Category Archives: Race Report

(Not A) Race Report from the Loch Leven Half Marathon 2023 (Andrew)

My throat is not the most important part of my body, when it comes to racing.

I’d pick my feet first, then legs, then arms and hands to pick up any water as I run. If I have feet, arms and legs, then I have the basics to be a runner because I never really think about the other parts of my body, except when they hurt. 

Over April and May, I couldn’t call myself a runner as I, unlike Danial Day Lewis, didn’t have a left foot. See last week’s entry. But, as my foot healed, I was looking forward to running the Loch Leven Half Marathon last weekend. It’s one of my favourite races and I’ve covered it before here and here

This year, in the run up, I was able to test my foot and, with no reaction, I was hopeful of running it again. 

Except my throat gave in. 

And, while I know, in theory, a throat is a vital part of running – and of living! – as we need to breathe through it; it’s not a part of my body I give much thought to when preparing to race. Perhaps, I should have. Last week, I had a niggly cold, decided that there’s nothing wrong with some outdoor swimming, and managed to swap a cold for a full on Vin Diesel impression (minus the baldy head, my hair didn’t fall out). 

So, for this year’s race report, I offer a spectator’s view only as Iain TwinBikeRun took part and I gave him a lift to the start.

And my report is one which can be summed up as: Kinross has a very nice EV charger. This year the race was held on closed road so it wasn’t possible to view the race while it was on. I charged my car instead in a park and ride. In terms of EV charging then I would give the Loch Leven Half Marathon 10 out 10. And in terms of starring in Fast & The Furious, I’d give my voice 10 out of 10. But, in terms of racing, I’d give my race 1 out of 10 and I look forward to coming back next year with a properly working set of feet, legs, arms and throat. 

Glentress Winter Trail Half Marathon 2022 Race Report (Andrew)

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how important it was to check the race route before running an event. The Glentree Winter Trail Half Marathon was one week after the Jimmy Irvine 10K and yet I hadn’t learnt my lesson at all. I didn’t check the route for this race either. I had assumed it would be the same as before. Big mistake.

There are two Glentress trail races. One in November and one in February. Both races have different routes. The November race involves six miles of climbing and then six miles of running back to the start. The February race involves NINE miles of climbing and then a steep three miles back to the start. I had assumed this race would start going downhill from 6 miles onwards, instead it kept climbing and climbing… the route had changed, and this was the same as the February race!

I don’t know why they changed it but, when you’re expecting to go downhill and have to climb another three miles, it’s not a fun realisation that you should have checked and prepared for it. My mistake. I can’t even say I wasn’t warned as I knew from the previous week that race routes can change. D’oh!

As for the race, it was slower than previous years as I was still running after illness and injury. I was pleased to finish in under 2 and half hours but I would have been a whole lot happier with six miles of climbing instead of nine.

For details on the race see these previous reports: Glentress and Glentress

Nigel Barge 10K (Andrew)

Back in 2016 I wrote a comprehensive report on the Nigel Barge 10k covering both its history and the course. At the time, I didn’t expect it would be another six years before I ran it again, but that’s Scottish weather and a pandemic for you. It’s been a tough few years to be running in January with either snow or rain or COVID acting as a pretty good deterrent to running around north Glasgow. This year, just like in 2016, I thought it would be good to get an early race in the legs and entered it again.

The route had a slight change as it was run completely on paths rather than having a short section cutting across grass. This was an improvement on 2016 as I remembered, and the re-reading the blog I can see it confirms, that there was a massive mud bath in the middle of the grass. This time, with paths, I didn’t have to throw my shoes straight into the washing machine.

Registration was straightforward and the route easy to follow with marshalls at all crossroads. The race starts in Garscube and then runs round and through Dawsholm park.

Dawsholm park is famous or infamous as the park most likely to be featured in an episode of Taggart whenever they find a dead body. It’s a popular spot for fictional serial killers but there was no police out when we went round. Also, no stabbings, as far as I could see, which was good. No one wants their run to be interrupted by a gangland revenge attack.

