Kirkintilloch 12.5K (Iain)

When you run, do you stare at other runner’s bums?

It’s quite hard not to stare at arses, unless you have a perfect upright running style. I run slightly stooped forward in a way which naturally brings my gaze to tush level.

I thought about this when I saw a photo of myself from the race.

I don’t know who the man in the white t-shirt is but I ran with him for about 15 minutes. I hadn’t seen his face until now. He was slightly quicker than me so I spent all that time just a couple of meters behind him in a perfect eye to posterior running form.

I was with him for a quarter of the race but, if I was asked to pick him out of a police line up, then I’d have to ask him to turn around. It’s only his bahookie that I’d recognize. I suspect my butt to face ratio in a race is at least nine butts for every one face I see.

Kirkintiloch is the perfect place to discuss derriere’s because the town is known as the Canal capital of Scotland. Why does that make it a bun friendly town? Because people paint over the C in canal…


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.

It was a the fourth time I’ve raced it and this year I got a course PB. I was ill on Friday so I’m not sure if the PB is due to fitness or the amount of drugs I consumed on the Saturday to get better.

I suspect it was the weather that really helped. Every other year has seen ice on the course. This year there was none. I could finally run the downhills without the fear of slipping and falling over.

One of the 12 downhill sections. I’m going so fast the horses couldn’t keep up!

Foxtrail Harvest Moon Half Marathon (Iain)

The FoxTrail winter series is a running series based in and near Dunbar in East Lothian. The six race series ranges in distance from 5K to half marathon distance.

I love East Lothian for the sandy beaches, the beautiful weather (it’s always sunny when I visit) and the nachos. Yes – I said nachos. The Old Course pub in Gullane http://www.oldclubhouse.com/ does the best nachos in Scotland and believe me I’ve eaten a lot of nachos in Scotland…which may explain my deteriorating athletic performances in recent years.

I’d promised my wife I’d try to be vegetarian this year. I’d managed all of January but, as soon as I got to the clubhouse, I forgot all about it and I ordered chicken nachos. it was only once I’d finished eating them that I realized what I’d done! It was very tasty though….

Definitely not vegetarian

Andrew was supposed to be doing the race but he pulled out on Friday night. He said he’d been looking at the course and noticed their was a river crossing. The temperature was due to be 1C. He claimed that “a river crossing at that temperature is dangerous. I’m not doing it!”

I’ll let you judge the river crossing for yourself (see the video below) before you make a judgement on what a big scaredy cat Andrew is. I’ve seen jellyfish with more backbone than Andrew!

The start of the race was near a field of animals that looked like this

Is it a llama or an alpaca

Which led to two runners having an argument on the starting line:

Runner 1 – It was a llama
Runner 2 – It was an alpaca!
Runner 1 – No! It was a llama!!
Runner 2 – Look mate! If there’s one thing I know, it’s alpacas. It’s a fucking alpaca!
Runner 1 – Fuck off! It’s a llama. You’re talking out your arse.
Runner 2 – Stick the llama up your arse!!

It was an alpaca. I know this because I googled it after the race. I now know more about llamas and alpaca’s than I ever wanted to know. Did you know
llamas are vegetarians ? Although I bet they’d make an exception if they saw how good my chicken nachos were.

The race itself was a good mix of trail, farmland and beach. The weather was cold which meant there was no mud and the tracks were all easily runnable. I felt good at the end of the race and I was happy I hadn’t lost much fitness after my long Indian vacation.

On the way home I reflected on the day. One question kept coming to me – I wonder if llama nachos would be tasty?

Running a Mumbai 5K (Iain)

I sometimes go to the cinema by myself because my wife thinks my film choices sound awful. For example she said no to Bumblebee – a film about a Volkswagen beetle that becomes a robot. How could that possibly sound awful???

When I go, I often get asked by the cashier – “do you want another ticket for after this one?”

NO! I might be in the cinema by myself but don’t rub it in by assuming I couldn’t possibly have friends or plans for after.

Worryingly I’ve asked other people who go the cinema by themselves whether this has every happened to them. They said no it has never happened to them. I’m not sure what this says about me….

My love of film goes back many years. At school I was part of a group that ran a weekly cinema for younger kids, I’ve read every book going on film theory and I’ve even made my own film!

The film was for a project called the 48 Film festival. I had to put together a film in 48 hrs based on a premise, name, plot and genre given to me at the start of the first hour. I had to create a film about a cleaner caller Norman which features a ring in a documentary format. It was screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

You can see it here:

I think the lead actor has allot of talent! 😉

Considering other teams had multiple people, professional actors/makeup/directors etc then I’m quite proud of what we achieved with little to no talent.

Due to my love of film I was excited to run in Mumbai – the home of Bollywood movies. I thought I’d have to go on a tour to see a film but when I arrived at my hotel there was a film being shot straight outside it.

