Loch Ness Marathon
River Ness 10K
Joanne said : I couldn’t have picked a better weekend for my first Loch Ness Marathon. Not only did it stay dry, the sun even made an appearance and there was gentle breeze to help us over those hills!
On arrival at the ice rink, we were quickly placed on buses which transported us to the start line. I received a few strange looks when I produced my cereal bowl, spoon, milk carton and Weetabix for breakfast on the bus, but it was too early to eat before then! There was free tea and coffee at the start line when we arrived, which kept us warm until the start. Baggage was placed on the baggage buses efficiently and we were given plenty of warnings to get ready for the warm up.
As we passed through the start line, a piping band helped us to set off in a jubilant mood! The course started off pleasantly – the sun was warm and the hills hadn’t appeared yet! There were a few houses dotted along the way and the residents came up to cheer us on. Around mile 5 appeared the first hill – short but steep. A few more hills up and down along the way kept the route entertaining! Around mile 18 the marathon team had placed yellow signs on the route, light-heartedly informing us of the upcoming steep bits. I actually thought I had conquered them then realised the worst was still ahead. At this point, I resigned to quickly walking up rather than running, and several fellow runners had similar ideas. Once the hills were accomplished, there were still about 6 miles left of the course – it took me some time to get back into my stride and I began to slow down somewhat. On entering Inverness and seeing my friend’s parents waving me on, I began to get my momentum back. There were a lot more crowds at this stage all cheering and clapping, which always lifts the spirits! Just coming along the River Ness, I spotted my friends who had taken part in the 10K and, with just under 2 miles to go, I started feeling emotional and couldn’t wait to finish (in a good way!). I upped the pace for the last 100 yards and I managed to cross the line with a smile on my face, having just achieved a PB!
The scenery along the way was beautiful, and there was a lot to look at along the many miles of single track road which unfortunately had minimal supporters. The volunteers, many of whom were children, manning the drinks and energy stations and handing out medals were completely on task and the whole race felt extremely organised. The goody bag was full of lots of treats and, although I didn’t try it, we received a voucher for a free hot meal and soup at the finish.
A really enjoyable race, very well organised – challenging at times but coupled with the scenery is one I would definitely recommend!