In short: What a race! Scenic, great atmosphere and very well organised. In full: On the Saturday there is the pasta party and registration. The registration was very quick and didn't even have to queue. The event is sponsored by baxters, so not surprisingly the 3 course meal was excellent and there was plenty of seats in the Marquee.
Now on to the buses incident on the Sunday. Buses were meant to leave at 8 but unforetunatley due to problems 3 buses didn't make it so had to wait 45 minutes till it got sorted. This did not dappen spirits at all. And I have to say I would rather sit in a bus for 45 minutes than have to wait 45 minutes longer at the start! Once w got to the start about 10am (when it was meant to start). We were informed the start would be at 10.50am which gave us the same amount of time to prepare as we would have had if we arrived on time. The start was buzzing and full of many nationalities.
We got going and the scenery was glorious. Although it has a reputation as a hilly race, the first 9 miles are a net downhill as the race starts at 375 metres and at about 9 miles hits loch ness level. There is a long uphill about 4 miles but its not too steep then a short sharp up hill at 5 miles. Along the lochside there are quite a few undulations but generally pretty flat. At the 16 mile mark you enter Dores and also there was about 50-100 people cheering you on, it was electric! Before this you get the odd supporter which is apprectiated! But the people at Dores certainly turned it up a notch and left me buzzing for the next few miles. At mile 17 out of Dores there is a gentle uphill. Then the real work starts at 18 as the uphill goes a bit steeper and lasts about a mile. Then there is a gentle downhill from 19.5 to 21. At 21 there is a fair climb but its good in the knowledge it was the last climb of the day.
As you get to mile 22, the first roundabout - the crowds start lining the street and as you turn in to Ness walk the crowds got bigger which was great. You then go beside the river to near the center of Inverness, cross the bridge and you are nearly at mile 25. You then run back along the other side towards the stadium which you can hear from quite far away but you still have to run round the stadium and then on to the running track for a sprint, ahem, hobbling finish ;-)
The finish was amazing, along with the medal which the put over your head (the way it should be) , and the goody bag was full of useful post race food! Its also worth to note you can take a bag to the startline and then shove it in a lorry and its waiting for you at the finish! Also good if the weather changes on the way to the start!
Overall an excellent race and a nice shiny new PB for me :-) I would advise any one doing this race to do plently of hillwork, and include plenty of hills on your long runs and try and make the toughest hills at the end of your long run. I was very comfertable going up the hills and overtook a lot of people walking/slow running up the hills between 17-21.5 miles.
If there is a more scenic marathon in the UK please please please let me know! Date of review: October 10, 2009
In short: MudDock! In full: What an event! So much fun, I had a smile on my face for pretty much the whole race. Its not about getting a PB unless its for this specific course. Its about getting really muddy, challenging yourself against the tough course and enjoying the wonderful trails around Mugdock Park. You have to be patient at times because there are back logs at some of the obstacles as people try and find there ways round them with out getting too dirty! Trust me, in the end you will get dirty no matter what! I actually did most of my overtaking on the steep climbs and muddy bits. Just because I didn't think about it. I just went for it! At the end of the day the mud comes off.........after about half an hour in the shower! Also the goody bag was superb! An actual Salomon wicking t-shirt, for goodness shakes milk shake, water bottle, energy gel, fruit bar, training log etc etc.........Well worth the money! Date of review: September 13, 2009
In short: Great atmosphere In full: Overall Great Scottish run is a great race with a great atmosphere. There a pipers at most of the mile points. There is congestion at some points but it still has massive PB potential. The weather on the day was pretty wet and about 12 C, so pretty much perfect running weather. The goody bag and medal are good value. It is not the most scenic of runs but Pollock Park and Bellahouston Park make up for it. There was also a celebrity relay so I even got a high-five off Richard Gough! Its the 3rd time I've done the GSR and I'll definetley be back for more in future. Date of review: September 6, 2009
In short: Excellent well organised race In full: I would definitely recommend the Helensburgh half marathon, it is very scenic in places and goes through the town and houses elsewhere. With a capacity limit of 500 and just over 400 runners running today it’s a nice number and things spread out after 3-4 miles. It is definitely a PB course too as I would have been even closer to mine if I didn’t have the leg problem early on. It is quite a rolling course but no steep bits. The marshals were excellent and I did not have to stop at all even though the roads were not closed. Date of review: August 10, 2009
In short: Great race, will be back again In full: Having run this race twice before in 2004 (1.42) and 2005 (1.58), I was looking forward to getting back to running it after 4 years off. The good news was that the organisation was as good as ever and the only blip was the false start in which the councillor couldn’t get the gun to work and just told everyone to go! Before marshals had to stop runners as the gun sets off the timing mat (or something like that!). So once the councillor got a cap in the gun we were underway... As well as having the half marathon; a 10k is on at the same time and all the runners are mixed together distinguished by red race numbers for 10K runners and black race numbers for half marathon runners. Also a nice touch to the race numbers this year was that your name and where you’re from are under the number! So I was Stuart from Glasgow for the day The half marathon is a two lap course with the second lap having a two mile out and back section to make up the miles, as the 10k goes off into the track after the first lap. For the first lap I just had the intention of taking it easy and see how I felt on the second lap. I went through 7 miles about 1.03 and felt really good so decided to up it a bit for the second lap. The second lap I really enjoyed as it was a lot quieter as all the 10k runners which took up well over half the field were gone and a was regularly overtaking people. The course has what I would call long inclines and declines. I wouldn’t say they were enough to call hills or affect pace really. So PB potential is quite high here. I ended up finishing in a time of 1.51.57 which I was really pleased with as I have not done as many long runs in the last month. The last 6 miles felt really comfortable at the faster pace and I reckon I could have sustained it for many more miles. Overall this is a great race – excellent marshalling, 2 laps meant the water stations every 2 miles and it’s always good finishing on a track for that sprint finish! (ok so maybe not a sprint ;-), slightly faster than before!)
