Race The Past – The Glasgow Marathon (Andrew)

What do you do when you don’t have any races in the future? Run an old one instead!

The only races I have booked for this year are two races postponed from 2020: Celtman and the Caledonian Etape. With no guarantee either will take place and with no other races on the calendar I thought it would be fun to revisit some favourite races from previous years and run them myself. I’m also thinking that in a backwards year it would be fun to start at the finish and run them backwards too but I’m not sure my navigation skills are up for that. Whether forward or backward, the races would include:

  • Kirkintilloch 12.5k;
  • Glentress Trail Half Marathon;
  • Loch Leven Half Marathon;
  • The Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon; and
  • The Forth Road Bridge 10k.

But then I had another thought – why stop at running races I’ve ran before? I would like to support the organisers and clubs by running the races and paying my entry fee. It doesn’t quite feel right to run these races without giving something back.

Instead, I’ve started to look at races which don’t exist anymore and where I wouldn’t need to show any support to anyone as there is no one to support. Brilliant, I thought, before I realised that if the races don’t exist anymore then how am I going to find them or the routes to follow? That’s where this website became invaluable: http://www.scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot

Scottish Distancing Running History provides a great guide to old Scottish races and the runners who took part. From that I was able to find such races as the Princes Street Mile, the Glasgow to Edinburgh Relay and Scotland’s first mass participation marathon: the Inverclyde Marathon.

And from that I had an idea: as part of training for Celtman I should aim to run a marathon in April but as there are no marathons and we may still be in lockdown then why not run the old Glasgow marathon route, a race which was always ran at the end of March?

Glasgow Running Routes has plotted the marathon route

Between 1979 and 1988 the Glasgow Marathon was one of the biggest marathons in Scotland. It’s legacy continues today in the Great Scottish Run, which has started and finished in the same spots – George Square and Glasgow Green – and followed much of the second half of the race. It would be great to recreate it – though I’ll refrain from wearing a singlet, tiny shorts and sweatbands like every 80s runner.

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