York Marathon – 08/10/2017

A family break provided the opportunity for me to have my first experience of taking part in a marathon, the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.

I travelled down to Yorkshire on the Friday where I met my brother, an experienced marathoner, who’d come up from Kent for the race.

We had an early start on the Sunday, travelling from our hotel near Harrogate to a park and ride just outside York where a fleet of buses carried competitors to the start at the University of York. There we enjoyed a traditional runner’s breakfast of porridge, coffee and banana before heading to the starting zones.
The course is a pretty flat one, heading past York Minster after 2 miles, before going out into the surrounding villages and countryside.

In one of the villages, the local vicar comes out and high fives the runners. There was further ecclesiastical support later on at 19 miles with another high five from the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
The course also passes through the village of Stamford Bridge, scene of the second most famous battle of 1066, where Harold Godwinson defeated Harald Hardrada’s Vikings. I wonder whether the guy I saw running with a Viking boat costume was dying at that point?

Speaking of dying, I must have gone off too quickly. Although for the first half I was running at what had felt a comfortable pace, by mile 18 I was fading and it became a bit of a struggle. Nevertheless, I kept on going and was able to run almost all the way, apart from a short stretch of about 200m at about mile 23 when I felt a twinge of cramp.

In the last couple of kilometres I could hear people just behind me calling out “Come on Batman”, which provided an incentive to dig deep to try and stay ahead of him. Sadly, Batman caught me with about 200m to go – grrrrr!
But despite fading in the last few miles, I was really happy to finish in a time of 4.19.16, well ahead of my main target of sub-4.30, but just outside my brother’s debut marathon time of 4.14 which was my secondary goal.
The marathon was a really well organised one, with great support throughout. It really does make a difference to have people calling out your name or your club, although I did hear one spectator say to her companion “Moray, where’s that?”!

Afterwards I got my T-shirt, goody bag and pint of Erdinger alcohol-free beer and also took advantage of the free medal engraving service. The only physical issue I felt was a slightly stiff hip, but that had cleared up by the next day.
So, would I do another marathon? Yeah, maybe. I know that I could potentially run a better one with a bit more even pace. But we’ll see.

Thanks go to numerous Moray Road Runners who provided advice and encouragement, but in particular to Michelle Russell who was a good training partner on long runs.

Report by:  Bernard Salmon

MRR Birthday Bash

30th-birthday-flag-5064-pThis year (2015) Moray Road Runners celebrate their 30th year of being a running club.  If you want to read about how it all started you can do so by clicking here.

It was decided that to celebrate this achievement we would throw a party, this was held on Saturday 19th September 2015.  It was open to all existing and past MRRs, including all juniors.

The party was held at the Laichmoray Hotel.  A big thank you to Rennie was DJing for the evening and to the event organiser Karen Norvell, without her taking the helm and organising this event it would just not have happened.WP_20150919_002

WP_20150919_003The event was decorated with balloons and this entertained all the small people who ran around playing with the balloons, regardless of age, there was a really good buffet put on and a celebratory cake.

After the food was served the dance floor started to get filled and people appeared to be having a good time.  Photographs were taken aplenty and for those of you who need a little help with how the night went, you can view the pictures here

Once again a big thank you to Rennie for DJ and to Karen Norvell for organising a success party.

Report by:  Robert Bruce

 

Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon

Great Kindrochit Challenge

Last year my brother in law, David, sowed the seed that he was looking for a partner to do a Quadrathlon comprising of:

0.8 mile open water swim across Loch Tay starting at 6am

15 mile hill run over Ben Lawers range (7 Munros/9,000ft of climb)

7 mile Kayak down Loch Tay

34 mile road bike around Loch Tay

Although a little sceptical at first, the writing was on the wall and so I embarked on a journey of discovery. Doing an event that didn’t involve just running and the minefield of training and equipment that I would need to familiarise myself with was a steep learning curve in itself.

I swam a bit a school but that was over 20 years ago and most of my swimming these days is in the 2ft deep kid’s pool in Moray Leisure Centre and certainly not in a 14 degree loch at 6 in the morning. Over the following months I built up my swim training to the point that I could comfortably swim the distance without stopping in the pool but practical open water training would have to wait until the warmer weather.

My biking skills were also pretty limited also so I arranged a loan of a road bike from a friend for 6 months. Cycling came a lot more naturally and getting out on the bike was a welcome addition to my training schedule and something I am really enjoying.

Whilst, I have been running regularly, there was a distinct lack of hills in my repertoire; in fact I think I have only climbed one Munro in the past.

As the event drew nearer the training began to ramp up with brick sessions of different disciplines. My weekly training schedule generally included my usual daily runs, 2-3 cycle sessions, 2 swim sessions, circuits and latterly 2 spin classes. The final week or so before the event was spent pouring over the event info and ensuring I had all the kit prepared.

Registration opened at event on Friday afternoon. I arrived promptly only to receive a message from my team mate that he had had a car tyre puncture en-route. Hopefully, the only puncture we would get over the weekend. All was fine and once he arrived we got our tents pitched and readied ourselves for an epic registration where all compulsory kit was checked. We did a compulsory navigation check and then handed over our run transition bags – not to be seen until we came out the water the next day. Next up was a mighty pasta feast in the marquee and a compulsory briefing. A final check of our bikes and it was time to get the head down.

swim_start1After a pretty ropey night of sleep, we were up at 4.50am to get some Weetabix down our necks before hauling on the wetsuits. It was cloudy and a bit drizzly but the wind was low. The water was flat but the mountains shrouded in a thick blanket of cloud.  After a group warm up in the marquee all donning our wetsuits and yellow swim caps we were led off by piper down a track to the loch side like a scene from the Pied Piper. Very quickly everyone waded in to the water and we were off.

