The most inclusive mass participation sporting event in Scotland got underway today (Saturday 1 September). Almost 500 toddlers made off like Usain Bolt in their very own 100m Toddler Dash, officially opening the Bank of Scotland Junior Great Scottish Run Super Saturday in George Square, Glasgow.
The Bank of Scotland Junior Great Scottish Run was completely revamped for 2012. With the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games fast approaching, the city is keen to encourage everyone to make physical activity part of their daily lifestyle. This rationale led to the introduction of a brand new Family Mile and Toddler Dash. These events complimented the already popular 3k rand 1.5k, which was redesigned as a Junior Mile. Some of the country’s top budding athletes also competed in a crowd-thrilling Elite Mile. Together with the senior 10k and half marathon races taking place on Sunday 2 September, the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run is a festival of running, genuinely open to anyone of any age and ability.
Traditionally held in Glasgow Green the event was moved to George Square, Glasgow, offering many youngsters their first taste of a city-centre road race. A stage, built specially for the occasion, showcased a variety of upcoming, local live music and dance acts, adding to the family fun day feel of the new-look event. Families were encouraged to try out new sports in a ‘come and try' zone and given the opportunity to meet one of Scotland’s current track stars, Eilish McColgan.
Eilish McColgan said: “I remember taking part in the Great Scottish Run when I was about 12, it was a great day, but this has been even better, it’s been a huge success. My siblings would love everything that’s happening in George Square today.
“I think it’s important that families get involved in things like Super Saturday. You don’t need to train every day, but taking part in events like this is a great way to give youngsters a taste of how much fun big sporting occasions can be. If anyone at Glasgow Green, all those years ago, had told me I’d be at the Olympics I’d never have believed them, but if you give it a go you just never know what it could lead to.”
Over 1,500 people proudly paraded their medal after completing the family mile. Everyone from great-grannies to babes in arms enjoyed the inspiring sporting occasion. The celebratory atmosphere continued when Jonathan Glen stormed into first place winning the Junior 3k in a time of 9 minutes and 9 seconds. His fellow aspiring athlete Ross Croall was first across the finish line of the Junior Mile, in a time of 5 minutes and 27 seconds. Both races are aimed at 9 to 17 year olds and regularly attract some of Scotland’s top young runners. Then Euan Gillham smashed through the finish tape in just 4 minutes and 23 seconds to claim first place in the Elite Mile.
The success of Super Saturday has ensured the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run has retained its crown as Scotland’s biggest mass participation sporting event with in excess of 23,000 people expected to participate across this weekend.
Chair of Glasgow Life and Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, Councillor Archie Graham, said: “2012 is certain to be remembered as a wonderful year for sport. It is clear that events like the Olympics and Glasgow 2014 are inspiring a generation to embrace sport. Today was fantastic, the atmosphere was electric. We’ve been delighted by the incredible demand for both the family mile and toddler dash. Both proved so popular we had to expand the initial capacity and in the end we had to include not one, but four toddler races. What a wonderful position to be in.
“Successful, fun, family events like the Bank of Scotland Junior Great Scottish Run – made possible thanks to the continued support of the Bank of Scotland – enables our young people to lead more active lifestyles, which in turn encourage the whole family to make sport a part of their daily routine.”
Philip Grant, Chair of the Scottish Executive Committee, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We are delighted to again support the Bank of Scotland Junior Great Scottish Run. This year’s move to George Square and introduction of a Family Mile and Toddler’s Dash has involved even more young people in the celebrations and our thanks go to organisers Glasgow Life for delivering such a popular event.
“As a Proud Partner for Scotland of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Bank of Scotland is delighted to bring a flavour of this year’s incredible summer of sport to the event with an appearance by London 2012 mascot Mandeville and giving participants and their families the chance to see and be photographed with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Torches. Inspiring young people and communities is at the heart of our partnership with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and today’s event is a wonderful example of this brought to life.”
On Sunday 2nd September Scotland’s premier road races, the 10k and half marathon at 9.30am and 11.00am respectively, both provide the only opportunity for the public to run across the Glasgow’s busiest road, the Kingston Bridge. The public are being encouraged to come out on to the streets around the city and cheer on the runners participating in both races.
A host of famous faces are set to take part, including Scottish TV actor John Michie, four times World Junior Curling Champion Eve Muirthead, Miss Scotland, STV’s Rona Dougall, Raman Bhardwaj and Debi Edwards and Clyde 1 DJ Shebahn Littlejohn. They will be joined by thousands of first-time runners and everyday heroes running to raise money for a variety of good causes and charities.
Lee McConnell (4 x 400m relay), Tim Baillie (canoe Slalom), Eilidh Child (400 m hurdles) and Euan Burton (judo) will be congratulating finishers at the Bank of Scotland London 2012 Experience. Set within the finish area at Glasgow Green it will bring a flavour of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to the Great Scottish Run. Both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Torches will be on display and London 2012 mascot Mandeville will be making special appearances throughout the day.
For further information on the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run visit www.runglasgow.org