Kirkintilloch 12k (Andrew)

Most folk know the story of why a marathon is 26.2 miles. In 1908, the organisers of the London Olympics had planned a 26 mile race but, at the last minute, Queen Alexandra asked them to move the start to the gardens of Windsor Castle so the royals could see the race begin and the end to right in front of the royal box so they could see the winner cross the line. That added an extra point two to the race.

Not that 26 miles was the right distance to begin with. The marathon was first run in the 1896 Olympic Games in Greece in honour of the myth of Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver the good news of an improbable Greek victory over the Persian army.

Pheidippides ran the entire 25 miles from Marathon to Athens. After he announced ‘Victory!’ to the awaiting Greeks, he collapsed from exhaustion and died. Probably because he forgot to wear any clothes. Or trainers.

So, the 1896 race became the Marathon in honour of the town and the distance was set at 25 miles to replicate his achievement. Before it then became 26 miles – presumably because no one died the next time they ran it and they wanted to keep making it longer until someone did. Sadists! Thank the lord for Queen Alexandra putting a stop to it all!

(This explanation may not be true but, as I can’t find any other reason, it’s as good as any!)

Last week we ran the Kirkintilloch 12k, which isn’t a 10k and presumably has an equally inspiring story of why they’ve added an extra point two to the race. Except… I can’t find one. So, I’m just going to make it up.

The Kirkintilloch 12k used to be 10k after Shug McGlinty ran between Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch to celebrate Clyde FC finally winning a match against East Stirling. Just like Pheidippides he was stark naked and, just like him again, he died when he reached the end because, well, Scotland in February. I don’t go out without at least a scarf, gloves, woolly jumper, bobble hat and a three bar heater.

The original route was 10k but, when they ran the race for the first time, Queen Elizabeth lived in a semi detached beside the finish line and she wanted to see the winner while she prepared toast for Prince Philip in the morning.

Hence, the Kirkintilloch 10k became the Kirkintilloch 12k and we have a unique race on the Scottish running scene.

Or, if you don’t believe that story, here’s another one: just try running it. The Kirkintilloch 12k has 12 hills in 12 kilometres, which is clearly 11 too many. However, it is well named, with its extra point two, because it does make you feel like you’ve run a marathon as, just like Pheidippides, you’ll want to keel over at the end! 🙂

Kirkintilloch 12.5K 2018 (Andrew)

There are two types of runners. There are runners who park beside the start line and then there’s runners who park on Mars – to give themselves a bit more of a challenge by running 55 million kilometres as ‘warm up’.

I’m a runner who parks beside the start line. If I had a choice, I’d park on the start line. Warming up is just wasted energy after all. Why run before you need to run?!?

Now, some people – coaches, athletes and professionals – will tell you that warming up is an essential part of the whole running experience. If you don’t warm up then your muscles are cold and stiff and more likely to break. But those people – those experts – have clearly never had warm up in Scotland in January when it’s cold and wet and miserable and the thought of spending 30 seconds stretching each hamstring is as enticing as sharing a hot tub with Donald Trump.

Scotland is not a country for warming up. It’s a country for running as fast as you can out your front door until you run as fast as you can back in your front door and straight into a hot shower.

Which is what I wanted to do after Kirkintilloch 12.5K.

The Kirkintilloch 12.5 is a hilly circuit around the edge of Kirkintilloch on mostly old farm roads. It’s also one of the most exposed races with the top of every hill giving the freezing cold winds a good 50 mile standing start to breeze right through you.

It also doesn’t help that there’s very few car parking spaces near the start so, before the race, there was also a battle between the runners who like to park next to the start line to actually park next to the start line. Most failed.

We saw quite a few running a mile along the road from the centre of Kirkintilloch to the edge of the town, where the race started.

Luckily, we found a spot on a side street not far from the start as otherwise who knows what might have happened if we’d had to run before we ran. (We’d have probably run round faster as we were warmed up but that’s beside the point!)

The race itself featured a cold wind, some ice on the side of the road and a Penguin biscuit at the finish line. It also had a few sharp wee hills and a couple of longer drags. The good thing though is that the hill you race up at the start is also the hill you race down at the end. At which point we could see people cooling down.

Don’t get me started on cooling down. It’s Scotland. In Scotland, if you cool down any further you’ll turn into Frosty the Snowman.

Instead, don’t warm up, never cool, just park near the finish line, you know it makes sense.

 

 

Feb 12th – Kirkintilloch 12.5K (Iain)

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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 should have been the first race of the year against Andrew.The winner of the event receives one point in the Todd Championship (TC)- the annual competition to find who’s the best Todd. I’ve won the last two editions. If you win the World Cup three times you get to keep it. If I beat Andrew three times do I get to keep him?

I’m not sure where I’d put him. He’s a bit too big to fit in a trophy cabinet. I’d have to stuff him and use him as a coat rack.

Unfortunately, the showdown was a non-event. Andrew pulled out due to a “life threatening” case of the tickle-y cough. A terrible disease that only Andrew gets, strangely its always at its tickliest on a race day….

Due to his forfeit I now have a 1-0 lead in this year’s TC. He asked for a medical exemption but that’s what a loser would ask for. The rules of the competition quite clearly state “If both name’s are on the starting list then its a TC event. Even if one Todd fails to start!”

The rules also say “Stop your excuses Andrew! Man up!”

I might have made up the last rule.

Last year I did the race in  1 hr 3 minutes. This year my aim was to finish in under an hour. I finished in 59:55. Job done…just!

Kirkintilloch 12.5KM – 14th February – 01:03:01 (Iain)

“C’MON IAIN!! You can kick this blog’s ass!”

“Iain! You’re an amazing blogger!”

“Don’t let yourself down Iain!”

If, whilst writing,  I said those things out loud most people would consider me a weirdo. Especially if I was in a room full of other people.

Yesterday I did the Kirkintilloch 12.5KM race. I’ve done the 10K race previously so I assumed it would be the same but with 2.5KM added on. I was wrong. This meant that

a) I expected to start at a primary school. I didn’t realise there was more than one in Kirkintilloch. The races don’t start at the same one. I did wonder why the first school I drove too was very quiet.

b) I expected a flat fast course but it was hilly and slow.

c) I expected a selection of cakes and biscuits at the end of the race as that what I received last time. Instead I got a banana! I was looking forward to cake.

The weather was cold but sunny. There was a number of patches of Ice on the route so I had to be careful on some downhill sections. I had no expectations for the race so treated it as training jog. I therefore chatted to Andrew for the first 10K. When we got to a hill I heard him breathing heavily. I decided to make a break for the win. I picked the correct moment as he didn’t have the legs to keep up the pace  and I was able to hold him off until the finish.

He beat me last time so I was determined to get a win here!

During the last 2.5Km I ran next to a guy called Steve. I know that’s his name because he kept talking to himself.

“”C’MON STEVE!! You can kick this course’s ass!”

“STEVE! You’re an amazing runner!”

You get the idea! This would be fine if he wasn’t wearing headphones!

it didn’t seem to help his performance as he conked out on a hill towards the end. Maybe if he’d spent less energy shouting at himself he’d have had some left to finish the race.

So if you feel like talking to yourself whilst running amongst strangers at least take your headphones out. Its only polite. You wouldn’t keep them in if someone else was trying to talk to you! So treat yourself with the same respect 🙂

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