I have trained at Loch Katrine for many years. It is a stunning location in the Trossachs and an extremely challenging run. I had often thought that it would make a superb venue for an event, but never once thought that I would be the organiser.
On Saturday I headed out to combine my weekly long run with some route marking. As long runs go, it was perhaps not the best: what with the regular stop starting as I painted the road; and the neglected food and water in my pack because I was so engrossed in what I was doing. However, there was an added sense of achievement as I chipped away at the hills and marked off the miles, race turn points and water stations.
The reality struck home: I was a Race Director! I have of course been handling the planning of this event for several months: online entry; medals, race numbers, water, mile markers, marshals. But as I trotted along the road the event started to come to life and I realised how much the route was going to influence each runner’s experience.
Would they love this place the way I do? Would they enjoy the landscape and views; the quiet; the smell of the earth and plants; the challenge of the relentless inclines? Well planned logistics are all good and well, but ultimately it would be the course that would influence the experience most.
In all the years that I have run at Loch Katrine I have never seen another runner. That changed on Saturday. I saw a figure running along the road towards me! Suddenly there were mixed feelings. What was I doing, sharing my secret haven?
Of course I stopped and enquired, and, yes, he and the friends a little way behind him were up to train on the race route. I had to know, how did they rate it? What were their thoughts? Would I be disappointed if they did not like it? I chatted briefly with each of the group as we passed on the road and again in the café when I got back to the pier. They had enjoyed their day, and the challenges of the route. Yes, it was going to be a tough marathon, but what an amazing location, what a great place to run.
So a secret no more: but the joy of a pleasure shared, and the mutual glow of acknowledgement of a hard run and a good effort.
My husband’s reaction as we left: you do know you have created a monster?
Yes, as marathons go, this will be a bit of a behemoth, but a beautiful one.