MORE than 100 athletes challenged themselves last weekend, during a brand new event in Scotland’s sporting calendar, The Granite Challenge, which set off from the Broch beach and continued along the line to Dyce.
Leading charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland devised the new multi-sport event in which teams of runners, bikers and walkers complete a 40-mile off-road challenge following the route of the stunning Formartine and Buchan Way.
The route goes from the coast through the heart of Aberdeenshire and finally into the Granite City itself.
Forty teams signed up and set off bright and early from the beach esplanade in Fraserburgh and finished a challenging 40 miles later in Dyce with a changeover transition point at Maud, 15 miles inland.
The timing of the event coincided with the launch in Aberdeenshire of a new network of long distance trails in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage has identified 20 routes, including the Granite Challenge course, the Formartine and Buchan Way which were being promoted under the banner of Scotland’s Great Trails (SGTs) and launched by the Scottish Government Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson on Friday.
As event organiser Paul Corrigan, North of Scotland Fundraising Manager for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, explained: “We’re really excited about our brand new Granite Challenge and thrilled to have had 40 teams taking part in the inaugural event.
“Hopefully this will become a popular fixture in the North East’s sporting calendar and enable our charity to improve the lives of more people in Scotland affected by chest, heart and stroke illness by raising funds for our charity.
“The weather wasn’t brilliant, but the fact that the day went off without a hitch means that we have effectively tested the logistics of making the run a regular event.”
He added that the challenge had raised in the region of £10,000 for the charity which would be spent in the north-east for the benefit of those with cardiovascular conditions.
“I am extremely grateful to Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils and to a vast amount of local organisations, businesses and residents who have supported and helped to get this first event off the ground,” he said. “The support for the event was exceptional, and I’m exceptionally grateful.”
If the Granite is too tough for you, you could try the gentler Dee Don Walkathon on October 1. Please check the website www.chss.org.uk for more information.