New Marathon Stirling Scotland

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  • After yet more amazing support through Bridge of Allan, it was up into the University. It was there that I passed my friend Owain Williams as he was on his way back down the hill I was just starting to climb. Impressive running Owain! I managed to complete the hilly loop of the University on pace and was happy. Then, the groin pain started to introduce itself. Not too bad, so I took some of the voltarol gel I had with me and rubbed it into the sore part. It helped, and less than a mile after the uni, the pain had gone. Into mile 15 now, and I had been joined by the lad from Edinburgh from earlier. Got chatting away and it was round about there that I recognised someone just ahead. Liz McColgan. As we ran past, I said it was a pleasure to run with her. She smirked and asked us to just go past. Very pleasant and with a smile on her face. She was looking comfortable, and i was pretty sure she'd go past me by the finish line.

    Mile 16 was the biggest drag of the run. Straight road, bounded by trees on either side. Me and my new Edinburgh running partner were joined by another lad and we chatted all the way into Stirling. They both ran away from me shortly after the crowds appeared... and what crowds!!! Up over the railway line and into the town centre and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. I passed my family and supporters at this point for the first time and almost started greetin'. From there, up into the first lap and I was feeling good and fast enough. Up through the streets and it was simply amazing. First time in my life i've been part of something that all this support felt like it was there for you and you alone! First time round the loop and it was relatively quiet. The cobbled section through the centre was rough, but then onto paved roads and up the hill before a drop down and past the finish line for the first time.

    It was here that thing unravelled a wee bit. As I approched the gantry, I think in my mind it felt like the run was more or less done. Little did I know what was about to come. From there, you take a right and back downhill towards the River Forth again. Round a few corners (still amazing support by the way) and into the worst part of the run for me. There's a section that goes through an underpass. It's a really quite steep downhill into the underpass, the underpass is pretty low and I had to duck to make sure I didn't crack my head, then a few metres before a wee sharp climb out the other side, only to do it all again to get out the other side of the roundabout. It destroyed my rhythm, and really sapped energy from the legs. Hard to get going again. From there you run along and rejoin the loop around the town again and do it all again. This time, just past the finish area, my eyes started doing some weird stuff. All watery vision, and I couldn't see folk running just ahead of me and to the left a bit. I knew then, that i was dehydrated, my legs were getting really heavy, the groin was sore and immobile and I felt that I was in touching distance of what I now know was me hitting the wall.

    Rejoining the masses after the second loop, I could only concentrate on keeping my legs going. Remember my key thoughts, "Relax", "Posture". With that, i entered the main shopping area of Stirling for the last time and managed to negotiate my way through was was becoming a bit of a bottleneck of slow slow runners, even people stopping to chat to folk at the side. I ran into one poor lass, because I simply couldn't see her as a lad had stopped to talk to someone at the side!
  • At this point, just over 25 miles, I had been running on fumes for 3 or so miles and for the first time I actually took the decision to slow to a walk. I walked for maybe 10 seconds or so, but it seemed enough, and I kept on moving. I managed to pick my legs up and give it my all and got my pace back under 8 min/miles for the last mile and headed down towards the finish line for the 3rd and final time. It was so good to be able to keep left of the barrier and know that was the last time. I picked up the speed a bit and at least made it look like I was finishing strong. Round the corner, and over the line...

    FINISHED!!!!!!! I AM A MARATHONER!!!!!!

    Straight away, with the help of family, I went to the massage tent, lasted 2 minutes in there before being taken to the first aid tent. The Red Cross were amazing, monitored me for a bit, took stats etc and once i had been treated for a wee bit, i went back outside and was told my official time....

    I'm sitting actually clapping my hands as I type this!!!!!!!

    3 hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds!!!!!! 188th place and, Liz never did overtake me.

    SO HAPPPPPPYYYYYYYY! I beat my goal! I did it, despite injury, and despite quite clearly not taking enough fluids on during the race. I'll put that all down to a lack of experience. It's so easy to forget such a simple thing as drinking enough when you're busy being involved in a race like this.

