A NEW route past historic Spynie Palace is the treat in store for runners in this Sunday’s Moray Road Runners 10k.
Flood prevention work around Elgin’s Cooper Park means the second race in the Northern Scot 10k Series has been slightly altered.
But organiser Gareth Jenkins said the new off-road section of the course should not affect the race times of anyone bidding for this year’s title.
Forres Harriers’ Gordon Lennox will start as favourite to repeat last year’s winning display, which helped him go on and win the overall Scot title.
Lennox finished third in the opening event at Nairn earlier this month as he tried to ward off the effects of a heavy cold.
He held off a strong challenge from Cairngorm Runners’ Terry Forrest to win in a time of 33 minutes, 36 seconds last year.
But he could face opposition this weekend from rising Moray Road Runners’ star Kenny Wilson, who was just 14 seconds behind in third place last year and is showing good form.
Ladies series champion Jenny Bannerman (Inverness Harriers) is expected to race in a bid to defend her title, having won with a personal best time of 36.52 in 2013.
Bannerman has since beat her best time again, recording 36.39 when she won the Nairn 10k on March 2.
Jenkins, who himself finished fourth in his home race last year, said he expects close on 200 entries for Sunday’s event.
Around 50 will also take part in the 3k fun run, which is confined to the park but will take runners on a slightly altered route due to the flood alleviation work. Children aged under nine can compete but must be accompanied by an adult during the race.
The 10k will head out from the park on an almost identical route to before, but goes off-road at Pitgaveny near to the old railway line before heading round Spynie Palace and heading back.
It begins at 2pm on Sunday, with registration at Holy Trinity Church Hall between 12.15 and 1.30.
The final race in this year’s Northern Scot Series is the Benromach 10k on Saturday, May 10, at 2.30pm.