What a difference a year can make! Having run the race last year and seriously not enjoyed it, a return visit was definitely not on the cards. But then the organisers announced an new route, a more exciting route and one that didn’t have those ridiculous city centre loops!! I was in!
The new route was a delight. A fabulous mixture of open country and little towns. Starting in full view of the Castle, we ran out past the Blair Drummond Safari Park, and through the towns of Doune, Dunblane, and Bridge of Allen before a quick zip around the University campus and then back towards Stirling itself. A lovely countryside loop and then back into the city for a victory run through the centre and the finish!!
What lifts the race is the magnificent cheers from the enthusiastic crowds. But the race has it’s challenges too. A few steep streets though Dunblane, a steady climb into the University campus, the long stretch of dual carriageway and an uphill finish push your endurance. But as compensation, that final stretch was fabulously cheered on by the crowds lining the road to the finish.
On a personal note, I was unfortunately troubled once again by a persistent calf cramp niggle around about nineteenth miles in. But the final miles consisting of a run walk run combo got me home. All in all a wonderful route, great atmosphere and superb event. I’d recommend it to everyone.