    So, my first marathon, and only 3rd ever race, is now behind me, I have a GFA time (just) and I am ecstatic!

    Kudos to the organisers, the crowds (you were amazing), Red Cross and especially the family for the support through training and on the day. Also to this community here. I might not post much, if at all, but I do read and the knowledge here is astounding.

    So, any negatives from the day? Well, apart from the wall. The catering facilities and places for runners to sit down at the end of the run just aren't adequate. The food on offer is terrible. The underpass didn't feel fair to me.

    For the record, my splits are in the picture attached.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Great report Peter, I recognize just about all of that. The crowds were amazing, despite the rain, and probably helped by the fact that the loop section meant spectators could stand in one place and see the same runners three times. Running through Doune was nice but I wasn't too fond of the hills around there, that wee one just after the bridge where the road turned left and climbed was steeper than it looked, and the run from there to Dunblane wasn't easy.

    Those underpasses were rubbish - too tight, too steep, and hardly a highlight of the city. My big bugbear was the whole laps thing - I was never sure how this was going to work, and for me it didn't. The first lap was fine. The second lap was much busier, as we had been joined by a bunch of people who were about 4 miles behind us. Because they were going a little slower, it was a struggle to get past, particularly on that tight section on the main street. The third lap was way too crowded, and of course we were now running through people who were about 8 miles further back than us. The difference in pace was just too much - we were really held up and I'm sure the slower runners didn't appreciate people trying to barge past them, just not really fair to anyone.

    Having said all that, I enjoyed most of the run, ran with a mate from my running club together from start to finish, think I helped him along on the second lap and he really pushed us both along on the last lap. We hit under 5 minute pace for the last 0.2 miles, which I still can't believe. Finished in 3:05:05, which is a PB for me, so chuffed to bits with that. Another running club mate achieved GFA and another finished his first marathon. Those beers at the end were very, very nice.

    Finish area was a bit crap - baggage buses being parked closer would have allowed people to get changed and then maybe have a beer or something to eat in comfort, especially as it was raining.

    Well done to you Peter - not only are you now a marathon runner, you're also GFA - this is a massive achievement, you should be very proud. And there was you beforehand wondering if you could do it, well you've found out that marathons aren't easy, but that's part of the satisfaction - if it was easy, it wouldn't mean as much. I'm sure you were probably quite emotional after the finish. Take it easy for the next few days / weeks, your body will be very beat up. DOMS usually means that it can be tricky going down stairs two days afterwards (tip - walk down them backwards). You have loads of time to recover, and see you in London next year!

    Well done again!
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Brilliant reports guys.  My story is very similar, if a bit longer because I finished in 5:22.  Target was 5:30, so well chuffed. It's all relative. :)

    Got to Sprinkerse P&R at about 7:15, straight on a bus and left 10 mins later - which I was to discover later was very fortunate! Pretty stress free journey and arrival at Blair Drummond - nipped into the toilet at the gate before heading up to the main area - again a fortunate choice. Nice walk up to the muster area and a short queue for a cup of tea to go with the breakfast I'd brought.  Joined the toilet queue, and spent the time sorting out my bag, run belt, gels etc..  Bag on bus then over to the start area.  Ditched my £1 charity shop jumper just as we were called forward, and high-fived a lion, elephant, giraffe and tiger just before the start line.

    First few miles were a bit warm and clammy, but not too bad.  Managed to keep my pace in check despite being overtaken by loads of people.  Hard to go so slowly when you feel good, but I've blown up before. 

    Totally agree on the support - I was not expecting the noise and support at Doune.  I went from my planned 12mm pace to 10:20 without realising it. What a buzz. 

    Rain came on - nice cooling drizzle, that was to keep up for most of the race.  Perfect conditions for me.  Was slightly ahead of pace, but not too bad and was pretty comfortable all the way to the university - I walked up part of the hill having choked on some water, but I probably would have anyway.

    The next few miles are a bit of a haze - the rain was heavier and was washing sweat into my eyes, but I kept my head down and plugged onwards.  Before long I was passing the sports centre, and was in the city.