Initially, I found it hard to get my breathing rhythm but after a couple of minutes settled into my stroke. David on the other hand found things a bit tougher and even found himself doing some backstroke at one point. Quite quickly the field spread out and we made our way towards a flashing light on the far shore.  It seemed to take an age but on reaching the shore I found I had smashed my PB for the distance by a couple of minutes, 27th fastest of all competitors (242). The support team were there to welcome us and help take off wetsuits. There was a variety of hot drinks and snacks if people wished. Much nakedness (both male and female) was evident with little attempt to change discretely – not surprising as everyone was clearly focused on the task at hand.11745885_10153522510733833_8901497329406376625_n

So off we set up the first of seven Munros. The weather was alternating between cloud, drizzle and sunny spells. We picked off a couple of teams on the first descent and discovered that we were the 2nd placed team from the 6am starters (There were two waves of starters at 6am and 7am). As we climbed higher the winds picked up with the first 4 peaks were very chilly and wet. The terrain was mixed despite a well-trodden path between the peaks with some very steep, rough and wet sections.  On the descent from Ben Lawers, the clouds cleared exposing magnificent views and there was a lovely descent and climb along a ridge to the 5th peak. From there was one further Munro before a cross country descent to a reservoir checkpoint for the first refuelling stop of the mountain stage. After a bite to eat, we set of for the last ascent up Tarmachan – with no clear path, we ploughed up the steep hill until we met the main footpath. Reaching the summit was a huge relief knowing that it was all downhill from here. The descent was great and the legs were enjoying a nice stretch out. It took about 45 mins to reach the water edge for the kayak transition.

This section was a paddle into the unknown given that neither of us had managed much (if any) training. It involved a 7 mile paddle down and across the loch back to the event village for the final transition. After a tentative start we got into a good rhythm with the incentive of the legendary Bikini Beach drink-stop driving us on. After what seemed like an age we rounded a corner to find ladies (and men) in grass skirts dancing to music. They handed us some fruit cocktails and some words of encouragement before sending us on our way. On reaching the shore, my legs had seized up so exiting the kayak was a sight to behold. A sort of hobbling run to the bike transition came next. The event MC was giving a running commentary as we arrived which was much appreciated.

A quick change and we were off although I realised that in the excitement of it all I had forgotten both my cycling glasses and gloves. I looked at the sky and decided that I would take the chance full knowing that if it got cold and wet my hands would be frozen stiff. The first section west to Killin is single track road with a lot of potholes, tights turns and hills. Our key aim was to try and avoid a puncture. On reaching Killin we swept past the Fish and Chip station (I know!) feeling that we should push on whilst the going was good. After a steep climb out of Killin, we had a fairly speedy ride along the main road to Kenmore. We were overtaken by one team but were holding our own well. From Kenmore back to the finish was a long ascent for several miles but the finish was now firmly in the mind. As we turned off the road we had to speed down a grass field before dismounting and running into the transition zone that was filled with people just beginning the ride section. The MC was in full voice and the crowds were cheering as we ran to the finish line. On checking in, we were presented with 11059877_10153522506388833_9218632550050363147_na claymore sword to slice a watermelon in half. A nice touch and certainly memorable. We had completed the course in 9 hr 48 mins. Currently in 3rd place we had to wait for the next hour to see how many of the 7am starters would beat us. As it was, we ended up 8th out of approximately 122 teams.

After some photos and calls to love ones, we exploited the still hot showers, enjoyed a thorough massage, and a big feed whilst watching the teams come home. Many beers were consumed and the atmosphere was great with everyone sharing stores of the day. A band played and support team staff, volunteers and participants merrily danced away. The weather gradually deteriorated as the day progressed and as the light failed the last few teams came in to much applause. The last team to complete the full course arrived at 10.30pm after 16.30hrs. After prize giving, we all trooped outside to witness an awesome fireworks display. By midnight I was done and shuffled off to my tent.

Next day, I woke early and decided I should make the most of the fine morning and that fact my legs still seemed to be working so put on my running kit for a rather sedentary 5k jog. I was soon to discover by teatime the full effects of DOMS.

All in all, we were delighted with our efforts after months of training and preparation. It was a well organised event and the support staff were amazing. The event is also likely to raise £250,000 for Marys Meals and Mercy Corps which is amazing.

Would I recommend it? – absolutely! Would I do it again?  – nah! Too busy looking for the next challenge…..

Report by:  Ed Dunbar

Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon 25/05/2014

Mull of Kintyre HM

Mull of Kintyre HM

Last weekend I travelled to my home town of Campbeltown to compete in the Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon.

The course itself was hard going with miles 4 to 6 taking in a tough off road section and a scenic slog on Westport beach.

After mile 1, it became clear that this year’s field was not the

Off we go

Off we go

strongest as I settled into third position with only my brother Kenny and a Bellahouston Harrier runner ahead.

At mile 4 Kenny dropped out with a recurring hamstring injury and I started to realise that a rare podium place was definitely on the cards.

 

My chance of winning the race however was blown apart as soon as we entered the off road section when the legs tired quickly and I remembered why I find X Country so painful!

On the Podium

On the Podium

Back on tarmac I felt immediately at home and managed to sustain a decent pace into a strong headwind to secure second place.

 

The MOK committee should be congratulated on another superbly organised event.

 

Report by Ally Campbell