If you’re looking for a race to start the year then the Nigel Barge race is recommended. It’s popular, with nearly 400 entries, so you need to be quick to enter but, when you do, you can take comfort in a well run murder free race in North Glasgow.

Hyrox Glasgow Race Report 2023 Part 2 (Andrew)

How many sports are too many sports? Some people take part in just one sport. Some might try two and take part in a duathlon. Others will take part in three and enter a triathlon. After that, you’re in the realm of pentathlons, heptathlons and decathlons. But once you get more than three, you also get a rest between events, so was Jessica Ennis a true multi-sport athlete? She had her feet up for half the day! 🙂

And does a heptathlon have seven events or six? You run both the 200m and the 800m and in duathlon you also run twice (along with a bike ride) but it only counts as two events. If you repeat an event, even at a different distance, is it not the same event?

I ask this because Hyrox has either 16 events or 9. There are eight 1km runs between eight other events. Does each run count as a separate event or is it just one? Is Hyrox a novathlon or a sedecimthlon? I’m going with novathlon, just ’cause it sounds cooler (and is easier to pronounce)!

1km Run

First run was straightforward. It was two laps of the halls and the route was marked with fast and slow lanes to help separate people. But, it never really mattered as there was plenty of room to run at my own pace. The fact there were two laps gives plenty of opportunities for spectators to see you. And at this point, admire your fast and sleek running style.

1km Ski (on Concept2 SkiErg)

Each station is marked with a large easy to spot number so it’s easy to find where you need to go. The machines are set at ‘6’ but you can change this as long as you do it before you start and not halfway through. I’d never used a SkiErg before so, rather than, you know, practice, I just watched a YouTube video instead and tried to remember how it showed how to use the machine. There is also machines in the practice area before the start so you have a go there too in case you’ve forgotten to watch the video.

1km Run

Back out and I realise there’s a large screen showing the names of everyone on the track as they pass. The screen helpfully tells you what event you’re doing next and whether you’re on lap 1 or 2.

50m Sled Push (150kg)

I was dreading this one. I had no idea whether I could push 150kg. I hadn’t practiced (which you can take as read now for all the other events too!) and had only watched a video to see the technique required. This was a struggle.

1km Run

Rubbery legs now before…

50m Sled Pull (120kg)

I didn’t watch the video for this one! Whoops! You have rope to pull and a small box marked on the ground to stand in. I thought you couldn’t move in the box so struggled to pull the sled without moving my feet. I was leaning back to try and use my weight to help but it was a tough challenge to complete the first 12.5m pull until Iain TwinBikeRun, who was in the next lane, told me I could move me feet. After that it was a lot easier to pull as I could walk backwards through the box.

1km Run

Jelly legs now before…

80m Burpee Broad Jump

What the blimey! I have never burpeed (is this a word?) before. I saw it on a video and thought it looked easy. How wrong I was! You have to lie on the ground, stand back up. Jump. Repeat. If felt like I wasn’t moving at all. Every time I laydown, I didn’t want to get back up. Awful. Though one of the judges said “nice technique” which was good to hear especially as Iain TwinBikeRun was sent back twice for getting it wrong. What a berk-ee!

1km Run

Hallelujah. At least I’m not burpee-ing (is this also a word?).

1km Row (on Concept2 Rower)

I’ve used a rowing machine many times and 1km is straightforward. This was the closest I got to a rest.

1km Run

By this point I realised that I was one of the faster runners. I’m not fast but there was definitely more gym competitors than runners on the course.

200m Kettle Bells Farmers Carry (24kg)

This was tough on the shoulders but not too bad. The main thing here is to make sure to use lots of chalk on your hands to stop any sweat on the handles as any sweat makes the kettle bells harder to carry.

1km Run

Second last run and I was feeling okay as I’d not used my legs for a while.

