There’s no doubt about it, a marathon is a fair distance!! But when it’s a run set in some of the most beautiful Scottish scenery, it’s also an amazing experience.
It’s fair to say that this year’s Loch Ness Marathon got off to a wet and wild start. The run set off from the hills at the side of Fort Augustus in an open and exposed landscape. The rain and high winds made for a challenging start to the race. However this soon evaporated as the route descended towards the loch side.
But weather apart, there’s no doubting the beauty of the route. Running along side the loch, the undulating route took us through Foyers and onto Dores before reaching Inverness. Through most villages and even the smallest collection of houses, runners were met with enthusiastic spectators with rousing cheers and a welcome tray of Jelly Babies! The most challenging hill came at 19 miles where I joined the majority of other runners around me and walked! From there, it was a mostly down hill run to the banks of the Ness and a final stage through the centre of Inverness.
This was my third time running the marathon. It’s a challenging road route without a doubt. But a stunningly beautiful one at that. And one that I would be happy to run again, and again.
I was delighted to receive the Spey runners Club place for the London Marathon 2018.
My training began at the beginning of the year, giving me 16 weeks of training. It was a difficult training period due to the weather conditions being particularly cold. Lot’s of snow, slush, cold wind and rain to contend with. My training was simple consisting mainly of two "back to back” sessions .
On the Sunday and Monday I did hill runs on the Slorachs Hill at the edge of Fochabers all off -road, doing 26 mies over both days. As the first days run got longer , the recovery run on the second day got shorter. Tuesday was a rest day from running, however I did do a few miles walking - keeping the dog happy. Wednesday a shorter hill run about 6 miles gradually increasing, and the club run on a Thursday. Friday was a strength and conditioning session, Saturday a rest day and then it was Sunday training again. I found that these sessions worked well with my work / home schedule , gave me hard training and sufficient rest. I also did some road running up to 22 miles as a long run, again introducing as many hills as possible into the route. My weekly mileage grew to just over 40 miles per week about two thirds into my training.
Going into the Marathon I felt strong and well prepared, until I saw the weather fore cast! That was something that Winter training could not prepare me for. I did the Paris marathon in 2016 and the same thing happened. Winter training then a hot day of 21 degrees on Marathon day , I knew it was going to be tough, and tough it was. I prepared by hydrating as soon as I got to London on the Friday. I don’t think I’ve drank as much water in my life. Using Electrolytes and salt tablets on the day as well as drinking as much as possible worked well for me. However I did get cramp twice at mile 15 and again a couple of miles later. I’ve never used salt tablets before therefore it was a bit of a guessing game how many to take. Having not experienced cramp when running before I had no idea how painful and debilitating it could be. I had to stop and massage my leg to be able to get going again, but thankfully I WAS able to get going again.
The crowds on the streets off London were fantastic, every inch of the 26.2 miles. I have ran a few Marathons over the years and have never experienced such an exciting atmosphere.
It was the hottest London Marathon ever recorded, the temperature reaching 24 degrees, there were a lot of runners suffering on the route and after. Every runner who crossed the line regardless of their time should be very proud of their achievement.
Thank you Spey Runners for giving me this fantastic opportunity. I ran London in 2015 in 4hrs 20 mins and was hoping for a similar time, however it wasn’t to be. My finishing time was 4hrs 35 mins, I suppose under the circumstances I shouldn’t be too hard on myself - however you know what we runners are like!
Hopefully Spey Runners will be allocated a place at the London Marathon in 2019, I would say to all Spey Runners, if you have ever contemplated doing a Marathon, then try for the Club place. You will not regret it and will experience a Marathon like no other.
Inverness 1/2 marathon was my first ever half marathon race - I’d been toying with the idea from the end of 2016 but never felt confident enough and kept putting it off! However, after regularly attending Spey Runners club runs and picking up tips from the other members I found I was becoming much more consistent in my running and thinking that maybe I could. So, I bit the bullet and signed up.
Training consisted of the weekly club runs and a longer run at the weekend with some of my Spey Runners who are training for a marathon.
Even with the training and building up miles to 16 miles in training I still never felt ready and was nervous.
The conditions were great on the day, albeit a bit chilly and there were all abilities of runners with different reasons for participating. My plan was just to keep running and finish! I was delighted to finish with a time of 2 hrs 13mins and collect my all important piece of bling lol!
All the Spey Runners who took part in this event had great runs and we all thoroughly enjoyed the day.
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