IT is not often in one year that there are two new marathons in the Scottish athletics calendar. But this year there were two in Perthshire.
At the start of the summer, Gavin Harvie from Kirkintilloch Olympians AC had an excellent race to take third place in the Strathearn Harriers marathon. With over 1,500 feet of climbing in the 26.2 miles, his time of 2hrs 57mins was a real achievement.
Last weekend, the second new event was held in Aberfeldy. Organised by the local rotary club, the Highland Perthshire event included both a marathon and half-marathon. Attracted by the promise of a scenic route, a group from the Olympians headed north for the Saturday races.
The marathon was a two-lap event, so all 120 runners were able to see what was to come in the second 13 miles. After a promising start, the wind picked up during the morning and the second lap was even harder, with the climb at 20 miles offering only some relief from the headwinds of the earlier section.
There were some excellent performances from the local athletes. John Pugh in his first marathon ran a perfectly-controlled race to finish ahead of plans at 3hr 37mins, finishing before clubmates Willie McNeill, Gordon Young and Kathryn Cummins.
In the half-marathon – starting half an hour after the marathon – Debs Lindsay, Julie Newton, Pamela Parker and Maggie Hendry all finished happy with their times and full of positive comments on the scenery.
The races were not, however, only about times. Angela Stewart finished the marathon in second place within her age category and received a silver medal from the organising team.
And at the front of the race, Robert Rogerson battled with younger runners for the top places. He finished in fourth place overall, gaining the gold medal in the over-50 age group, well ahead of his nearest rivals.
* Local runners are once again being encouraged to take part in the Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon being held on Sunday, October 7. Starting in Kirkintilloch and running through Milton of Campsie, Lennoxtown, Torrance and Lenzie, the race attracted more than 400 runners last year. This year, the event is also a championship event for the British Masters, and runners from across the UK will be taking part. Entries to the race can be made online, at http://regonline.activeeurope.com/neilmccovermemorialhalfmarathon and further details are on the Kirkintilloch Olympians‘ website.
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