17 Harmeny runners (Ann, Gillian, Kim, Pat, Elaine, Carole, Nicky, Margaret, Dugald, Phil, David, Craig, Jon. Ian, Alan, Jonathan, and myself) lined up on the start line of the inaugural Stirling marathon.
John and I got there early doors so weren’t caught up in the mayhem on the M9 at around 8am. I was soon despatched onto one of the shuttle buses and headed for the start at Blair Drummond Safari Park. There’s not many races where the only spectators at the start are giraffes!!
The course itself was undulating, not any major climbs more long gentle inclines. Then you hit Stirling and those dreaded loops!!! Two and a half times round we went, every time you went under the gantry it would remind you that you had to go under the gantry three time! “If you were passing under for the first or second time you keep to your right, if you were passing under for the third time keep to your left”. Well just as I was about to start my second time round Craig MacKay breezes past on my left and shouted “keep going nearly there”, as he saunters home to finish in 3:30. Quoting the words of our chairman “some of us had a bad day at the office”, myself included. From mile 20, I suffered from cramp in my left calf and it was a walk/jog/stretch for the last 6 miles. What kept me going was the fantastic support from the Harmeny crew, John, Frances (David and Chico), Michelle, Ross and Sandra – you guys were awesome! On the other hand, some had a very good day at the office, we had some amazing results – Dugald and Phil stormed home in 3:02 and 3:06. Phil bagged a 12 minute PB and in the process a ‘good for age’ for the London marathon 2018. Everyone finished in under 5 and half hours (Nicky pulled out after mile 17, but that was her intention from the off and poor Gillian had a medical emergency, but thankfully is fine now and has signed up for another marathon in October).
The support in the villages (Doune, Dunblane, Bridge of Allan) along the route was amazing, not so much out in the countryside but the scenery made up for that. What made the day very special was the support from Harmeny members – Michelle and Ross. They kept popping up along the route, Ross took some great photos, although how come everyone else looks like they are enjoying their run apart from me?? (https://www.facebook.com/ross.millar.359/media_set?set=a.10155212189072082.1073741839.713327081&type=3&uploaded=10)
Would I recommend it? Yes, the start and route were amazing. The finish area was a shambles but it’s the first one and I’m sure they will improve on things for the following years.