Ok, going to get this out there at the start this is an absolutely fantastic race worthy of any bucket list if you're not going to read tge rest of this review then <spoiler alert> you should do this race.
This race starts and finishes at the Nevis Range ski and mountain resort about two miles outside of Fort William. There are shuttle buses that run between Fort William and the resort as well as lots of parking.
The race starts with an overall uphill on mostly trail routes. This was my favourite part of the course with fantastic views and a nice overall variation in terrain and territory.
The route then goes to the striking Commando Monument at the nearby town of Spean Bridge. This is the turnaround point.
There's then a fantastically fast downhill section on quiet country roads again with fantastic views.
About 14 miles the hardest part of the course comes - a flat! From miles 14 to 20 there is a slog along the side of the canal, although this section is perfectly flat it's not the most interesting scenery wise and does feel quite a slog.
The final 6 miles of the route are a loop by the outskirts of Fort William then a final uphill section to the end. Who puts a hill at the end of a run!
There are regular water stops and there are also high-5 gels at about 4 points on the route. Although there are some trail sections none of them are too technical. It's fine to do in road shoes and those who normally do road racing should not find the terrain too challenging.
The race is limited to 500 places which makes it quite a unique experience to run. With large portions off road the local support can be a bit sparse in places but when you go through small towns and by the canal the local people are extremely friendly. There are regular and friendly marshalls.
This is one of the most stunning races scenery wise and well worth doing for the scenery alone. Overall the experience of doing such a small marathon on an amazing route is such sn experience in itself. You should do this race!
Posted on 08.08.18
Ok, so this is an unusual race if you haven't heard of it before it needs some explanation.
The rules are very simple, there are seven hills in Edinburgh, Castle Rock, Costorphine, Craiglockhart, Braids, Blackford, Arthur's Seat, Calton Hill and you have to go round them in that order - that's the rules. There are no routes, and pretty much no rules apart from that. You start and finish at Calton Hill.
There are water stations either at or near most of the hills (with the exception of Castle Rock which is near the start). You are running through suburban Edinburgh or parkland most of the time, unless the weather is unusually bad road shoes are fine.
It is split into two events; the challenge (for people like me happy just to get round) and a race for those more interested in a time. The challenge heads off half an hour before the race.
There is no medal instead there is a coaster for getting round. T shirts ans sports towels are available for sale.
This is a tough event, there are many points where it is not really possible to run and you will be hauling yourself up hills. The terrain naturally is very hilly (!) So you will find it very much saps your strength. A number of people (myself included) do find this harder than a marathon.
It is very much worth doing, both for the uniqueness of the event and the sheer challenge of such a physically tough event.
Beware that this event sells out vety quickly so you will need to be aware of the opening date on entry central.
A common question from new entrants is the route. I would recommend looking at the route on other people's Strava, there is also a very good picture guide on the archive section of Portobello Running Club website.
In summary a tough but very rewarding and wirthworth event.
Posted on 06.07.18
For those of you in the Edinburgh area this should be a must at some point. Starting in the promenade in seaside Portobello, you quickly move on to the beach for a run to the far (Seafield) end of the beach before a turnaround point and a run back.
The route is fairly challenging with groynes (wooden pier like things - I didn't know that's what they were called either!) to clamber over and some quite tough hard sand. Although the race is only 4 miles it is definitely a tough workout and certainly feels longer!
Despite the tough course it is one of the few races to be run on a beach which makes for good fun and a bit of novelty value. It is also a charity race and well supported by the local community. Many of the local running clubs and local people coming to either run or support the race.
As a charity race there is no medal or T shirt but it has an incredible spread of sandwiches and cakes afterwards.
Overall then a great fun race - if you're in the area definitely worthwhile.
Posted on 06.07.18
This is a very unusual race.
A 5 mile race to a set of rocks in the middle of the Firth of Forth and back again. The route starts in the small town of Kinghorn with changing and bag drop in the local school and library. Initially running through streets you soon hit the beach an run out over sand to a set of rocks in the middle of Pettycur Bay. Although the race is timed for the tides being out you will get your feet wet. After looping the rocks you run back to town finishing on a monster hill in the centre. This has become a fixture in the town of Kinghorn and many locals will come out to cheer.
There are no medals but you finish with a cracking local beer! T shirts (cotton) can also be bought for about £10.
The date of this race changes slightly each year as it always on a Friday but has to be timed for a day when the tides are suitable. It is always in late May/early June and sells out fast! Entry via entry central.
As you will get wet make sure and bring an older pair of shoes and a change.
This is a fantastic and fun race set in wonderful natural surroundings - the image of runners coming over the sands in the summer evening is iconic and will be one you won't forget.
A unique race - I would have no hesitation in adding this to your bucket list.
Posted on 14.06.18
The Edinburgh Half Marathon must rate as one of the flattest and fastest half marathon's in the UK a definite one to try for a PB potential.
Taking a slightly different route from previous years due to redevelopment work in the centre of town the race now starts in Potterrow by the university buildings. Although the university buildings do offer places to shelter and bathrooms the area can still be very busy and crowded with the number of runners. It can also be a bit of an odd start with a number of different waves starting around corners from each others although it is very well managed.
From there it is a fairly easy downhill into the centre of town - in a marked improvement from previous years, the route now passes many Edinburgh landmarks. A brief out-and-back into Holyrood park is quite crowded but a fantastic view. A long downhill to the coast is then a good opportunity to pick up some time on nice open roads.
The coast has always been one of the selling points of this route with fantastic open views and a flat route to the nearby town of Musselburgh with a further out and back past the town. This out and back can be tough seeing the large number of fast runners already on the back leg, and does seem to continue for a long time but is very flat and does eventually continue to a finish in a large playing field with plenty of room for all runners.
Overall an excellent and very flat fast route, although it can be very busy.
Those wanting a PB
Fans of big races
Those who don't like crowded fields
Those looking for something different
Posted on 01.06.18