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Thousands pound the capital's streets for charity as new 10-mile route is tackled

MORE than 5000 people have pounded the streets in Scotland's capital for the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run.

ON THE RUN: Thousands of runners took part, including actor John Michie, Finance Secretary John Swinney and people in fancy dress. Pictures: Gordon Terris
ON THE RUN: Thousands of runners took part, including actor John Michie, Finance Secretary John Swinney and people in fancy dress. Pictures: Gordon Terris

The new 10-mile route took the runners through some of Edinburgh's most famous sites yesterday, including Holyrood Palace, Arthur's Seat and Edinburgh Castle.

Cumbria's Chris Thompson, the 2010 European 10,000m silver medallist, and Leicestershire's Gemma Steel, the 2011 European Cross Country Championships bronze medallist took gold in the men's and women's elite races in what had previously been a five or 10km race.

Many ran for charity with Andy Mitchelmore, from event sponsors Nova International, saying participants put in 50,000 miles between them, nearly twice around the world.

Chris Thompson said: "I think Lee (Merrien) must hate me right now because I pretty much sat right behind him for about five or six miles, and just before six I injected up a hill, then it was pretty much downhill and flat all the way to eight. It's my first Great Run win so it's nice to get that under my belt."

Gemma Steel said: "I wasn't going to break any records today, but it's been great to get back into the mix. I thought that I was going to stick with them until the half-way point, but I felt good and just went with it. It was so nice to get a race in, and it will help me work on my confidence since coming back from injury."

Getting the event officially started and offering words of encouragement was the role of Sonia O'Sullivan, Ireland's greatest ever distance runner, who ook part in the run after finishing her start line duties.

She said: "They say Edinburgh is built on seven hills - and I think we ran them all today! It was a very interesting course and I really enjoyed it. I've been here for a couple of days and seen all the sights, but this run - it's just got everything in it!"

The 2.5k junior boys race was won by 12-year-old Rory Williams, while first girl home was 12-year-old Sophie O'Sullivan - following in her mother Sonia's footsteps.

A husband-and-wife-to-be team Heather Dodds and fiancé Craig Matthew donned a kilt and tutu respectively to take part - one week before they say, "I do".

The couple, who were raising money for Prostate Cancer UK, ran past their wedding venue - Edinburgh Castle.

Also included among the runners were a host of well- known faces, including Coronation Street and Taggart actor John Michie plus Chris Chittell and Nicola Wheeler from TV soap Emmerdale. Finance Secretary John Swinney

Mr Mitchelmore said the new ten mile route was well-received by the runners. "We wanted to offer runners a different challenge and this distance appeals to those looking to make the step from a 10k," he said.

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