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!

Race Report: Zombie Night Run

Race Report: Zombie Night Run

Date: 19th October 2013

Profile: Hilly

Terrain: Trail

Weather: Raining!

Website: Zombie Night Run

Positives: great fun run, brilliant support from marshals and other runners

Negatives: the weather, no medal, cost

This was our first ever obstacle race, and @TheWelshWookie and I had planned our outfits far more than we had planned the run itself!

My sister-in-law, Janice, transformed us into zombies, and she did a great job:

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We arrived at Helensburgh Rugby Club with plenty of time to spare, before registration opened, and so we were able to use the WCs before most people arrived, and watched the end of the rugby:


As soon as we were able to, we signed our disclaimer forms and collected our bibs:


And then soaked up the atmosphere. We had our photos taken with quite a few of the other runners: these are a couple from the ZNR FaceBook Page:

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I wore my base layer compression top, and long running tights with my Nike LunarFly GTX trainers. I don’t have a pre-race gear check pic 😦

The facilities at the start/finish were good, with runners having full access to the changing and shower facilities. if I knew then how much these were needed…… more of that later! There was music playing, and the runners, both zombies and survivors, were milling about, chatting and taking photos. There was a mix of runners who were, and weren’t wearing fancy dress.

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The race was due to start at 5.30pm, but we were told that there would be a short delay. At around 5.45, we were asked to enter an enclosed area for the pre-race briefing and warm up. As the ground was a little marshy, people (us included) were trying to find dry-ish areas. Turns out that was just daft!

The ‘survivors’ were then asked to head to the start line, and they headed off, with a five minute head start. Each survivor had a belt with two ‘life tags’, and the zombies were supposed to chase down the survivors, and take a life tag. After what seemed like forever, we were allowed to go; and we entered the forest in a cloud of dry ice- very atmospheric!

After only a couple of minutes, we were towards the back of the pack, but those in front of us took a wrong turn, and before we knew it we were leading the zombies! Of course, this only lasted for a few minutes, before we were swiftly overtaken!

The rain had just started as we began running, and the grass was wet and slippery. The light was beginning to fade, and I realised that this was going to be great fun! We reached our first obstacle, and had to crawl under a bridge, into a river, under a cargo net and up the muddy riverbank. Only then did I remember that I had my iPhone in my waistpack, and I was soaked through! Fortunately, my phone was OK!

So, even in the first kilometre my feet were squelching and I was dripping wet. We ran up a farm track, in the mud, where we were joined by a cow on the path! At the top of the muddy track was a large bog which we had to cross, and I managed to get my left leg well and truly stuck- fortunately I was able to drag myself out, and the next part of the race was through the dark forest, which was really, very muddy.

Some parts of the course were in complete darkness. Other parts of the race were lit with glow sticks, or had strobe lighting. It was slow going, but so much fun. On more than one occasion, I found myself hugging trees for dear life!

The marshals were excellent, they were very supportive and really encouraged us to keep going and kept us in character!

There were two water stops on course, with jelly babies at both, which was ideal, as much of the ‘race’ was walking, or wading through mud!

Towards the end of the run, I was able to pick up some speed, and run along a forest track road. Despite the squelching and the mud, I managed an OK pace! At around this time, the rain started to fall, really heavily, which didn’t help with visibility or the conditions; but added to the atmosphere.

At the last kilometre, we had to wade through a burn, which was icy cold. I couldn’t stop smiling! And there was one final surprise in store- a series of hay bales to climb over and cargo nets to clamber under. Fortunately, @TheWelshWookie was able to give me a shove over the hay bales: I’ll really need to work on my upper body strength! Finally, we crossed the finish line.

I’m happy to report that we finished ahead of several survivors, even though we didn’t get any life tags.

We then had to give our numbers, to make sure that all runners made it across the finish line!; and we were given our goody bags. We then grabbed our dry clothing and headed to the clubhouse to change.

Here’s the map of the race:

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The goody bag was OK: a biscuit, a snack bar, a Buff sticker and tattoo and a bottle of water:


There as an after-run party which I’m sure was fantastic. We had planned on going, but I had a baby shower to go to and so we couldn’t stay for the party. Maybe next year!


