Race Report: Gate to Gate Fun Run at Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran

Race Report: Gate to Gate Fun Run at Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran

Date: 21st June 2015

Profile: Undulating

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: runarran.com

Positives: very relaxed vibe, well organised, great entertainment, and Jog Scotty was there 🙂

Negatives: a little hillier than I expected, my poor show, 10 minutes slower than my 5K PB

As you probably know, @TheWelshWookie and I were supposed to be running The Color Run in Glasgow on 22nd June, which was cancelled. Then, fate intervened, and up popped the Gate to Gate run on Facebook, only minutes after I found out that the run was cancelled. Result! We found an excellent replacement and had just as much fun as we would have had in Glasgow.

The Gate to Gate run takes place in the grounds of Brodick Castle, which is a National Trust castle on the Isle of Arran. For us, Arran is very easy to reach as we can hop on the ferry from Claonaig, which is only around 8 miles south of Tarbert. The ferry takes us into Lochranza, and Brodick is around a 14 mile drive towards the south of the island. Perfect!

I laid out my gear the night before, as usual. As it was my first organised run of the year, I’ll admit that I double checked my bag a few times. The weather forecast was for grey, overcast, misty weather, but one report said it might brighten up later. I was optimistic, but opted for a vest and skort combo:

 On the morning of the race, we were up early, had our breakfast and hopped into the car for the short drive to the ferry. It was as forecast: grey and miserable. Oh well! When we arrived at Claonaig, it was already busy, with quite a few cars already queued and waiting for the ferry to come in.

   When we arrived at Lochranza, the sky wasn’t as heavy, and the sun began to appear as we drove down to Brodick Castle. We parked up,and walked through the grounds of the castle to register and pick up our bibs. We were pleasantly surprised by the stalls that were set up: it was busier than we had expected! Apart from the pick up point there was a bar courtesy of the Douglas Hotel, a huge tombola stall, the local Co-op were also there. There was also a DJ, blasting out upbeat tunes. Perfect! When we picked up our packs, we had a lovely chat with the volunteers, and they were brilliant. I got a really great vibe about this event right away.

      By their organisation, I could tell this wasn’t their first rodeo (so to speak), everything was so, so well arranged and relaxed. Jog Scotty was sitting nearby, ready to greet the runners, which was cool!

We went back to the car to change, and then headed back to the start/finish line to enjoy the atmosphere. As we arrived, we could hear the skirl of the pipes, and the Isle of Arran pipe band was there. They were great, if a bit serious looking:

 We then had our group warm up with Jog Scotty, and a count down, and we were off!

Here’s a map of the race:

The race started with a lovely, fast downhill section towards the gate we had arrived through. But, of course, this meant that there was an almighty uphill facing us next as we turned at the gate and headed back. The day had really warmed up, and the sun was blazing as the race kicked off at 12.30. I had to walk for part of the hill section, and cursed my quick start. We then ran on, past the castle turn and onto a lovely flat section, which too soon became another down hill section towards the other gate. Just as we reached the second gate, @TheWelshWookie felt a pain in his calf. We stopped as he tried to stretch it out and then we walked some too, to see how it felt. We then continued on a jog/run back up the big hill. As we reached the 4k mark, he told me to just run on, so I ran the final part myself.

There were a few photo points, which I had fun at – gawd knows what the pictures will be like!

As I rounded the corner, the support ramped up, and as I crossed the line I was greeted by cheers and applause. It was fab! The marshaling was good – a couple of very supportive marshals were along the route. I appreciate the work they do even more now, so tried to thank them as I passed.

When I crossed the line, I collected my medal, my goody bag, a bottle of water, a banana and a fresh scone with jam and cream! Wowee!

I then chatted with the Marie Curie fundraiser, as we waited for @TheWelshWookie to cross the finish line: she gave me a cereal bar, too, so I got loads of stuff for such a small race.

Our stats: 35:30 or so. I forgot to switch off my watch as I crossed the line, so I accidentally added a minute or so to my time by accident. I was about 10 minutes slower than my PB, but -hey- I had fun!

The Medal: As part of the Jog Scotland series, it was a Jog Scotland medal

 Goody Bag: some awesome Arran Aromatics goodies, a water bottle, a voucher for a tub of local ice cream (I had mint choc chip, it was ace!), some local oatcakes, my scone with jam and cream, banana and water. I probably gained an extra pound with all of the foodie goodies!

    T-shirt: None, none needed.

We waited around, and watched the prize giving, as we ate our scone and enjoyed the sunshine.

When we got back to Lochranza, I ran another 2 miles while waiting for the ferry. I then ran another 2 miles when we got back to Claonaig. All in all, I manage to clock up my 7.5 miles scheduled for the day – and I have the sunburn to prove it! 😮

I also reached a magic milestone – I’ve now run 1,000 miles with Nike! Woopie! 😀

 I’d definitely do this run again, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for more races on Arran in future! 🙂

Running by the Crinan Canal

Running by the Crinan Canal

Tonight, @TheWelshWookie and I decided to mix up our running a little, by driving to Ardrishaig, and running part of the Crinan Canal towpath.


Today’s stats:

Run: 5 mile run. We did it at a gentle pace- I don’t want to run too hard before Monday!

Time: 55:03

Trainers: LunarFly GTX +3

Weather: Cloudy with sunny spells, warm

Best running track of the day: an old school track 😉

I had my new capris, with the running skirt attached, still to try out. I thought that a short, but-not-too-short, 5 miler was the perfect opportunity to try ’em out:


Ignore the packing and the suitcase in the background- I’m packing for Dublin! These were pretty cute, and really comfortable to wear. I thought that the skirt might be annoying, but I didn’t feel any difference, from running with capris. The fabric was soft, a little stretchy and very comfy. The skirt itself has a small pocket on each side, and a zipped pocket at the back. Very practical!

So, @TheWelshWookie and I drove the 12 or 13 or so miles to Ardrishaig, and parked up by the side of the canal. We started running just at these two locks:

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Isn’t it lovely? I must confess, this is the first time we’ve run along here, and I loved it! I’ll definitely be back to run here again. There are mile markers en route, which is really useful. The banks are well cared for, too.

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We passed some walkers, another runner, a few cyclists, some dog walkers and a horse and rider. Can you spot them in this pic I snapped while still running?


I have a question for any animal lovers out there, just because I’m clueless about these things I’d be interested to know: why is it that dog owners need to scoop their dog’s poop, or face a fine, yet horses just ‘drop and go’ and that’s OK? What’s the difference? :S

Anyhoo, we ran for 2.5 miles, then turned around and ran back. The scenery was lovely:

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After driving home, we popped out to our fave cafe for some dinner, and treated ourselves to an After Eight Sundae….. very naughty, but very delicious!


Today’s life lesson: a dish with bubbling cheese on it is likely to be hot, and burn the roof of your mouth. Ouch!

Have you changed up your running route recently?