NEW!!! Strathearn Marathon (Perthshire)

After a lot of discussion and lots of feedback from Runners World forumites we have decided that the Strathearn Marathon will go ahead in 2012.

We think there are 5 strong reasons to run this one.

1. The scenery. In our (biased of course) view, Strathearn is one of the prettiest areas in Scotland. Surrounded by hills and following the River Earn from Loch Earn to where it joins the Tay near Perth the views make you forget the pain on those long runs. The area has many wonderful off-road tracks but also a whole network of quiet B-roads where you are unlucky if you ever meet a car on an hour or two run. We love running here and want to show it off to as many other runners as we can!

2. Organized by runners for runners. Strathearn Harriers will be organizing the race. We have for many years organized the wonderful Famous Grouse Crieff 10k race and the increasnigly popular Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay. We always get complimented on the efficiency of the organization, understanding of what runners are looking for from races and the friendliness of the team organizing both races and this gives us confidence that we can take on the challenge of organizing the marathon.

3. Location! Strathearn is only an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh, 30 mins from Perth and 45 from Dundee. 2 hours and you're in Forth William or Inverness. If you are travelling from down south, it is a great place for a mini break with lots of nearby accommodation ranging from bunkhouses and campsites to B&Bs, self-catering and posh hotels.

4. Value for money. We have made some initial budget calculations and see no reason why we can't keep the cost down to below £25. The exact details of what you'll get for this will need to be further worked on but it will include a medal or other sort of memento to remind you of your achievement.

5. Race atmosphere. Realistically (and, from the point of view of the organizers, hopefully!) the race is unlikely to attract the numbers that flock to Edinburgh, London or Loch Ness. Instead we will aim for a small, friendly atmosphere where arrangements are convenient and hassle-free (parking, registration, changing, bagage etc) and with the local community mucking in to support the race.

The exact details of the course is under wraps for now as we debate what is the very best route for runners, organizers and authorities alike but it will be cracker and one we know you'll really enjoy!

Anyone interested??? 




  • LindsayYLindsayY ✭✭✭

    Hey Shoelace

    Sounds fantastic - I'm very interested!  Done my first marathon the other week there in Belfast, but have signed up for Loch Ness this October.  Hoping to do 5 or 6 marathons next year, and have applied for London and Brighton. 

     I'm currently in Aberdeen just now, but should be in the Fife area from August this year, so this marathon sounds ideal!!  I think I might have completed a survey online for this??)

     Look forward to hearing more about this!


  • Sounds good, I'll keep an eye out for further details.
  • Lindsay, yes, that was my survey. It's been very useful in figuring out what's important to most people. Hopefully we'll put what we've learned to good effect. I think that the date of ours should work well for you as there aren't many at that time of year. I guess people think it might be warm then, but as you know Scotland's summer lasts from April 27th - May 2nd so I think we should be back to 10C and mizzle by June 10thimage.

  • Sounds great, will pencil the date in the diary for next year!image
  • LindsayYLindsayY ✭✭✭

    June sounds great - had been looking for a reasonably local marathon for June this year, but couldn't find anything.

     I know Crieff pretty well, from my annual Christmas trip to the Crieff Hydro party nights!!  Done a fair bit of walking in the area (usually on the sunday to clear the head of the massive hangover induced by said party night!).  Cracking area, really looking forward to this event.

  • sounds great- I am from Aberdeen and a marathon like this close to home without the number sof Edinburgh sounds ideal
  • Shoelace, bang up for this one!!  A marathon closer to home would be great althought will it not be bit hilly consider the start of the 10k which is a fantastic race.

  • Hi Cameron,

    We have a number of options for a route. TBH none are absolutely 100% pancake flat but some are gently undulating (less than Loch Ness) and others are hillier (think Snowdonia or Beachy Head).

    We have to make some tough decisions on this in the coming weeks.

    A hilly one will undoubtedly reduce our potential pool of runners but it will allow us to choose a really amazing route and could give it a special and distinctive character. On the other hand it would not be good, imho, if it was only interesting to a handful of gnarled marathon "stamp-collectors" and ultra-runners.

    Our next marathon committee meeting is on 30th May so hopefully we will have made some choices then and I'll be sure to let you know.

  • Shoelace, I did the Heaven and Hell Half last month so don’t really mind the hills. Looking forward to hearing more about this event but my mind is Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday.

    P.S might venture up to Crieff this year for the 10K and a wee Grouse!
  • Cameron, good luck on Sunday - what are you aiming for? Sub 4 for sure based on your time for H&H 1/2?

    See you in Crieff on July 10th!

  • Shoelace, good research there, yes aiming for sub 4 - training has been on schedule so fingers crossed.
  • Shoelace, managed 3.51 at Edinburgh on Sunday - windy was hellish last few miles. 
  • Hi Cameron,

    I've been away for a week so only just saw your post. Congrats on 3.51, that's a brilliant effort in the wind. You must be very pleased! Well done!

  • Well, after 3 hours of discussion and heated debate last night we finally managed to agree on the outline of a route for our marathon next year!

    A rough description of the route (OS Explorer 368):
    Start with a loop of Cultybraggan camp NN768198
    Turn right out of the camp and climb steeply up towards Glenartney before switching back to pick up the B827 towards Braco
    At junction of A822 turn left and run along the road for just less than a mile before turning off left and climbing up the Roman road for a mile or so
    Turn left at the junction and follow this minor road for four miles before turning right onto another minor rd which rejoins the A822 just south of Crieff.
    You then have another 1/2 mile on the main road before turning off left and heading back to Comrie on the back road
    A quick loop through Comrie to the bridge and then back southwards on the B827 before turning right back to the camp
    A celebratory lap of the camp to finish and that's it, job done.