I have two bruised and scraped knees, but I survived!

Here’s a short video clip:

My Stats:

Time: 1:35:42, but I came up a little short on distance.

The Medal: There was no medal, though I was sure that the website did originally say there was going to be one. Maybe I dreamed that.

Goody Bag: a paper bag which was sodden in seconds, with a biscuit, a snack bar, a bottle of water and a Buff tattoo and sticker.

T-shirt: a black technical T shirt. The design is good, but it was only available in men’s large, which was a little disappointing.

This run was a little on the expensive side, given that there was no medal or choice of t shirt size, but brilliant fun.

There are some great pics on Dougie Coull’s Website you should check them out!

Tomorrow’s Run: ZNR

Tomorrow’s Run: ZNR

Happy Friday!

Tomorrow, @TheWelshWookie and I are running the Zombie Night Run UK.


This is our first obstacle race, and I’m both excited and nervous about it!

The run is set in woodland in Helensburgh, and we’ve been told to be prepared for water, bogs and obstacles 😮

It’s an 8K run, and the first 3K is uphill, so I’m not going to even think about, or worry about time. Hills are all relative.

We could choose whether we want to run as ‘survivors’ or ‘zombies’: we’ve signed up as zombies, as I’m not sure I could cope with the thought of being chased through a dark forest at night! The race kicks off at dusk, so around 5.30pm. The survivors set off with a 5 minute head start and us zombies need to chase the survivors, and attempt to cross the finish line with a ‘life tag’ from a survivor.


I’ll be happy just to finish at all! 😉

Fancy dress is encouraged, so I’m running as a zombie doctor, and @TheWelshWookie is running as a zombie chef. My sis-in-law, Janice, is doing our make up for us, otherwise we’d end up looking like a couple of crazy clowns if I did it!

I’ll post pics….. if I dare!

Race Report: CowalFest 5K Trail Run

Race Report: CowalFest 5K Trail Run

Date: 12th October 2013

Profile: Hilly

Terrain: Trail

Weather: Cloudy, and cool

Website: CowalFest

Positives: relaxed event, well organised, good & supportive marshalls, fab goody bag

Negatives: I missed hearing the pre-race instructions

This race was the first ever CowalFest running event held as part of CowalFest, which is held every October celebrating walking and the great outdoors! This was our first ever, proper trail race, and so we opted to sign up for the 5K rather than the 10K event.

@TheWelshWookie and I left in plenty of time, as we had an hour and a half’s drive ahead of us, and we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time before hand. as the traffic can be slow.

We managed to get there with plenty of time to spare, so we registered and collected our bibs, and then soaked up the atmosphere while debating whether to wear jackets or not!

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It was a cold, fresh day, but we knew that we’d warm up when the run started. As I was wearing my brand-new birthday jacket 😉 I opted to keep it on.

Here’s my pre-race gear check pic:

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The facilities at the start/finish were great. Benmore Gardens, the location of the race, has a lovely coffee shop, and so toilet facilities were better than the usual portaloo! The staff had set up an outdoor sales area, with tea, coffee and snacks available for runners and supporters. It was great!

The race was due to start at 1.30pm, and about five minutes before, we all walked towards the start area. The 10K runners were asked to keep to the front of the group, with the 5K runners further back, which made sense. There wasn’t a loud speaker, and in the beginning, I could hear what was being said. Then, after about 30 seconds or so, the people to my left started talking and laughing, which meant that @TheWelshWookie and I couldn’t hear a thing. Nice one – so thoughtful!


Not only did I miss the briefing, but I actually missed the start of the race! 😮 People headed off, and so I was playing catch-up early on. I pressed the button on my Sport+ watch, and ran!

After we settled into the run, we decided to increase our pace slightly, as we were running well. That was until we reached THE HILL. Never having run here before, I had overheard other runners talking about The Hill, but I thought I’d wait and see it for myself. It was a long, winding monster of a hill! I managed to run for the first third of it or so, and then I power walked the best I could to the top of it. I was pretty out of breath!


