A unique outdoor event held at the UK’s largest onshore windfarm is aiming to become Scotland’s biggest trail running event.
Run the Blades, held at Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire, will take place on 20 and 21 July and is expected to welcome over 1200 competitors with the help of a £4000 award from EventScotland and funding from headline sponsor and leading wind energy developer, ScottishPower Renewables.
Organised by Breaking Strain Events, the endurance challenge consists of a 10km run, half marathon and 50km ultra-marathon. The variety of distances available ensures the event makes trail running accessible to people of all fitness and experience levels.
All three of the routes cross through mixed moorland and trees, passing wind turbines that tower 140 metres above the trail. Participants are also likely to spot many of the hundreds of bird species, adders or deer that live within the site boundaries. ScottishPower Renewables’ Whitelee Windfarm uis well known for its 130 kilometres of trails available to be explored on foot, cycling or on horseback.
Established in 2015, the inaugural year attracted a modest group of 44 competitors but has since grown substantially and it is hoped over 1200 people will sign up this year and make Run the Blades the biggest event of its kind in Scotland.
The EventScotland funding will support Breaking Strain Events in their marketing, entertainment costs and ensure they are able to improve both the competitor and spectator experience at the Event Village.
This is the event’s first year of funding through EventScotland’s National Programme Fund and is one of 12 events from across ten local authorities in Scotland which have benefited from nearly £100,000 of funding in the programme’s 37th round. The National Programme Fund plays an integral role in developing domestic tourism across Scotland by helping grow the country’s diverse events portfolio.
With many young people participating in the running challenge, it is particularly apt as we celebrate the Year of Young People. The latest in the Scottish Government’s themed years, it has been inspiring Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
Lee Peyton, Director of Run the Blades, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive support from EventScotland and ScottishPower Renewables. Run the Blades is a totally unique event held at a site which offers a real feel for the great outdoors. Everyone at Breaking Strain Events is very passionate about it and this funding boost will help us achieve our goal of making it Scotland’s biggest trail running event.
Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “I am delighted to see that Run the Blades was one of the 12 events across the country to be supported by EventScotland. Hopefully this help and support will allow the event to enjoy its best year yet.
“Held at a unique and visually stunning location, the event will showcase East Renfrewshire as a destination for visitors. VisitScotland works closely with businesses to highlight the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of every region in Scotland.”
Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Run the Blades is a wonderful event that brings runners, families and the local community together for a great couple of days of fun and exercise. We are proud that Whitelee Windfarm provides the setting for this and hope watching the turbines steadily turn helps the runners to keep moving with the blades.
“Run the Blades is a great example of how windfarms are so much more than a source of clean, renewable energy, and we would like to encourage anyone who fancies a run with a difference to sign up and bring the family along to enjoy the site. We are delighted to provide our support to what will be a brilliant couple of days.”
Enabling existing events to expand what they offer visitors, extend their marketing reach and enhance the on-site experience of attendees are just some of the ways that National Funding Programme support is used to help regional events continue to flourish and grow further. This in turn strengthens Scotland’s overall events portfolio – a major contributor to our national economy.
Whitelee Windfarm which is located on Eaglesham Moor just 20 minutes from Glasgow, is owned and operated by leading wind energy developer, ScottishPower Renewables and generates 539 megawatts of electricity, enough to power just under 300,000 homes*. The site, which has free parking, consists of 215 turbines and a free to enter interactive visitor centre and café. For more information visit scottishpower.co.uk/whitelee
To find out more about, or sign up for, Run the Blades go to www.breakingstrain.co.uk/run-the-blades/