Stirling Marathon 2018 - Race Report

Post date: May 7, 2018 1:04:03 PM

By Elaine McGeachy

I blame Jocelyn 100% completely for signing up to this marathon. I almost forgive her. Winter weather has been tough on us and although we weren’t following a plan, Sarah, Jocelyn and myself (and Trudy!) we upped our weekend mileage over the last 2 months to give us a bit of confidence come race day. But we were just hoping to get round it and honestly, we were all happy with that. We looked on at Alex Soudan’s training with awe as he looked effortless and was getting faster on every run.

We were well prepped the evening before with a nice Italian meal, meeting up with the other CRC and toon troops for some carb loading and some drama from Dom ;-0.

Boston and London Marathon’s came and went, giving us inspiration but also panic that we could be faced with awful weather but when race day came along – we couldn’t have got it better or at least for the start -- it was cool, a little breeze and the sun shone.

Here is a photo of the start line with the red pen we should have been in. Unfortunately we were still in the portaloo queue ¼ mile away! Not quite the start we all wanted but at least we got to the toilet eventually! Sprinting to the start wasn’t my intention but it certainly fired up the adrenaline and I was on 8 minute miles before I knew it. I tried my best to catch up with the 4.15 pacer but when I got there I realised it was the 3.45 pacer. I hadn’t thought about times or paces so I picked his brain about what pace I’d need for a sub 3.45. “8.30’s should be fine” he said “although you might want to aim for slightly faster to cope with the hills especially the last one as it is a tough one”. Hills??!! No-one told me there was hills!! I hadn’t even looked at the course never mind the elevation profile. All I knew was that they had changed the horrible loops at the finish line and there was Stirling Gin cocktails at the end.

I felt comfortable as I strode out into the Stirlingshire countryside ahead of the pacer. Maybe I could try to stay around him for most the race. I presumed Sarah was up ahead until I heard her approach me. It was great to see a friendly face by mile 6. The course was beautiful so far but it was quite lonely and no one seemed to be up for much chatting. Sarah overtook me and I tried to keep her in my sights as we ran through various towns – Doune, Dunblane and then on to Bridge of Allan. These were highlights of the course as the spectators were out in force cheering us on.

I caught up with Sarah again about mile 16 as we ran through the University grounds and Stuart snapped us together. We were happy at that point! I don’t normally eat or drink anything before my long runs and don’t take on gels etc but I was hungry today and was starting to fear I wouldn’t have the energy for the last 10 especially continuing at sub 8.30 pace. But Stuart ran beside me and handed me ½ a banana, and that gave me a new lease of life as well as telling us that Alex was doing great and Dom had finished the half! (Note to self – why didn’t we just do the half?!)

We narrowed into country roads and lanes again away from the cheering crowds but into the last participants of the half marathon. Well done on them taking part but it was energy sapping to manoeuvre round them all. I’m sorry to say but I started to curse them as they walked in front, some of them in rows together.

My smiles from earlier disappeared as the dark clouds opened to torrential rain. Soaked. OK it kept us cool but it also chafed us completely and enough to tear off my race number. I knew I was on for an OK time if I could just keep going so my entire focus was holding on to the race number! I could also feel my injury pain getting worse and worse but confident I could hold on to the finish line. I could tell my running gait was lopsided but I could do nothing to correct it. But I gave myself a good talking too on the course that after this marathon I was going to fix this injury for good – strength training and yoga were going to sort me out!!

When we approached Stirling city centre it was a wonderful feeling to see the crowd and get some cheers of support – of course we could hear Eilidh and Fiona Cook shouting! I thought I knew the final mile but was pleasantly surprised the finish was earlier than expected – a different finish to last year. Not so pleasantly surprised with the big incline to finish – I had to shout at myself to keep me going as my legs were starting to go. My smiles from earlier had turned into a grimace so no race photos of the last mile! Never again. Why was I doing this?!

But all that pain was momentarily forgotten when I crossed the line! 3.43.10 – a PB by 19 seconds. I wasn’t expecting that at all so utterly delighted! A GFA for London too. Sarah wasn’t far behind me at 3.45 (GFA for her too!) and Jocelyn not long after that at 4.10. Alex had finished long ago in 3.22! It’s such an elation finishing a marathon. You just forget the pain and it all seems worth it. And start to look at London next year!!

The sun was shining again so it was time for prosecco, protein shake and chocolate! All the half marathoners had done brilliantly and were already celebrating – well done all. Also superb performances by other toonies too (hopefully new members) Gail Williams, Malcolm McMillan and Fiona Cook. Unfortunately Trudy had to pull out for race day but she continued to train with us – so next one Trudy, no excuses ;-0

Dominic Sharkey 1:21:51

Johnny Girvan 1:43:04

Eilidh Girvan 2:02:36

It was time for us to so we hobble all the way back to the hotel for our own celebratory meal and mojitos. Job done.

Thanks Jocelyn for forcing us into it, you are forgiven