Hi all, I took my camera round Stirling marathon, you may want to consider this new event for next year, I really enjoyed it. I took some photos of the route that may be of interest, apologies for the repetition.
The pre-start admin and information from the experienced Great Run organisation was good with a detailed website and all numbers etc posted out beforehand in good time. Stayed in town overnight at a B&B and went to dinner with Krista, Laurence and Nicola; a Pizza Express special, very nice too. The race starts at Blair Drummond safari park following a compulsory pick-up in Stirling (no drop-off at the start). The pickup buses worked fine for me and there was time to grab a coffee and use the facilities at the start before joining the right coloured start-pen – no drama. The route is slightly uphill for the first half with a short diversion including a noticeable climb round the Stirling university campus before heading into the city for two and a half laps and finishing in a field underneath the castle. The route is mostly through the scenic Stirlingshire countryside and visits the towns of Dunblane, Doune and Bridge of Alan along the way. There are some iconic views at times particularly running towards the Wallace Monument and towards Stirling with the Castle in the background.
I didn’t mind the loops in Stirling although I’ve read some people found them mentally tough but it gave spectators, family and friends the opportunity to see their runners on multiple occasions. I personally found them okay as you enter and start the loops at mile 17, it makes the last miles with all the support, particularly when you’re most tired, more interesting. What made the marathon by far, and most striking, was that fantastic support especially in the towns (very busy) and in Stirling itself. Large, vocal, all ages, engaged and happy and that was on a dreich day! Better than Glasgow and that’s saying something. Also knowing and seeing that Heather was at 10 miles, the ERN cheer squad at 14 miles, and again twice in the city made a huge difference and meeting up at the pub was an excellent bonus!
As it was the first time it was staged there were bound to be minor glitches, there were, but that shouldn’t detract from what was a great event. Great Run are experienced enough to take feedback on board and tweak. From a personal point, I’d aimed for 4 hours, finished in 3.58 so delighted; no problems, didn’t need to walk anytime, the weather was drizzly at times after mile 10, perfect for running but not so for spectating although it didn’t seem to keep anyone back! Many thanks to all that made it such a great day out particularly the ERN Support Elves!
Murdo Macleod: combining the roles of photographer and runner
Sheila Masson’s photos
Jim Skelt’s photos
Gary Hall’s photos
Gillian Grant’s photos
Gina Browse’s photos