A record 1500 runners and walkers prepare to go ‘wild at night’ at the second ever Illuminator event on Saturday 29th October.
It is billed as Scotland’s toughest night half marathon, and the gruelling route takes in over 600 metres of ascent through the beautiful forest trails of Glen Tanar Estate on Royal Deeside.
This unusual event has captured the imagination of runners and walkers from across the country. More than doubling in size from 2015 it is now attracting participants from Glasgow, Edinburgh and as far south as London.
Organiser Richard Lawes of Firetrail Events said: “We are thrilled to host the Illuminator in our home town Aboyne and that it’s attracting people from way beyond the local area.
“It shows how far people are willing to travel for this unique event. It’s great to promote what Deeside has to offer as well as providing a boost for the local community after last year’s devastating floods.”
Last year’s winners William Stewart from Aberdeen and Steph Provan from Aboyne will be back to defend their titles and beat their times of 1hr 54mins 11sec and 2hrs 2mins 38sec respectively. William Stewart, Manager at Run 4 It who are sponsoring the event, said: “It’s not until you run the course that you appreciate how long some of the climbs are. It’s a big challenge and being in complete darkness apart from a spectacular light zone halfway really is a novel sensation. The Illuminator is an exciting addition to the race calendar.”
The event will start and finish at the Deeside Community Centre in Aboyne, from where participants will venture into the forest and exposed moorland of Glen Tanar.
The challenging route involves a lot of climbing and descending – following rough trails over high passes and through ancient Scots pine forests designated as a National Nature Reserve.
Vibrant lighting effects will cast a colourful spell on an old Victorian stone bridge and gnarly old Scots pine trees halfway around the course.
In this illuminated zone participants can boost their energy levels with snacks and hot drinks for the second half.