    Still a few tweaks to work out but that's pretty much the route. I ran it myself on Saturday to see what it would be like and can tell you that it is an absolute cracker. I absolutely loved it...but, I can't lie, it ain't easy! On the plus side

    , there is a strong chance of achieving that negative split as the first half has most of the tough climbs while the second is "just" undulating.

    Highlights include the views West into Glenartney, the wonderfully exposed Braco road across hillsides and moorland, the quiet country back roads by Drummond Castle and the pretty back road to Comrie from Crieff. Cultybraggan is a fantastic venue for the S and F with loads of space for parking, Nissen huts for changing and a brilliant position nestled at the foot of the hills.

    In summary:
    Do run it if you love running in beautiful surroundings, enjoy a challenge and are looking for an antidote to big city marathons
    Don't run it if you want a PB, have doubts about your ability to finish a regular flat marathon and need crowds of fellow runners and supporters to get you through
  • Hi Shoelace , Crieff area marathon sounds like a great idea , nearer to home and with lots of beautifull countryside . I live in Dundee but am relatively new to orginsed events .Doing my first full marathon -Liverpool in october. I would most definatly be interested in a June race . Lookin forward to further plans.
  • Hi, Shoelace.

    Probably, not interested in running but...+1... marshalling? Pencil me in.

    Can you activate ' Message Me'  on your profile , please?

  • Hey Charlie,

     Hard to imagine two more different events!

    Liverpool = Flat, big city marathon, thousands taking part, lots of razzamatazz

    Strathearn = Hilly, completely rural, just a couple hundred taking part (probably), low-key and relaxed

    I am sure you'll enjoy them both!

     Mrs Shoelace and her brother are planning on running Liverpool too - they're Scousers originally (used to live not far from Sefton Park) so it's a bit of trip down memory lane for them. Too claustraphobic for me!

  • Hi ATM. Profile updated as requested.
  • I'm up for this one, and I'm sure a few from my club will be too.

    A couple of weeks after Edinburgh - but I'll still give it a go!

    I really enjoy quieter marathons with more rural routes.

  • Hi Callan,

    Yes, it is quiet and rural and it's also going to be a tough challenge - not far off Snowdonia or Cape Wrath in terms of ascent. I ran it on Saturday and I would guess you could add on 10% or so to your normal expected time for a marathon. But if you focus on the views and not on your burning legs it'll just fly by !  image

    BTW which club are you from?

  • Shoelace,

     Dunbar Running Club.

    One of my clubmates did the Strathearn 50 a couple of years back, so I'm sure 26.2 should be no bother to him!

    I'll keep an eye out for more details and post it on our web site.

  • Cheers Callan - but I guess your clubmate did the Straven 50 not the Strathearn 50. Although, now you mention it, perhaps a 50 miler around Strathearn could be done....maybe an idea for another year!

  • Shoelace,  Yeah suppose there is a bit of a contrast between Liverpool City marathon and Strathearn rural setting. I'm sure i will enjoy Liverpool as it will be my first marathon , but running around the perthshire countryside in a smaller friendly event just feels more like me i think!
  • Charlie, hopefully you'll get a good time at Liverpool on a fast, flat course and then be able to enjoy the challenge of the Perthshire hills without needing to even wear a watch! Sounds like a good combo to me.

  • Just a quick update on plans for next year's marathon.

    We've settled on a date: Sunday June 10th 2012.

    We've decided on a course (Link to Cultybraggan - Glenartney - Blairinroar - B827 over the Langside to Braco - A822 towards Crieff - turn off left on the old military rd - left at junction towards Mill of Drummond - past to West of Drummond Castle - Right to The Balloch and on to the A822 again - N towards Crieff - Left before the bridge in Crieff to take the back Rd to Comrie - quick tour of Comrie and then back to Cultybraggan. Simples!

    It's a great route but really quite tough. No PBs and possibly not a great one for first time marathon runners.

    We have done a full risk assessment and are about to apply for the permit from Scottish Athletics and permission from the council to hold a "procession".

    One thing you can help us with right now is to give us your thoughts on the race "subtitle" or tagline. We want one that will get across that it's a really beautiful course and that it's a really tough one.

    To see our shortlist and vote for your fave, please visit this link: Link to

    Fingers crossed we get our permits and then we can really get cracking on organizing this one. Exciting isn't it!
  • Latest news on this one:

    Website is now live at Still a work in progress but most of the info is there. We are awaiting the various permits and "permission for public procession" but we do feel confident enough to start telling people about it.

    As it's the first year we need to be cautious about how much we spend until we know enough people are going to enter and, as we probably won't have sponsorship, please don't expect lots of lavish prizes and goodies etc. What we can promise you is a beautiful and challenging course on quiet roads, attention to detail in the organization (our risk assessment is a work of art!) and a friendly and helpful army of marshals and volunteers.

    Some key facts:

    The Strathearn Marathon: It's a beauty, but it's a beast!
    Race date: Sunday June 10 2012 9.00 start
    Entries open 1st Jan 2012 and close June 1st 2012
    Registration at Cultybraggan Camp Comrie from 7.30
    SAF members £23.00, Non SAF £25.00
    Generous cut-off time: so long as you reach 20 miles in less than 5 hours you will be OK (but remember it is a hilly course so do think twice if you're usually over 5hrs for 26.2 on a flat course).

    Couple of images we're planning to use to promote the race...let me know what you think!

  • Unofficially it seems the police and council are happy for us to go ahead so it looks like full steam ahead! image
  • Sounds good!!

    BF parents are from Comrie so free accomodation and childcare!!image

    Now to organise more time of work.......

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