Entries have now opened for the 20th anniversary RunBalmoral races to be held over the weekend of April 22 and 23, 2017.
And as part of the celebrations organisers are encouraging competitors to sign up for an exciting new test of endurance - the Devil of Deeside Challenge.
This novel event involves taking part in all four adult races over the two days - the ConocoPhillips 5km and the Stena Drilling 10km on the Saturday, followed by the Apollo duathlon and the TRAC 15-mile trail race on the Sunday.
The man and woman with the best cumulative time from the four races will win a fantastic trophy and prize, and everyone taking part in the challenge will receive a limited edition Devil of Deeside race t-shirt. A discounted entry fee will be given to all Challenge competitors.
RunBalmoral chairman James Knowles hopes the new challenge will prove popular.
He said: “We wanted to come up with something a little different for our 20th anniversary and believe this will test the hardiest of competitors. We know that some people have tackled all four races in previous years so decided it would be interesting to turn it into a proper competition for2017.
“There’s no doubt it will be a tough but enjoyable couple of days for those taking part and I’m looking forward to seeing how many people sign up to become one of our Devils of Deeside.
“They will all be asked to wear a distinctive t-shirt for the races so they can be easily distinguished from other participants and I’m sure the Devils will become cult heroes for the weekend. It should be good fun.”
In another new development, Knowles announced that TRAC Oil & Gas have signed up as sponsors of both the 15 mile trail race and the 3-mile Wee trail race.
He said: “I am delighted that TRAC Oil & Gas have agreed to support our event for the next two years. These are difficult times for local companies so we are grateful for their support and for the support of all our sponsors, many of whom have been associated with Run Balmoral for a long part of the event’s 20-year history.”
“These companies have always worked with us in a positive and proactive way to ensure we have a successful event. Not only do they provide financial backing, they also encourage their employees to take part in big numbers, which they do. Without this loyal support, RunBalmoral could not happen.
“We are also delighted to be working in partnership with Balmoral Estate and to have the support of Aberdeenshire Council as well as many local community organisations who contribute to making the whole occasion something special.
“The Balmoral Estate offers one of the most dramatic settings for a running event, not just in the UK, but worldwide. Last year more than 5,000 runners of all ages signed up for the programme of eight races, and these Balmoral runners raised well in excess of £100,000 for local charities.”