Thousands of runners took up the challenge of the Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run and Half Marathon on Sunday as the city staged another top-class sporting event.

In the third instalment of the Great Stirling Run, around 5,000 participants tackled a spectacular course which started and finished beneath the iconic backdrop of Stirling Castle and took in the area’s picturesque rural surroundings.

Local runner Michael Wright ensured the honours stayed with Stirling by finishing first in the marathon for the second year in a row, crossing the line in a time of 2.29.32, with Kevin Wood second in 2.30.53 and Donnie Macdonald in third clocking 2.34.21.

Fellow Central Athletic Club member, Jennifer Wetton ensured there was further home success to celebrate as the first woman home in 2.56.05, Lesley Hansen was second in 3.04.50 and Rhona Van Rensburgh took third with 3.09.55.

The second Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run Half Marathon was won by Matthew Sutherland in 69.59, with Lewis Millar second in 73.36 and Martin Brown in third in 73.48. First woman in the event was Fiona Matheson with 82.48, Sarah Stephen was second in 87.37 and Rachael Adamson third in 89.39.

Speaking after the event, Stirling Council Chief Executive, Carol Beattie, said: “It has been another wonderful weekend of sporting action in Stirling, kicking off with the fun-filled Family Run on Saturday which saw hundreds of children and parents get active together.

“Less than 24 hours later we welcomed thousands of participants and visitors to our beautiful city for the marathon and half marathon, with our communities turning out in great numbers to offer tremendous support.

“Huge congratulations to the medal winners and all the runners for achieving personal targets, raising money for a range of good causes and inspiring others with their dedication.

“For Stirling, this festival of running cemented our reputation as a top-class events destination and delivered an economic and tourism boost to the area.”

Jamie Still, Event Director, said: “The Simplyhealth Great Stirling Run has once again given runners the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful part of the world from a unique perspective. 

“The atmosphere around the course was great, with locals turning out in force to cheer on runners. We’d like to extend our thanks to our partners Stirling Council. ”