What a smashing day! Stuart Pirnie, Jo Forbes, Teresa O’Dwyer and Murdo Macleod journeyed up to Perthshire for the 2011 edition of this excellent race. The Heaven and Hell Half Marathon is so called because of the ascends to heaven and the descends to hell reflecting the challenging route. The run takes in a number of long steep climbs, including one of 400 feet and one of 700 feet, with corresponding steep descents. The organisers describe the race as “a challenging but rewarding route” and “a race organised by runners for runners” and we couldn’t agree more. This year the weather was warm with very little wind (apart from a welcome light breeze at the very top!). Many thanks to all at Perth Road Runners for such an excellent friendly event – highly recommended as always.
Murdo said: “My third time at this event and it seems to get better. Registration is at Perth (Scone) airport and is very straightforward. Plenty of parking and met up with Teresa, Jo and Stuart who had driven up together. Also bumped into Alex Donaldson who was running for Strathaven Striders; Alex has joined us on a number of ERN Sunday runs but I didn’t recognize him at first as he’d shaved off his beard. There was a pre-race briefing at 1030 then it was a short walk to a nearby country lane and the start area. We were away dead on 11 and I ran with Jo and Teresa for the first few miles but as it inevitably starting going up, Jo pulled away from us. Teresa’s in training for the Prague marathon and we settled into a steady pace although she had to put up with my prattling. The climbs are constant but steady from miles 2-4 before a downhill to the first water station at mile 5, then another climb to mile 6 before a steep 2 mile descent to the second water station at the 8 mile point. It gets a bit steep after this, more or less immediately and constantly, up to the final water station (with it’s Angels!) at the 10 mile point. It’s downhill for a mile thereafter and an undulating 2 miles or so to the finish which is in a safe layby about a quarter of a mile from the start. We’d met up with Alex at about mile 9 and stayed together till the end. Nicola, who was out taking photos, gave us all a lift back – much appreciated. There was a great spread laid on at the end, very friendly feel about it all, and we stayed on for the prize giving. All in all a braw day out; a great race in beautiful Perthshire countryside, stunning views. Will be back next year. One of these races you have to do!”
Some photos: (many thanks to Nicola and for the lift from the finish to the event HQ)