100m Sandbag Lunges (12kg)

So, let’s destroy those legs with alternate lunges while carrying a sandbag. Again, not a difficult task once you get into a rhythm but you do feel it when you get to…

1km Run

The final run. Legs gubbed but at least it’s the last one.

100 reps Wall Balls (6kg)

Before you face the misery of throwing a ball against a high target 100 plus times. I say ‘plus’ because if you don’t hit the right target then the throw doesn’t count. I found this out as I was keeping track of the numbers along with the judge (who has a number clicker to keep track) and I counted 20 and he had 18. By the time I was at 90 he was at 80 and I’m sure I threw the ball 110 times before he said I’d complete the 100.

This is a tough end to the race. The 100 balls seem to go on forever and I only got through this one as Iain TwinBikeRun said “remember to ask for the box” when we entered the station. The box is a handy seat that you sit on before standing and throwing. The box ensure that you squat down correctly. You can squat without the box but why would you give up a handy seat to rest on too??!?! 🙂

About halfway through, my judge said “you’re 10 ahead of your brother, you’re not going to let him win, are you?”. I wasn’t so I made sure to keep ahead so I could be first to the…

Finish line

A proper ramp. A congratulations and a banana. What more do you need for a finish?


I enjoyed this one. The variety keeps it entertaining. The venue is big enough to ensure there’s no bunching on either the run or at any of the stations, and small enough to make it easy for spectators to keep up with the action.

Hyrox Glasgow Race Report 2023 – Part 1 (Andrew)

It’s said the triathlon was invented as a sport when three sailors, one a strong swimmer, another a strong runner and a third, a strong cyclist, devised a race in which they would all evenly compete against each other.

Hyrox is also a multi-sport race but unlike triathlon it has three times as many sports – nine to triathlon’s three. Unlike triathlon it was designed to be a multi-sport rather than a result of a drunken naval bet. Though it would make a great story if it had started after nine people got into an argument over who was best.

But what are the events? And how does it compare to triathlon?

Last month, TwinBikeRun entered the Glasgow edition of Hydrox and this is my report.

What is Hyrox?

It’s a multi-sport event which takes place indoors in an arena. The sports are:

1km Run

1km Ski (on Concept2 SkiErg)

1km Run

50m Sled Push (102kg – 202kg*)

1km Run

50m Sled Pull (78kg – 153kg*)

1km Run

80m Burpee Broad Jump

1km Run

1km Row (on Concept2 Rower)

1km Run

200m Kettle Bells Farmers Carry (16kg – 32kg*)

1km Run

100m Sandbag Lunges (10kg – 30kg*)

1km Run

100 / 75* reps Wall Balls (4kg – 9kg*)

* weights (and reps for wall balls) vary by category

(And, which, if you’re counting, is 16 events, however as you run eight time I’ve included it as one sport when I said there were nine sports to race.)

What was registration like?

Very straightforward. You’re sent a QR code in advance. Registration only took a few minutes and you’re given a chip timer, an athlete band and band for your bag to store in the bag drop. Spectators can also register and pay to enter too. Though at £11.50 your spectators may want you to put on a show to justify the high cost!

How do you get ready?

The course was set up in one of the halls of the Scottish Exhibition Centre. It was easy to access and everything was signposted – except for the changing rooms, as there wasn’t any!

This is your first challenge: where to change when there’s no changing room. I asked a steward and he pointed me to the largest toilet, which was fine, if unconventional. I didn’t expect my first challenge of Hyrox would be to change from jeans to shorts in a toilet cubicle.

How’s the start?

Before you start there’s a warm up area with exercise bikes and machines and weights to replicate every event. This was useful as I’d not practiced any of the events beforehand. I was worried that I would struggle on the sled push and pull. I thought I might even struggle to move it, never mind complete it. But, having a practice, I realised that while it was tough, it wasn’t going to be impossible. It gave me some confidence that I wasn’t starting something I wouldn’t be able to finish.

