AN alternative Olympic ‘torch’ passed through Deeside last week as part of a fundraising event involving hundreds of UK runners.
The Real Relay is following the entire 8000 mile route of the official flame in a non-stop journey on foot.
Instead of being transported in a fleet of buses like the official flame – the relay baton is being passed between runners who will carry it every step of the way.
Organisers are hoping to raise thousands for CHICKS charity, where around 90 Scottish children benefit from the respite care the charity provides every year.
The Real Relay has become an internet sensation with nearly 20,000 Facebook users following its progress.
The torch arrived in Deeside on Wednesday, June 20 and was carried from Crathie to Glascorrie before namesake Alan ran the 9.5 miles to Aboyne.
Lee Perry travelled 12.5 miles to Banchory before handing the torch over to butcher, Steven Robertson who completed the Deeside phase by running to Peterculter.
Mr Robertson, who lives in Banchory and works at A & G Collie in Kemnay, said he was surprised to be given one of the running slots.
He said: “I first saw the event on Facebook and decided to register because I thought it would be a great experience while raising money for charity. I knew it would also make my daughters proud.
“I went out to watch the Olympic Torch pass through Banchory and it was great to see but this gave runners a chance to follow the route covering a much larger distance.”
Steven, 36, is an experienced long distance runner having completed three marathons and many half marathons. He had been due to run his third Edinburgh Marathon earlier this year but suffered an injury while training. However, he was fit enough to complete the 10.5 mile to Peterculter last week.
“Running with the baton felt amazing,” Steven said. “After leaving Banchory High Street, I headed to Crathes Castle for a quick photo and then followed the railway line to Drumoak, and ran the last stretch along the road to Peterculter.
“It was a pleasant run although the baton was a little awkward to carry as I’m not used to carrying anything.
“I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to run with the baton, and wish the rest of the runners a good run, and hopefully it will beat the Olympic Torch to London, not that it’s a race!”
For more information about the relay visit http://www.endurancelife.com/realrelay/