    The laps were awful - partly because the first time round I was expecting the gantry to be just as you entered the loop (I know they were announcing it at the beginning, but my brain wasn't working by then) so I spent a couple of miles worrying that I'd gone the wrong way.  Partly too because of the underpasses which were murder on my poor feet - my toes had started getting sore on the down at the university, and every drop after that made them worse.  I think that if I do it again (and it's the same route), being prepared for the laps would make a difference, but the second time through the gantry felt dreadful, knowing what was to come.

    Saw the family in the town centre too which was fab, and the kids handing out sweets and high fives were a great boost.  By my third lap though, the crowds had thinned a lot, and I suspect it would have been very lonely for anyone 6 hours +.

    It had dried up by the time I finished, and hubby and the kids had been at the gantry rather than at the real finish (saw a couple of peopke stopping there, thinking they had finished - oops), so I had a few minutes to gather my thoughts, wipe that bit of dust that appeared to have got in my eye, and then I felt a tap on my shoulder.  It was an old friend I hadn't seen for 25+ years, who I'd recently befriended on Facebook, who lived locally and had been tracking me on the app.  So nice to see a friendly face and get a congratulatory hug.  Found the family, took some photos on the (not terribly impressive) podium, then went to hunt down my bag.  Hubby had parked fairly near (but in the opposite direction from the baggage buses) so got back to the car, forced down a Snickers and a banana milkshake he'd bought at McDonalds (I'm usually too nauseous to eat, so forced was the word), then headed to Dobbies where I had a wash and a change of clothes, a quick bite to eat and a vat of tea, and then headed back north.  3 hours in the car is a great way to recover - not! Nearly ditched the Garmin out of the window at Pitlochry when it beeped and told me to move........

    Nursing a couple of bashed toenails today, and I have to keep reminding myself not to sit still for too long, but on the whole feeling pretty good.  Eating for Scotland - currently on lunch #2.

  • Congratulations on your race - I'm bitterly regretting not going in for this. Definitely aim to do it next year.

    I sat at the top of the hill in the University and grabbed a few pics. If you're interested, I dumped them online at https://alanpotter.smugmug.com/2017/20170521-Stirling-Scottish-Marathon

    Feel free to download any if you wish
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    So we're all agreed - transport to the start could have been better, having laps of the city doesn't work and the underpasses are pish (and not just because of the faint smell of pish), crowd support was great?
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Pretty much sums it up Rodeoflip! 

    Off to look at Alan's pictures........
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Well done Nessie, great result.  Was that a PB for you?
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Alan, you didn't "grab a few pics", looks like you got most of the field! I recognise a few clubmates in your pictures, bizarrely including one where my mate is one of three people all running in a row, all with eyes closed??? Great pictures.
  • Thank you :-)
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Hi Shades - yes, I think so. 

    My results PB is from Dumfries in 2006, but that was when I went wrong at the last roundabout (the marshall had disappeared) and ended up climbing down towards the finish through someone's garden and managed to leapfrog PH.  Given her time and the distance I was behind her, I think this is pretty close to what I would have been, on the better side.  I'm taking it as a PB. :)
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Haha, yes - if that's a few pics, goodness knows what a lot looks like. :)

    Sadly I must have been too slow, although I thought I passed a photographer there. 
  • What was your bib # ? I did omit a few pictures where I had screwed up, but I can have another look...
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Hi Alan, I was bib no. 99 if you come across any (although they're likely to just show a baldy red-faced twat struggling to get up a small incline!)
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    6072 - pink number, dayglo orange t-shirt, purple face.... ;)
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    You may have been distracted by Bemax from Big Hero 6 and his superhero friends, who were just next to me for most of the race.
  • SHADESSHADES ✭✭✭✭
    Well done Nessie on the PB, look forward to seeing you at Loch Ness. :)
  • Sorry, Nessie, I couldn't find any of you :(
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    No problem Alan.  Thanks for looking :)
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