I asked at the hotel desk what was happening and they explained that the rest of the city has Victorian-Gothic architecture but where I was staying is an old purpose-built district called Ballard Estate. Its predominant architectural style is English Edwardian.

This style makes it perfect for Bollywood films as directors can film in the streets and pretend the film character are in London/Paris/New York. It really does feel like those places.

A Bollywood star or just someone with allot of photographer friends.

The estate was great for running. Big boulevards that were virtually car free. Excellent pavements and it was very easy to navigate. I it was great to finish my Indian running jaunts with an easy run

Ease of Running score – 10/10

Sights: 8/10 (Great architecture and nice tree lined streets)

Running a Kerela 5K (Iain)

My surname is Todd. Which meant I was very excited when I saw this shop.

I thought he would have food specifically aimed at people called Todd but the shopkeeper didn’t have any biscuits or sweets. I don’t think he’s full aware of his target markets needs.

What he actually sells is a Palm wine. An alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree. It is known by various names in different parts of the world. In Kerela its called a Toddy.

The shop keeper got very excited when I told him I was called Todd. He got very, very excited. So excited that I started to wonder whether his shop sold palm wine or whether it actually sold Todd’s and he was excited by how much he could sell me for!

I left his shop very quickly and headed on my way to where I was staying – Kochin.

Kiochin by Indian standards is a relatively quiet laid-back city. It very easy to run in as the roads are quiet and the pavements are good. It is hot (35C) so the best time to run is before breakfast when the Sun is rising.

I enjoyed the run as Kochin has an annual art festival which lets artists paint murals on walls in the town. This meant the run was very similar to a Glasgow style mural run.

Ease of Running score – 10/10

Sights: 7/10 (Lots of murals)

One of the many murals.

Running a Kolkata 5k (Iain)

One of my aims in India was to run 5km in every place I visited. Kolkata was tricky because the roads are very busy and the pavement is so crowded there is very little room to walk, let alone run.

Thankfully my hotel was near a park within jogging distance of the Victoria memorial.

I headed out early before the traffic got bad and before the pavements became too busy.

As I jogged I passed signs for the half marathon and full marathon. I’d like to know how this was done as there wasn’t any free space for a 100m race let alone a long distance event. I didn’t see any other joggers out so I’ve no idea how people train for the race.

The park was full of cricket matches which meant I had to watch carefully for flying cricket balls.

The route around the memorial was a mile. I did it clockwise and anti-clockwise to add enough distance to get to 5k

Ease of running score – 5/10 (but only if I run before 8am)

  *   I also had to continuously watch my footing even on the pavements as the surface is very uneven

Sights 9/10
– the park is full of interesting things. Cricket/football/herds of goats…

2019 – part 2 (Iain)

 A few blogs ago, I wrote about my plan for 2019:

The only race I’ve never done before is an Ultra marathon. I’ve always been scared of the distance and the loneliness of running that far. 

So, as its the only event I’m scared of and its the only running distance I’ve never done before then I know that’s what I have to do in 2019.

Now I just need to decide which one….

I can now exclusively reveal my choice of race isn’t just one ultra but two!

I did ask Runners World Magazine if they wanted the exclusive but after they said “Who are you? Why would we want that? How did you get this number?” I decided to reveal it here instead. 

My first ultra is the John Muir Way Ultra. A 50KM race in East Lothian. I chose it because it’s flat, I love visiting East Lothian and I get a funky looking t-shirt if I complete it. 

https://foxtrailscotland.co.uk/races/ultra/

My second ultra is the Devil O The Highlands race. A hillier longer race comprising 42 miles from Tyndrum to Fort William. I choose this because I wanted a distance that was scary (31 miles isn’t that different from a marathon but 42 is very different) I love this section of the West Highland Way, and, if I complete it, I get a funky looking t-shirt….there is a theme developing about how I choose events. 

 https://www.devilothehighlandsfootrace.co.uk/

The race also has one of the best disclaimers I’ve seen. 

The event strives to be as inclusive as possible and the organizers have a zero tolerance policy to any form of discrimination. We are not fond of Donald Trump.

I think that’s one person most people are happy to discriminate against!

Glasgow Mural Run (Iain)

The best graffiti I’ve ever seen was in London shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack. I noticed someone had sprayed a wall with the phrase “Osama Bin Laden has a small willy”


Which distils the complicated geopolitics of western and eastern religions down to a simple playground insult.


Bin Laden is not the only one whose nether regions have been mocked. Similarly, during World War Two, Hitler was ridiculed in an equally childish manner with a song claiming he only had one ball


Hitler has only got one ball
The other is in the Albert Hall
His mother, the dirty bugger
Cut it off when he was small


Glasgow has recently launched a Mural trail. Mural is a posh word for graffiti. The murals are helping to rejuvenate streets and revitalize buildings and vacant sites that look a bit tired, reincarnating them as beautiful pieces of public street art.