In short: Scenic, hilly and well organised 10k In full: Being a small town, I decided to head off early to ensure getting a parking space. So I got to Balfron about 9.15 well ahead of the 11am start. Parking was not a problem at this time but after 10 the car parks were all full across the town and people were parking on any street they could find. The race starts at Balfron high school, so there was no lack of changing facilities or toilets.
So I headed over early to get my race number and chip. The organisation was second to none as there was not even a queue even though there were over 600 runners plus a junior race. Then I headed back to the car to chill out with some tunes until 10.30 where I did a light jog back to Balfron high school to warm up. As I was entering Balfron High school there was a guy telling me ‘Go in that lane’, thinking that I was in the 4k junior race and I was last! So we had a good laugh about it when he realised I was just warming up.
The race itself was really enjoyable. The start went really smoothly as everyone seemed to be at the right point in the pack so I got up to my pace straight away. The course is an out and back course which is pretty much continuously undulating. It is one of those races where it was really a necessity to train on hills as you could tell in the second half of the race many were caught out by going off too quickly.
There were small pockets of support throughout the race that were extremely encouraging. On top of that the marshalling was second to none and the finish had a good crowd. The free orange and grapes stall was a nice touch at the finish. The goody bag included a bar of chocolate, a bottle of water and a very nice medal.
Although not a PB course, this is an incredibly scenic and well organised race now in its 3rd year. Being only half an hour out of Glasgow it is handy too.
In short: Great race, not too busy and well organised. In full: Woke up on Sunday morning of race day to find a thin layer of snow but luckily by the time I got over to Balloch the weather had turned to rain and the snow washed away quickly. However in true Scottish style the weather changed from one extreme to the other; one minute it was really windy and cold then wet and then sunny then back to windy! So race day outfits were needless to say very varied! The race limit is 500, so after a mile the pack is fairly spread out and by mile 3 you find it is spread out enough that you have your own space. Most of the course is run on pavements or the cycle track between Balloch and Glasgow, as the roads are not closed. However this wasn’t an issue due to the excellent marshalling throughout the course who stopped the traffic. I think I only stopped once to let a bus turn in to a street I was crossing and that was it. The atmosphere at the event was just right; the marshalls provided the majority of support to the runners while the field was mainly made up of club runners. So the times were quick; with the first runner coming in at 1.12 and the last about 2.20 with the majority of people finishing in under 2 hours. Although the race was fully subscribed only 388/500 runners finished, with many probably put off by the weather. The course itself I would describe as mildley undulating. There were quite a few long gentle climbs but none I would really describe as hills. Although I was maintaining quite a steady pace up them, I seemed to be overtaking quite a few people. So maybe other people saw them as hills! Personally I didn’t PB this race as, this was my first half in 4 years, but I reckon it’s a course which you could PB on as it is reasonably flat and a spread out field which means you are not really jostling for space at any point. I didn’t actually realise I was finished till I was given the goody bag as there was people standing in front of the finish sign to the left of the road. There were a fair number of people who hung around to cheer on the later runners which was nice. The finish momento is the best I have been given as it is a glass ornament with a kind of hologram of a runner inside with ‘Balloch to Clydebank half marathon’ engraved on the front. My only critisim of the ornament would be that it doesn’t have the year on it. However normally I would just shove my medals in a box but this one will be on the mantle piece for a few months at least! Overall an excellent, well organised event showing quality is better than quantity. One I will do again in the future for sure.