Monthly Archives: March 2012

the ‘WEE TRIATHLON’ : No Fuss Events, 17+18 March, Fort William.

This is an off-road sprint distance triathlon, (distances are roughly 400m swim/20k bike/5k run) and is aimed at the novice and not-so-serious triathletes (the tone was set by Frazer the race director at the briefing: ‘anyone caught taking this too seriously will have penalty points added’ and ‘activities such as stretching will be frowned upon!’) It’s a very popular event, and with Saturday already full I turned up on a gorgeous sunny highland Sunday morning to race my first tri of the season.

The swim took place in the newly refurbished and swanky Lochaber Leisure Centre, where competitors ranged from very accomplished freestylers to more leisurely breaststrokers; heats were run in lanes (none of the usual rough and tumble of open water swim starts) with a very civilised break between swim and bike. Times duly noted, (I finished 14th, 4mins30 behind the fastest swimmer) we got changed and cycled to the bottom of the Glen Nevis road, ready to set off according to our swim times.

It is truly agonising to watch 13 cyclists get a head start on you and disappear off into the distance, but over the 20k mix of tarmac, fire road and single track (including a couple of climbs that had me reaching for the granny ring and one white knuckle descent) I managed to catch a few and by the time we got back to transition I was in 6th place. Using my signature move of overtaking one person who was changing her shoes, (I’m not proud of it but it all counts!) I set off back up the Glen, this time on foot. By this time the sun was out and the views were stunning across the Mamores, taking my mind off the akwardness of running straight off the bike.

Some ‘interesting’ offroad climbs and a furious forestry descent later, I now found myself in 3rd place with number 2 in sight; with the gentle easterly wind at my back I managed to reel him in slowly and finished in 2nd place, 1st SVet. Congrats to Race leader Martin Steven who won by nearly 5 minutes, and to Saturday’s winner Ewan Thorburn who was over 7 minutes quicker still. Very glad not to have been in that race!

Once again, No Fuss conjured up really nice atmosphere, a great course, big medals and bobbly hats. If anyone fancies it, they run another triathlon in September, although it’s slightly more challenging: a 1.9k swim in Loch Lhinne, a 90km offroad bike ride, finishing with a 21k run to the summit of Ben Nevis and back. Details. Go on, you know you want to

Report from Hamish

D33 Ultra (Deeside Way Ultra Run)

Saturday saw the 1st race in the 2012 Scottish Ultra Marathon Series, the D33 in Aberdeen. The D33 is a friendly, low key, no frills, race described on the website as:

“No entry conditions apply, if you think you can then enter and do it. If you get half way and find you can’t, phone registration with your race number, tell them you are a loser and take the bus home.

Support, there is none required but if you want your mum to meet you half way with a jam sandwich then thats ok with us.”

The course is a flat scenic route along the deeside way path from Duthie park to Banchory and back. It is an easy to follow path and there are plenty of flapjack wielding marshals on route so the perfect ultra for the hungry or navigationaly challenged.

4 Bellas made the trip up for the race. Jane Galt and Jane Wild running in their 1st and hopefully not last ultra posted excellent times of 5hrs47 and 5hrs24 respectively. However the ladies performance of the day came from Rebecca Johnson who set an eye watering early pace and managed to hold on to finish first lady in a course record of 3hrs59. I failed in my intention to treat the race as a training run for the Highland Fling, what with the incredible support on the course I got a bit excited and ran round in 3hrs53 finishing 4th. Hope I’m not too broken for the fling…

The race also gets top marks for having Brewdog beers at the finish line and some classy medals “hand branded from wood reclaimed from Hurricane Bawbag”.

If you are thinking of dipping your toe into the murky water of Ultras I would highly recommend this race.

Do it.


Report from Grant.

Meadows marathon, Edinburgh, 4 March 2012

This afternoon saw the first running of a new addition to the Scottish marathon scene, the Meadows Marathon in Edinburgh. The idea of two Edinburgh students to raise funds for charitable causes, there has a been a fun run and a half marathon in previous years. However this year included the 26.2 miles for the first time.

Organised by students from the University, the course ran alongside the half marathon, 7 laps of the Meadows park & Bistro Square for the 13.1 milers & 15 laps of the same route for the marathoners.

Registration was held at the ‘Potterrow Dome’ in the southside of the city, & was well organised and efficient.

At 1225, after a pre-race gentle aerobic workout, the races commenced. My first Scottish marathon was underway. I ran this event as a long training run prior to the Madrid Marathon next month.

The 15 laps were easy to follow, with stewards from the Uni giving noisy encouragement to the participants as well as directing the runners. However there was a sting in the tail. The laps in the park were straightforward enough, but the cobblestones up to Bistro Square & back down again, 2 per lap, were a real shock to the system. And painful too.

Throughout the course, a real effort was made to add to the atmosphere, with live music in the square, and the Uni blasting out songs from their PA system. Also, loads of encouragement from the crowds of spectators. There was also live music in the park, though the performers did a runner during a hailstorm.

15 laps sounds rather repetitive, but I quite enjoyed it! There was no hidden surprises (apart from the cobblestones) and you knew what to expect in the latter stages.

The only other grumble was the distance of the race. 26.87 miles is the longest marathon I’ve ever ran. I was led to believe 26.2 miles was the norm. To be fair, the organisers did say this in an e-mail issued, due to the logistics of the course.

I ran the event in 3:34:55/8 minutes per mile, so in summary a good workout. No medal to the finishers. Just a cerificate and an awful ‘goodie bag’ full of leaflets.

I would recommend this event. It is excellent preparation for the London or Edinburgh marathons, and its good to run the distance psychologically prior to these events.

However, it is essential the organisers sort out the distance aspect. Why not put the finish line in the park? On a lighter note, why not tarmac over those cobblestones?

Report from Mark