Excitement is growing - and fingers crossed for fair weather - with just two days to go until Sunday’s Chariots 2014 race in St Andrews.
This year looks set to be the biggest and best yet, with runners from all over Scotland, and as far afield as Australia and Hawaii, making a pilgrimage to run on the town’s famous West Sands in the now-annual popular race, which pays homage to the scene made famous in Lord Puttnam’s 1981 film ‘Chariots of Fire’.
The Senior 5km is already sold out, with 400 due to run.
“The community support has been great - the run would not be able to handle the volume of participants were it not for the generosity and help shown by so many people in and around the town,” race cirector Ben McLeod said.
“We have businesses and local bodies who all want to contribute to an event that demonstrates to the outside world what a special place St Andrews really is.
“Add to this the fun all the competitors have and the fundraising - set to top £4000 this year - and hopefully regardless of their time, everybody is a winner come Sunday.”
All funds raised this year will go to AICR, the international cancer research-funding charity, which has its headquarters in St Andrews.
The event also continues to attract tremendous help from locals, for example St Andrews Rotary has backed the event from its inception and provides volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly, a big job with over 500 adults and juniors expected.
Janettas Ice Cream, Eden Brewery and bakers Fisher & Donaldson will be providing welcome sustenance for runners, with the latter rumoured to be bringing along its new gluten-free fudge doughnuts for those unable to eat the usual ones.
Chariots 2014 is one of the most scenic and iconic races in the UK, with the location receiving even wider global exposure at the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony when film of ‘Mr Bean’ running on the West Sands was shown.
The race starts and finishes at the town end of the sands, with the ‘race village’ next to the Sea Shell beach cafe.
Just as in the film that inspired that inspired the race, competitors start and finish to the strains of Vangelis.
New for this year is a Saturday registration, allowing runners to collect race numbers beforehand to save time on the day.
Appropriately this will take place at the Chariots Bar of the Scores Hotel, where a plaque exists to commemorate Eric Liddell’s achievements in the 1924 Paris Olympics, which is what ‘Chariots of Fire’ was based on.
Adults can register and pick up pre-ordered race tee shirts and numbers on Saturday and, on Sunday morning from 9.30am, down by the beach itself.
Children can register on Saturday at Chariots Bar from 4pm onwards.
The children’s one- mile fun run (under 11s only) race is scheduled to start at 11am, with main 5km off expecterd to be off promptly at 11.30am. The prizegiving will be at 12.15pm.
For those driving to the race, there will be plentiful free parking behind the sand dunes.