Marshalling the MOK Half Marathon

Marshalling the MOK Half Marathon

2015 marked the 10th Anniversary of the fantastic Mull of Kintyre half marathon and 10k. Two years ago, I PBd at the 10k, and that PB still stands :). The lasting memory I have is of the fantastic support from the crowds and the marshals. @TheWelshWookie and I were signed up and training to run the half marathon this year, but due to a few issues we ended up withdrawing. Instead of being negative about it, though, we turned it into a positive and volunteered to marshal instead 😀 
So, at 9.30 this morning, we found ourselves in Campbeltown, at the Victoria Hall, being allocated our spot. As we walked to the hall, we enjoyed watching people set up:  

 Knowing that we might not get the chance to see the finish line later, I took a quick snap:  

 The actual finish was just past the war memorial, tucked just out of sight from the finishing straight. The organisation was great, the briefing was very professional and covered most issues:  

   The route begins and ends in the town centre, while the main race takes runners out of town, along West Port beach, past the world class Machrihanish golf course, Campbeltown Airport (one of the short listed sites for the UKs space port due to its massive runway) and back into town. Our point was just before mile 9, not long after the tough-on-the-legs beach section.

We stocked up on jelly babies before we set off, knowing that , with 1/3 to go, a sugar rush might just be what runners need 😉

Our spot was  great: we could watch the runners come along the main road just before mile 4, on their way out to the beach, long before they got to us. Here’s our view of the road: 

We were parked in a lay by, so I enjoyed taking some pics of the cows in the left hand field and the sheep in the right hand field:   

   Oops- the cows seem to have been a lil camera shy- sorry! 

Before we knew it, the leading runner was in sight, running the straight which was gently climbing up towards us:  

  the next couple of hours flew by, as we clapped, cheered, supported and offered jelly babies to the intrepid runners. The thanks, chats and support we received was incredible, and really humbling. All of the runners did so well.

All too soon, we were stood down and all marshals were invited back for complimentary coffee and Danish pastries. Never ones to turn down free food 😉  we made our way back to the finish line. The tent was busy, and everyone was in good spirits;   

  

 The pastries were soooo worth it!

We stayed for a short while, supporting runners as they crossed the finish line, while jealously eyeing up the medals and goody bags that could have been ours. Oh, well, there’s always next year 😉

We had a brilliant time, and can’t wait to run it again in 2016.

Volunteers and Marshals

Volunteers and Marshals

This weekend will be the third race in a row where I have marshaled or helped, rather than running. I’m really looking forward to it.

First, was the Inveraray Jail Break which was great fun, and very wet. Next was manning a checkpoint and crewing for Julia at the Kintyre Way ultra.

Sunday brings the fantastic Mull of Kintyre half marathon and10K. We are registered for the half, however life got in the way, training was derailed and so we’re marshaling instead. 

Volunteering to help has been a huge positive for me. My mojo has returned from its wee trek away, and I have a new found appreciation for race organisers and runners too. 

There’s a new campaign launched to highlight the need for volunteers, supporters and marshals, and it’s being supported by Jo Pavey: If you haven’t already, check out joininuk for more information.

If you’re running the MOK on Sunday, look out for me: I’ll have jelly babies, and plenty of vocal support! 😉 

The Inveraray Jail Break

The Inveraray Jail Break

I woke up early this morning: after yesterday’s paddle boarding escapades, I didn’t want to accidentally sleep in. I opened one eye, a little worried that the forecast snow may have arrived. I got up, peeped out of the window, and was surprised to see that it was only wet. Huh, yes, only wet.

@TheWelshWookie was already up, so we had breakfast and got ready for our morning of marshalling. I layered up: winter running tights, long sleeved running top, running socks……. And, no, I wasn’t actually running today! I added a fleece sweater, welly socks, water proofs, hat, scarf, gloves and wellies. We were out the door and on our way to Inveraray. 🙂

About an hour later, we arrived. We parked up, and finished getting ready. My outfit was completed with one of @TheWookie’s fluorescent work jackets- no one was going to miss us. The briefing was scheduled for 10am, so we made our way to Inveraray Jail. On the way we were stopped twice- once by someone who held up traffic just wanting to know what was going on, and then by a runner wanting to know about parking.

Here’s the start of the race, outside the jail: I should point out that the Jail is now a museum, which is well worth a visit. I’m sure I’ve shared pictures before 😉

Registration and briefings were held inside, which was just as well because the rain was torrential. We knew we were in for a soaking- but we were well prepared for that. 

 Fee, the wonderful race organiser (and jog Scotland leader, and cycling organiser, phew! Some how I missed taking a pic of her!) gave us our briefing, handing out emergency contact details and advice. Everything was so well organised: we even had a lift to our marshalling point!

Off we went, into cars, up to Inveraray Castle. We reached the marquee, and thought we’d be walking to our point. But, no, further transportation had been provided! There before us was a vehicle and trailer for us all to pile into! Now, I didn’t manage a proper picture of the actual vehicle, but it was like this, with a trailer attached. I think ours was bigger:  

We loaded up: I was in the trailer, and off we went! 😀 it was brilliant! I did remember then to take a quick snap: 

We were positioned at a gate, and were first to be dropped off. Here’s the wee truck as it left us, climbing upwards: 
We had around half an hour until the race started, so we had a good chat- in the rain- and got ready. Here’s our view- the runners came along the road in the distance before beginning their ascent: 

And, of course, I had time to pose 😉 

It was soon 11am, and only 6 minutes 30 seconds later the first runners were already reaching us, and we were well past the 2k mark. Wow! So impressive!

There were three races: one for full jail breakers, one for junior jail breakers and a kids race. The first two races came up past us- the full race made its way up to Dun Na Cuaiche, where they were rewarded with fabulous views and the skirl of the pipes 😀

Here’s Dun Na Cuaiche, from the finish- it’s at the top of the hill, I’m sure you can make it out: 

We really enjoyed being out there, supporting the runners. It was humbling, how many runners were working hard but still found time to smile or thank us :). Runners are a great bunch, aren’t they? 😉

Before we knew it, the runners were on their way back down. Everyone did so, so well. I was really surprised how quickly everyone was past us- both ways- up and down that hill. And I was so caught up that I didn’t take any photos of any runners – not one! Sorry about that!

We were then picked back up by the wee truck, and taken back down to the finish line at the Castle: 

Although we were a little cold and very wet, we had a great time. The marshals each had a goody bag, containing water, a cereal bar and some delicious home made tablet. Yum!
We grabbed a coffee, and walked back down towards the car park, ready to head home after going to church first.

Now that we’re back home, we’ve had a dip in the hot tub to thaw out, and we’re now enjoying a cuppa with that delish tablet.

 Thanks to Fee for such a great event!