After Lochaber I had decided not to run another marathon until the Autumn but a few weeks later I noticed a new event on the calendar that being the Strathearn Marathon. Situated in Comrie that was enough for me to enter as that part of Scotland is stunning.
I headed up Sunday morning and after Perth the rain was pelting down with low cloud and I was starting to think this was going to be a miserable day. Thankfully once in Comrie it stopped and I was cheered up with smiles and 'good morning' from the volunteers as I parked the car in Cultybraggan Camp which was a 2nd world war POW camp. What a fantastic setting for a race!
Race started at 9am and I soon found myself running solo in 3rd place after the first loop out the camp before heading south west up Glen Artney before a turn back to the east and then south on the B827 towards Braco. Now the race was advertised and mentioned the '1500 feet of ascent to present a stiff challenge to experienced runners' and I hoped we had climbed all the 1500 feet after 4 miles....if only!
Just after the 10 mile mark, the route joined the A822 north for a short stretch and I noticed the road turned right but looming in the low cloud there was a hill which should be twinned with Kaimes, surely they won't make us run up that! Well they did and we had the 1500 feet ascend all over again! This was the slowest mile clocking 8.20 min but you just couldn't see the end and visibility was down to 100 yards. At the half way point I had clocked 89 mins which was fine and I still felt okay. Eventually we carried on along the route of the old Roman road, and then joined the quiet back roads into the southern edges of Crieff. I
was overtaken at 22.5 miles which was disappointing but I was able to use the runner to pull me through the last 3 miles and to keep 4th place and more to my surprise clock under 3hrs with a pb of 2.58. Okay only 6 secs quicker than Lochaber but on a much tougher course I was delighted. Also got 1st vet!
The food afterwards was superb. Home baking as many cakes you could eat and all in a POW hut, brilliant. Great day out with the volunteers, organisation and what views you did get to see was stunning. Would recommend this to everyone and I hope it goes from strength to strength.