North Ayrshire Athletics Club’s (NAAC) Festival of Running will return to the Three Towns this year after the event had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The community event which includes the popular 10k race has been pencilled in for Sunday, September 5.

Last year, NAAC organised a virtual run instead while the main event fell victim to the pandemic.

However, the club is delighted that the festival will return later this year.

NAAC President Kirsteen Brown told the Herald: “After only running last year’s event as a virtual run, we were wanting to bring back the Festival of Running this year.

“The event attracts runners of all abilities with a reasonably flat course for those wanting to achieve a personal best or those wanting to complete their first 10k, the mix of abilities is what makes the event so special to everyone at NAAC.

“We have been monitoring the government announcement and Scottish Athletics over the past few months and the NAAC 10k team have been keen to hold the event to bring back a bit of normality to the community.

“We are hoping to open entries in May once we hopefully have a bit more certainty of events recommencing and will announce the launch on our NAAC 10k Facebook page.

“However, we can reassure everyone that organising for the NAAC Festival of Running 2021 is well underway.”

While the flagship 10k event attracts runners from all levels, the club is also keen to help promote the next generation of athletes with junior events so all of the family can get involved in the fun.

Kirsteen said: “It is our intention to run junior events similar to previous years to continue to encourage as many people as possible in the local community to take part in running.

“However, we will need to wait and see what the COVID guidelines look like in the coming months.

“We aim to provide a community spirit to all of our events and previous years has shown it is a great family day out with cheering on athletes in all of our races.

“The event has always been about promoting the community to become more active and get out and enjoy running.

“We are looking forward to seeing the smiling faces as they cross the finish line whether it’s in the family fun run, junior race or 10k.”

The club also hopes to see a rise in the number of people taking up the sport post-lockdown.

Kirsteen added: “It has been great to see so many people out running over the past year and we would encourage anyone who hasn’t tried to run a 10k before to give it a go, the event is for all ages and abilities.”