Moray roads set to close as thousands compete for world medals

Scottish hopeful Scott Fraser sprinting through the streets of Elgin last weekend (pic: Mike Rodgers)
Scottish hopeful Scott Fraser sprinting through the streets of Elgin last weekend (pic: Mike Rodgers)

RESIDENTS ARE BEING warned that several roads around Forres face restrictions when a major world championships comes to town in two weeks.

Years of preparation for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC2015) will finally conclude when international athletes from around the globe will join thousands of club and fun runners taking part in the corresponding 20th Scottish 6 Days for the week-long festival.

The focus for the World Championships will be firmly on Forres in its opening event, with live television crews set to descend on the town for the sprint race.

That will see a 10mph speed limit being imposed on Grant Drive, Pilmuir Road, Pilmuir Road West and Grantown Road from 5pm until 8.30pm on Friday, July 31.

Roads in Forres town centre will again be affected, including the High Street, from 4pm until 8pm on Sunday, August 2 while local car parks will be closed from early on that morning – other parking restrictions in the town will also be applied.

A few days later the competitions will see thousands gathering at Darnaway Forest with the minor road running through the area being closed from 9.30am until 6.15pm on Wednesday, August 5 and again at the same times the following day.

Residents are more than welcome at all WOC2015 events with an opportunity to see the best athletes on the planet compete on their own doorsteps. There will be 450 athletes competing in the world championships while over 5000 will take part in the Scottish 6 Days events throughout Moray and the Highlands.

Elgin residents had a sneak preview of what could be expected last Sunday morning when many athletes competed in a final test designed to familiarise a host of UK and international athletes with the type of urban terrain they will race over in Forres and Nairn during the championships.

“In urban racing the athletes are racing around the streets at top speed,” the WOC2015 volunteer co-ordinator, Linda Cairns, explained, adding: “These races are incredibly intense with a likely winning time of around 13 minutes – so it is crucial that nothing impedes runners as they fly past stations.”

A taste of what is to come for Moray – this video was produced during the World Championships in Italy last year.