De­but for new race

Organiser Fiona de­lighted by suc­cess of first Lang Toon event

Strathearn Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Matthew Gallagher

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

Fundraiser

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

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