10 minutes before your start time you get access to the start pen. Loud music and inspirational videos play on TV screens. A number of men take their t-shirts off and strip to the waist. Why? I have no idea. But, Hyrox does seem to attract a large minority of competitors who race in just their shorts. I think they don’t have a full kit because they struggled in the loo to get changed. That can be the only explanation…

A 10 minute countdown ends and we’re off!

What’s it like for spectators?

Mrs TwinBikeRun had a pram with her and was able to get around most of the stations very easily. There was a couple that were difficult to access because of the way they were set out in the arena but most were easy to access and easy to see me. I thought it was great that she was always able to get a spot beside us but she said there was no secret to that: she said: “Who else would want to stand beside you?”

And she was right, the stations are spaced out so that not only does every competitor have their own space, but so do the spectators as each spectator is only watching one person too.

What’s the event like?

I’ll cover that next week. Let’s just say that there’s a reason Hercules stopped at 12 tasks. He was knackered. But while we had nine sports, there were 16 tasks and even Hercules would have had second thoughts of completing that many.

Part 2 next week

Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon 2022 (Andrew)

The Balloch to Clydebank half marathon was one of Scotland’s least scenic races. Previously it started in Balloch; ran through the worst parts of Renton and Vale of Leven; popped into Dumbarton before running along the side of the A82; passed the betting shops of Bowling and Kilpatrick; and through an industrial estate in Clydebank before finishing at the bins of the Clydebank shopping centre.

Over the years it has improved. It moved the start to Loch Lomond, it swapped Renton and Vale of Leven for the Dumbarton canal but it always finished at the bins. Until this year. Or, technically, until 2020 as this was the postponed 2020 race which had been cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, for the first time, the race finished beside one of the Clyde cranes in a newly re-developed area on the banks of the Clyde. We barely even passed a betting shop. A big change.

Unfortunately, while the race was improved, my time had not. I made two mistakes with this race. The first was to turn up at the start line in the wrong shoes. I had my trainers in the car but I forgot to change into them when I collected my race number in Clydebank and jumped on a bus provided by the organisers to get to the start line. Instead of running in nicely cushioned trainers I had to run in trainers with all the bounce of a brick wall.

Secondly, to make the race even harder, I was running after bruising my ribs two days before. Every time I swung my arms, my chest complained. Every time I took a step, my chest complained. Ouch.

Luckily, the new route is straightforward and very flat for most of the race so I was able to settle into a slow rhythm and get round without any yelps of pain.

The race normally takes place in March but was moved to September as it has been cancelled a number of times due to bad weather in early Spring, including one year when it was snowing. The change of date meant there were fewer people running so, if you’re thinking of a race late in the season, then do think of this one. It’s a great race, well organised, and it’s doesn’t end at a bin (any more)!

Hebrides Triathlon 2022 Race Report (Iain)

Glasgow Triathlon Club at the Hebrides Triathlon

This was the 6th edition of the Hebrides Triathlon – the most remote triathlon in the UK. It’s as far north and west as you can go in the UK before you reach Canada.

I’ve done 5 of the races. I think it has rained at every one. This year was no exception!

It’s also the best value race in the UK as it’s only £36 to enter. £12 for each event is a bargain.


The swim course was two laps of a triangular course. Each side of the triangle was approximately 250m.

The water was warm (17C) but it was windy which caused the water to be choppy. The safety team said that they would make the sighting easier by placing people on SUPs halfway between each buoy. But I think they struggled to stay in position due to the wind as whenever I looked for one they were well off course. I ignored them and sighted on the bouys instead,

About half way round I noticed a swimmer with a bright orange wet suit. They seemed to be sighting well and were going at a similar pace. So, as they were easy to spot, I followed them to the end. It was only when I got out that I realized it was a friend of mine. Thanks Paul for the pull!

This is one of the worst pictures of me that I have ever seen. I look about 20 years older than I am!


