HELENSBURGH is gearing up to welcome some of the top distance runners from Scotland and beyond as the Babcock 10K Series gets under way next week.

Race one in the three-race series starts at Hermitage Academy at 7.30pm next Thursday, May 9, with a field of more than a thousand runners set to take to the streets of the town – some aiming to record a personal best for a 10,000-metre race, and a few hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winners, Craig Ruddy of Inverclyde AC and Garscube’s Katie White.

More than 1,700 athletes have already entered the series, with many set to compete in the Babcock Dumbarton 10K on Thursday, May 16 and the Babcock Shettleston 10K on Glasgow Green at 10am on Sunday, May 26.

READ MORE: Babcock 10K Series surges towards record entry

The elite field has attracted the highest calibre of athletes to date, including two of Scotland’s leading distance runners.

Adam Craig, the Scottish cross-country champion and winner of last year’s Great Scottish Run 10k, leads the men’s charge in all three races, though in Dumbarton he will be challenged by GB international Luke Traynor from Giffnock North, who represented his country in the recent world cross country championships in Denmark and also ran for GB in the world half marathon championships in Spain last year.

In the women’s race, Katie White will face a resurgent Elspeth Curran from Kilbarchan, who was last year’s runner up, while Rio Olympic marathon representative Sonia Samuels from Loughborough will bring an exciting added dimension.

READ MORE: Rio Olympic marathon runner signs up for Helensburgh 10K

More than 100 runners from HM Naval Base Clyde, including serving sailors and Marines, civil servants and Babcock employees, will make up this year’s Team Clyde.

Gavin Leckie, Babcock Clyde’s managing director, said: “Babcock is delighted to support the 10K Series again this year.

“I’m hugely impressed with the organisation of the events and with our new 10K running tops and medals.

“Running is a very inclusive pastime as there are very few barriers that prevent anyone joining in so The 10K series are great social gatherings as well as having the obvious health and well-being benefits, which we also promote to our own staff.”

READ MORE: Pictures from the 2018 Babcock Helensburgh 10K

Series chair Kevin Johnson added: “The Babcock 10K Series is likely to produce some of the fastest times in Scotland this year and perhaps even the UK.”

There’s also a chance for you to win great head-to-toe running gear this week courtesy of the Babcock 10K Series’ retail running partner Start Fitness and their More Mile running brand. See the May 2 print edition of the Advertiser to find out more.