Hundreds of runners of all ages and abilities are expected to be take part in this Sunday’s Glenrothes Road Running Festival.
Among those under starters’ orders this year will be a two-year-old girl whose parents were told a year ago that she would never be able to walk, and an 80-year-old veteran making a comeback after a major heart operation last summer.
“Jessica has dysgenisis of the corpus callosum which means that the piece of her brain that sends messages from one side to the other isn’t working properly,” explained her mum Karen Lowden.
“This results in her having severe learning difficulties and development delay which affects her abilities.
“But Jessica has shown great character and determination in raising her mobility to the point that she can now walk with the aid of a frame.
“It might take her longer than anyone else but she is absolutely determined that she will cross the finishing line.”
Cheering her on will be her dad Mark Lessels – he will be taking part in the event’s 10k race as well – and her brothers Jake (16) and Joshua (10).
By entering the Festival’s Junior Track event Jessica is hoping to raise money through sponsorship for the Forth Child Development Centre, which is based in Glenrothes but serves the whole of Fife.
Anyone wanting to sponsor Jessica or make a donation can contact Karen via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the other end of the age spectrum is Sandy Chalmers (pictured), a veteran of 50 full marathons, including no fewer than 15 in London and others in Barcelona, New York, Boston, Honolulu and even along the original Marathon route in Greece.
Sandy will be 81 next month and thought that his running days might be over when he underwent major heart surgery to have his aortic valve replaced last year.
“This year’s 10k in Glenrothes will be my first competitive event since then,” explained Sandy.
“I have been training hard to make sure that I will be fit to finish it on the day.”
Over the years Sandy has raised thousands of pounds for a variety of charities but this year he is doing it for himself.
He explained: “I only want to prove to myself that I can complete the course but who knows, maybe next year I will be back fundraising for some worthwhile cause.”
Sandy took up running when he was 50 and has never looked back since.
“I took part in my first race in Glenrothes back in 1984 and have taken part virtually every year since,” he added.
“Over the years the Festival has become a real family affair for not just us but for other people from all over the country,” added Sandy.
“I am looking forward to seeing lots of friends, young and old, along the way.”
The 2014 Road Running Festival programme will kick off at the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre in Viewfield Road, Glenrothes, with the 2k Fun Run (entry £2 on the day) at 9.45 a.m with entrants welcome to walk, jog or run the distance.
This will be followed by the traditional Junior Track Jog for pre-school children. This will start at 10.15 a.m and the 300 metre run round the Sports Centre track will cost entrants just £1 on the day.
The 10k Road Race will start at 10.30 a.m and is open to everyone aged 15 and over. Entry is £12 in advance or £15 on the day. The late entries desk will close at 10.00 a.m.
This year’s 4k Fun Run, starting at 10.50 a.m, will again be open to runners of all ages and will cost £3 to enter on the day. Some traffic disruption, under the control of Police Scotland, is expected.