The bike route is an out and back undulating route to the Callanish Stones. Normally a fierce wind either blows you there or back. One year it took 60 minutes to do the out but only 30 minutes to do the back.

I haven’t done much biking since Celtman due to a dose of Covid so I took my TT bike to the race. My thinking was that I might be slow but at least it won’t be the bikes fault.

I decided to use a new tactic for the race. Instead of wearing tri gear or bike gear I changed into my running gear with the thought that I’d gain the time back by jumping off my bike at the end of and just head straight out onto the run course.

The first 6 miles were straight into a strong headwind. Which thankfully eased off as I the road turned more south. It was a struggle out to the Stones. But thankfully it was easier on the way back.

At one point a man passed me on the other side of the road heading back to the start. I thought he couldn’t possibly be in the race as there was no way he’d be that far ahead of me. He was. He was super quick.

When I mentioned this to folk afterwards I discovered that everyone else had thought the same. Some people even thought he must have taken a wrong turn to get back to the start so soon.

My aim was to do it in less than 90 minutes and I managed it in 85 minutes.


The run starts by going straight up a small hill. I started running and immediately felt very heavy. My first thought was I must have eaten too much whilst spending the previous week at my mum’s house eating my mum’s baking.

I’d done a lot during the week leading up to the race, which meant my running motivation/energy was very low. I aimed to run 5K and then evaluate from there how fast/slow to do the last 5k.

I’ve also had an achilles problem since before the Celtman race. Which combined with my dose of Covid meant the only run I’d done in 10 weeks was the Celtman run.

If this all sounds like excuses for a rubbish time then it is! It wasn’t because I’ve been lazy in the last month and only watched TV and drank beer. Honest.

The less said about the run the better.


As per usual the food at the end was top quality. delicious soups, sandwiches and cakes.

At the prize giving it was a surprise to discover that three members of my tri club had won a prize. The only person not to get one? Me!

Maybe next year.

Loch Leven Half Marathon 2022 (Iain)

How much trail is on the Loch Leven Half Marathon?

Before the race, I was asked this by two different people. Both were very disappointed when I said “none, its a road race!”

I think people assume its a trail race because there is a nice walking route around the Loch. But it is actually mostly on roads. There is a sneaky little bit of trail right at the end but not much.

The route is an anti-clockwise loop around Loch Leven. I’ve ran the course clock wise and anti clock wise. I did it anti-clockwise the year Andrew I turned up and realized we’d forgotten to enter! We didn’t want to cheat and run with the official runners so went the opposite way instead.

How difficult is it to run a circle in reverse? It turns out it was very difficult. We took a wrong turn and ran 16 miles instead of 13. At one point we ran across a farmers muddy field whilst it was pouring with rain. Considering its a 100% road race I’m not sure how we ended up in a field!

The race race registration and finish line is the local school campus. It was then a near two mile walk to the start line. Some races start in beautiful locations, this one doesn’t. It was side street next to some industrial units.

A woman walked up and down the road shouting at everyone “keep off the road” but it was too little avail. As soon as she passed everyone moved back onto the road.

I was desperate for the loo so I decided to stand in a long queue and see if I could make it to the front before the race started. To succeed at this, , the key is to hold my nerve. As the race gets closer more and more people abandon the queue. I bet that if I held on long enough most people would have left and I’d get a cubicle.

I was correct. Most people left when there was only a couple of minutes left to the start.

The first part of the race is on a partially closed road. Even though it was cloudy it was very warm. I felt good but I was planning on biking for 5 hours the next day so i didn’t push too hard.

The picture does not do justice too how hot and sweaty I was.

The main hill is half way around. Annoyingly this was also the hottest and windiest bit of the course. The wind was against me. Normally i like running up hills but it felt like hard work.

Andrew kicked and left me with about a mile to go. I didn’t have any power so I didn’t even try to keep up. I ended up finishing about 30 seconds behind him.

