THE 10th anniversary Run 4 It Jedburgh Running Festival looks set to attract another bumper entry.
Last year saw 1,119 athletes take part in the 10km and half-marathon events, but it is expected that number will be topped this Sunday on the roads in and around the royal burgh.
“We are looking at more than 1,000 entries and hopefully another record entry,” said race promoter John Henderson.
“The entries for both events are slightly up on last year, which is great news.”
Two minor changes have been made to this year’s races, with runners being initially taken directly onto the Bongate on the A68 to allow slower runners to be passed more easily on the wider roadway.
The second alteration sees half-marathon runners set off at 11am, while the 10km athletes will be held back for a short time, again to open up the course for the faster competitors.
Mr Henderson added: “It follows comments from athletes and will allow the good runners to get away and open up the pack.
“We have built on the reputation over the years. It is a nice course to run and is a pretty friendly event to take part in. We feel the half marathon is now the blue riband of the Scottish Borders and we want to keep it that way.”
This year sees the first competitive hand-bike race, alongside the wheelchair event, both raced at 10km and sponsored by NGR.
Simon Lawson of Maryport, Cumbria, is going for his third win in a row in the wheelchair section and there are hopes he could make the Commonwealth Games paralympics in 2014.
The course record was set by the 29-year-old last year and it is thought he could well break his best time on the course on Sunday.
“It is a really fast course so there is every possibility,” said Jed Rennilson, race organiser.
“We also have Alistair Corps Bell going in the new hand-cycle race, who could set another course record.”
Eleven-time paralympic gold medalist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson will again make the trip to Jedburgh to compete, alongside husband Ian, and Mr Rennilson is also expecting a big entry which could outstrip the Great Scottish Run’s start list.
Commenting on the wheelchair section’s continued growth, Mr Rennilson added: “At other events when you finish the race all the athletes jump in their cars, but here we invited everyone – including friends and family – back to Riverside for some pasta and a chat and nobody leaves early.
“Obviously, it is an important race, but sport is meant to be fun and about banter and I think that is why the Jedburgh Running Festival is so successful.”
Any late entries can be made up to Saturday by contacting race secretary John Sayer on 01835 862720. For further information visit www.jedburghhalfmarathon.org.uk