The downhill was amazing, though, the view was great (sorry about the finger in the pic!):


I did take it easy, as I was a little worried about slipping on the shale. But I didn’t. 😉

Next, in the middle part of the race, was an out and back section, which was great: I saw that there weren’t many runners ahead of me who were running the 5K, and so my confidence grew a little. I ran a little faster (having recovered from the hill) and began picking off other runners.

In the final part of the race, I just ran. It felt great, I was really enjoying myself, and I picked off another three or four girls heading into the final stretch.

I had a couple of false finishes, though! I came around one corner, and saw a large group cheering, including my sister and three nephews. I assumed that was the finish line, and slowed down! People then started shouting ‘keep going’ and, literally, ‘this isn’t the finish line!’ lol!

I then reached the start area, and thought that I must have missed the actual finish, so again I slowed, and jogged over to the goody bags (priorities, and all that!) when I realised that I hadn’t quite reached the finish line for a second time! Doh!

I had a quick chat with the race officials, told them how much I had enjoyed the race, and then @TheWelshWookie finished.

The whole event was very relaxed, well run, and I loved it, even the big hill. I’d love to do this one again!

The gardens were beautiful:

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Here’s the map of the race:

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The goody bag was really great: I love the reusable bag. Here’s the contents of it:


As the 5K was a fun run, it was untimed. BUT- I placed! I was the third female home! Yay! I’ve never placed before, and will probably never place again, so I’m going to enjoy this for a long time!


It was a great run!

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My Stats:

Time: 30:02, but I came up a little short on distance.

The Medal: I was glad to have one, and it was engraved


Goody Bag: reusable tote bag with a lovely logo, 9bar, water, an orange, jelly beans and some great money off vouchers from local businesses including Portavadie Marina and Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.

T-shirt: no t shirt, but we didn’t expect one, given the entry fee.

I’m hoping that this run will be a regular feature!

CowalFest 5K: Done!

CowalFest 5K: Done!

Well, we’ve had a fantastic trail run today: the weather was perfect!
I’ll post a full race report later, but there was A HILL. A MEGA HILL.

Right now, we’re watching Harry Potter with my nephews 🙂


A Ridiculous Run

A Ridiculous Run

I’ve entitled this post ‘A Ridiculous Run’ for two main reasons:

1. Some of the hills we tackled today were so steep, it was ridiculous:

2. I went out, looking nothing short of ridiculous!

After such a lazy day yesterday, I was looking forward to getting out in the fresh air, and blowing away some of the cobwebs. Also, I wanted to run, in honour of fellow running blogger 278toBoston’s first ever marathon, which he is running today.

@TheWelshWookie had a complete moment of madness, and suggested that, instead of running our usual route, we should go off road, and run one of the trails behind Tarbert Castle. It sounded like a great idea!

I started with an espresso, though:


We decided to run with camelbaks, instead of using hand held water bottles. And it was raining. So I’m sure that I’ll have drawn some weird looks!


Instead of heading straight for the Castle, we decided to tackle my nemesis from the TT10K: Big Brae. So, we did. And we ran up most of it. Result! We then ran/walked the blue route, which takes in some of the steeper hills along the trail.


We ran up the hills, and walked some of the straight and downhill sections, to make the most of the day. It was tough, but in a good way!

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Some of the viewpoints along the way give some great views down towards the village.

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We ran past the Millennium Cairn, where is was particularly muddy today, due to the rain. It actually felt great, to be caked in mud for a change! Weird, huh?

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I need to admit that the final mile and a half was virtually all walking: the downhill sections were pretty steep, and I don’t have great balance at the best of times. But, we got out there, and we did it!

And the heather was blooming:


Here’s a map of my run today:


When I returned home, I caught up on 278toBoston’s progress: marathon done in 4:14:32 – amazing! Well done, what an achievement! I hope that some of the cooler air from here made its way over to you 😉

Today’s Stats:

Run: 4 mile trail run/walk

Weather: cloudy, with both rain showers and sunny spells

Trainers: LunarFly GTX +3

Favourite Running Track of the Day:

Today’s Life Lesson: sometimes the tough runs are the ones you enjoy most!

What do you find yourself thinking about when you run?