Debut for new race
Organiser Fiona delighted by success of first Lang Toon event
Smiling faces were the order of the day at the inaugural Auchterarder Half Marathon as organisers reflect on a dream debut.
The sell- out event, held in association with Gleneagles Hotel, welcomed runners from across Scotland for a 13.1 mile test of endurance.
Race director Fiona Watt (38) of the Lang Toon’s Five Star Active admits tears were shed as participants pushed off from the start-line.
Endless hours of preparation brought the race to fruition but all the late-night planning was worth it.
Fiona said: “I am a working mum with two young children so organising this event has taken months of late nights.
“When that starter’s gun went off
We even had a chap who ran the whole 13.1 miles barefooted. That sight turned more than a few heads especially as some of the route was on gravel
and I watched the sea of smiles head off on their 13.1 mile journey it hit me and took my breath away and actually brought a tear to my eye.
“It was the most amazing feeling being there at the end, welcoming everyone back home and getting big sweaty hugs from them all.
“That is something I shall treasure and I feel very lucky to be part of our runners’ special moment when they first crossed the finish line.
“I was especially proud of my Five Star Active runners who I had trained for this event.
“Most of them were non-runners not so long ago to suddenly completing their first ever half. They are truly amazing and inspirational.”
Feedback from race participants has been positive and Fiona’s ambition of providing a special day for the local community was fulfilled.
She said: “Being the first year of this half marathon I was apprehensive but extremely excited when I awoke at 5am on race day.
“I enter a lot of events myself but I have never had a washing machine stomach like it.
“But from speaking to runners, marshals, local people, visitors and spectators - and reading all the reviews on our event Facebook page and emails - I couldn’t be happier with how the event went.
“My key aim was to create an event for Auchterarder that brought the town alive and brought people from near and far to this beautiful part of Scotland.
“Five Star Active in Auchterarder has grown into such a friendly supportive club for all abilities.
“This is what I wanted to create for this half marathon, for it to be friendly and inclusive with a positive encouraging vibe.
“Already the reviews are calling it ‘the best and friendliest half’ and that makes me proud as I am all about inclusiveness.
“So many lovely stories have come out of the event and many of them sharing their stories on our Facebook page.
“We even had a chap who ran the whole 13.1 miles barefooted. That sight turned more than a few heads especially with some of the route being off road on gravel tracks around Strathallan Estate.
“Unimaginable for most but this guy came home in a time well under one hour 50 minutes.”
Fiona was full of praise for the volunteers who gave up their time to make the occasion such a special one.
And she highlighted the positive relationship struck with Gleneagles Hotel, where the race started and finished.
“An event like this wouldn’t happen without amazing people who give up their time to get involved,” Fiona said.
“I can’t thank Gleneagles enough for their support. They have been great to work with and so enthusiastic and supportive about the creation of this community event.
“The venue was first class in terms of a start/finish area for a running race and being able to allow the runners to run up the iconic Gleneagles Hotel drive was extremely special.”
Planning is already under way for next year’s event as Fiona looks to build on a successful start.
She said: “I am already planning the next year with the hope of introducing an Auchterarder 10K in association with Gleneagles into the racing calendar in spring time and making the half even better for its second year.
“Event dates will be released on our Facebook page first and it already seems that people will need to be quick off the mark if they want a space.”
Results: Males 1st Simon Smith 1.31.36, 2nd James Marshall 1.41.17, 3rd Gerry Rattray 1.47.06.
Females - 1st Jade McDonald 1.42.17, 2nd Virginia Cryle 1.44.13, 3rd Lucy Pearce 1.46.46.
Warm up Some stretches before taking to the roads around Gleneagles
Determined Maddy Watson from Crieff
Lynsay Whyte and son Struan from Muthill after the half marathon. Lynsay is also taking part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival this weekend to raise funds for MacRosty Park’s all abilities swings
Champ Nicola Watson from Crieff took top spot in the veterans category
Team effort Members of Crieff Hydro Leisure Club who took part in the half marathon
Thumbs up The Strathearn Harriers were well represented in the race
Smiles The start of the Auchterarder Half Marathon