My aim was sub 1hr 45 min. I did that…just!

Andrew and I at the finish line. I’m 30 seconds behind him.

Kirkintilloch 12.5k 2020 Race Report (Andrew)

It’s winter, it’s windy, but that’s weather. Or at least it was until last year when the Met Office started to name its storms. Now, it’s not weather, it’s an event. And this year’s Kirkintilloch 12.5k had a hell of a lot of event…

The Kirkintilloch 12.5k has been our first race for a few years now – you can read some of the previous reports here and here. It’s longer than a 10k, so feels more of a challenge, and it has more ups and downs than a 90s raver, including almost a mile uphill to start, which is a shock first thing in the morning. Races should start downhill, or at worst, a flat. Running uphill to start is just cruel. If you start uphill then you should call your race an ultra, even if the rest is flat. It’s fair warning.

Along with the race conditions there’s the challenge of finding a car parking space as the start line is next to a main road into Kirkintilloch and there’s not a lot of room on the streets nearby to park. Saying that, it’s always a busy race with many club runners (resplendent in their new singlets) and just-get-rounders sharing the start line, so everyone must come by the Kirkintilloch canal to get there.

This year, there was a new challenge: the weather. The race was held right in the middle of Storm Dennis and 50mph winds swept the course. I don’t mind running in bad weather, if you’re wet, you’re wet. You can’t get wetter than wet no matter what Bon Jovi might sing. And wind is okay, as long as it’s behind you. If it’s behind you, you can fly. Unfortunately, we were running a loop so not only were we flying, we were also being pushed back so hard we ended up in Ireland.



Race route: First mile is uphill, the next three are up and down until you reach Woodilee village where you turn and then run up a slope steeper than the north face of the Eiger, before taking another road home until the final 2 km when you reverse the climb back to the start and finish with a nice one mile downhill race to the finish.

Finishing bag: It was the 15th anniversary of the race and there was a special commemorative mini towel (as shown above) instead of a medal. A chocolate biscuit and a bottle of water were also handed out at the finis.

I’m not sure of a towel as a commemoration. It was the 50th anniversary of the the creation of heavy metal last week but no one gave Ozzy Osbourne a soft plump towel to commemorate the first Black Sabbath album. Towels are for beaches and pretending to be Roman. In a race, a towel is what you thrown in disappointment when you quit during it, not what you get at the end when you should be celebrating.

Kirkintilloch 12.5K (Iain)

The Kirkintilloch 12.5k is an “undulating” course – 12 hills in 12 KM. I prefer to call it a course with 12 downhills in 12 KM’s. That sounds less fearsome. Similarly, Mount Everest sounds better when described as a long walk down.

This weekend saw Storm Dennis batter Scotland. If you ever get bored, Google your name and the word “storm” and find out if you were a force to be reckoned with or a bit of a damp squib.

Storm Iain has formed a few times but each time has been deemed “not a threat” or “unlikely to amount to anything.” Which is pretty similar to what it says about me in my school report card.

Andrew on the other hand became a Hurricane which killed many people. It was so destructive the name Andrew has been struck from the Storm naming guide!

The race is one of my favourite events. Today was probably the hardest conditions to run it. The wind from Storm Dennis was bitterly cold and very strong. Thankfully there was no rain or it would have been horrific.

I’d spent the day before running a 15 mile stretch of the Fife coastal path so I wasn’t expecting a PB. A woman at the start told me she’d thought the race was going to be cancelled so had spent the night before drinking wine until 2AM. She woke up at 4AM and she couldn’t get back to sleep due to the wind rattling her roof. I was impressed she made it to the start line.

The race started and I was able to run a steady pace alongside Andrew but I knew that if he decided to go faster I wouldn’t be able to match him.

He waited until 500m to go and then sprinted off. I didn’t try to catch him. I was pleased to finish in just under an hour. Which was much faster than I thought I’d manage.

The first hill