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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!