a little bit of a break to build-up for the main trail and mountain running season.
“I feel like I’ve got a good block of training under my belt now, so I’m feeling ready to get back to the test and race.”
As for Balmoral, it’s something of a happy hunting ground for Douglas, who has recorded victories in both the 10k race and the 15-mile trail race in recent years.
Run Balmoral ‘a good opportunity to see where you’re at’
This year, his focus is on the latter as he looks to make it a hat-trick.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have some success at Balmoral, so that always helps when you come back, because you have happy memories of it,” Douglas added.
“The location is stunning (and) I think where it’s at (in the year) is quite nice, because it’s at the beginning of the season for mountain and trail running. It’s a good opportunity to see where you’re at.
“The trail course is very runnable, it’s got some great race scenery and it’s always a pleasure to run at the event.”
Run Balmoral marks the start of a busy year for Douglas, who is also targeting GB representation at the inaugural European Athletics Off-Road Running Championships, in El Paso, Spain, this July.
Run Balmoral will kick off with four races on Saturday – the Primary Schools’ 1.5k, Secondary Schools’ 2.5k, and then open races over 5k and 10k.
The duathlon, featuring a 5k run, 20k mountain bike, and then another 5k run, will take place on Sunday, alongside the 15-mile and 3-mile trail races.