Pupils get their running shoes on at Balmoral event

The annual Mearns Academy trip to the Run Balmoral event outside of Aberdeen took place a few weekends ago.

Around 20 pupils from first to sixth year took part, alongside some staff members who also got their running shoes on.

This year hosted around 5000 participants. It marked the 20th anniversary of the event at Balmoral Castle, which is often used by the royal family as a holiday home.

There were about eight different races over the weekend, ranging from smaller races for the children of primary school age, to the popular Conoco Phillips 5k. There was also the 15-mile trail for the hard core runners.

Anthony Hay, a fifth year pupils at Mearns Academy, did extremely well at the event; managing to be placed in the 20th position out of 738 runners.

Anthony ran the full five kilometres in just over 17 minutes, and was only a couple of minutes behind the race winner.

Also competing was fellow fifth year pupil Robert MacEachern, who goes running once or twice a week. He said: “I enjoy it because it is a great stress reliever.

“I enjoy getting out and about, seeing the countryside, and it was good to represent the school.”

All the courses are in the grounds of Balmoral Castle and the running festival is described on its website as “a wonderful way to experience the stunning mountain scenery”.

The Balmoral Estate is also home to other events: over the years they host salmon fishing and safari tours in which you can view Scottish wildlife in their natural surroundings. The Balmoral Challenge is a sponsored walk to raise money for the armed forces, and the Estate has its own nine-hole golf course.

The trip put on for Mearns Academy pupils to attend the Run Balmoral event has been popular amongst the youngsters for the last few years.

A cross country club also runs weekly at the school for more regular racers.

Helen Leigh, a French teacher at the school who organised the trip to Run Balmoral, described it as a”great day”.

Also coming up is the annual Mearns Academy sports day, where many of the runners at this year’s Balmoral races will be looking to win a few points for their house.