You can see some example here from Andrew’s post https://twinbikerun.com/2018/11/26/glasgow-mural-run-andrew/

The official route is a good 5K run but I wanted to do something a bit longer and visit some of the unofficial murals.


You can find a GPX of my route here  https://strathcloud.sharefile.eu/d-s662eebc93b242119


I won’t list any of the murals because I think the joy of them is the surprise you get when you see them for the first time. Much like that joy I got the day I discovered Bin Laden and his small winky. Which is a phrase I never thought I’d use in a public forum!

Woman, A Warning! (Andrew)

A couple of weeks ago I was watching Sky News when they cut to a report of a man, Ross Edgely, who had just swum round the whole of the UK. 

“Wow,” said the reporter, as he reached the shore.

“Wow,” said the crowd, as he raised his arms in triumph. 

“What a dick,” I thought, as I watched him explain how swimming in salt water for months and months had gradually destroyed his tongue. Or, as he said it: “Swumming ‘n sawt wather ‘as detroyth ma tong!”.

While I admire all athletes who take on and achieve an epic challenge. I couldn’t help think this time that there’s a danger in automatically admiring them.  They’re creating a dangerous trend. They’re creating the idea that longer is better, when it’s not. Long races are boring. Long races are hard. Instead give me a medium length race. A half-marathon. A half-ironman. Just the thought of entering a race with the word half in it, gives me a boost. “It can’t be that bad,” I think, “it’s only a half!”.

The word “ultra” on the other hand makes me we want to avoid it like a colleague from work on a train station when you know you’ve got an hour’s journey ahead of you and don’t want to sit beside them because you know you’ll run out things to say in five minutes. 

Yet, despite the difficulty, there are longer and longer races all the time. Board of IronMan? Why not run a double, triple or even ten times IronMan? Want to go for a swim, why not avoid the pool and head towards Norway instead? It’ll only take three weeks, a yacht and a willingness to lose your tongue within sight of Bergin.

I blame guys. Guys are daft and macho. We want to take on harder and harder challenges. Which is okay, but I think we should call them what they are. IronIdiots. And, when they complete a race. When they swim 3 miles, cycle 112 miles and run a marathon they should be greeted at the finish line with a cry of “YOU ARE AN IRONIDIOT!”

Which is better than IronMan because it’s not sexist, woman can be idiots too.

Except they’re not. The number of woman who take part in longer events is significantly smaller than the number who take part in short events like 10k or half-marathons. 

But it’s starting to grow. I’m seeing more woman take part in longer races. And I have this to say to them: “STOP! DON’T DO IT! DON’T BE AN IRONIDIOT!”

Instead, women, invent your own races. Races that are fun and people actually want to do. Don’t copy the guys. They don’t know what they’re doing. Why would anyone want to run a marathon after cycling 112 miles? It’s stupid and arbitrary and random and proves nothing except guys will follow any instructions provided they get a medal at the end.

If there was a medal for swimming 3 miles then cycling 112 miles then punching yourself in the face until you make your nose bleed then sign me up!

Women, don’t repeat the mistake of men. Men are idiots. Who invented the marathon? A man? And what happened to him? He died running it. Yet other men thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea – let’s do it too!”

Invent your own races. Don’t follow the guys into extreme triathlons. Invent benign triathlons. Races where the water is warm, the courses are downhill and, if you get a puncture, everyone has to stop until you’ve fixed it. That sounds like a nice race.

Just don’t follow the guys, they’re only leading you on an adventure that should be banned on health & safety grounds!

 

Glentress Trail Race (Iain)

“My Baws are on fire!!!”

It was the end of the race and a man was discussing the state of his ‘baws’ with a friend. I assume it was a friend. Discussing your ‘baws’ with a stranger would be an unusual conversation starter. 

The friend replied “Did you wear your new pair of shorts?”

“Aye! And now my baws have more cuts than a Tory budget!” He actually only said “Aye” but I’m using artistic licence. 

“Did you wear pants?” His friend asked.

His friend tried to walk “It burns!” he screamed. I took that as a no to the pants question. 

Thankfully my race was friction free although I did get annoyed by how slow some of the  sections of the course were.

My pet hate at races is people who stand at the front at the start who should be at the back. If you’re going to run slowly then start further back. I spent the first ten minutes of the race trying to get past people who had no intention of running quickly.

I don’t blame the runners as it happens at every race because people don;t want to start at the back but there’s a simple fix. Start the race in two waves. One wave for people who want to race and then five minutes later start the wave for people who just want to run. 

Because congestion is inevitable when there are too many slower runners on a single track course 

Last year it wasn’t noticeable as there was only 235 runners but this year there was 439. People were walking on sections that last year could be easily run because someone up ahead was blocking the way by going slowly. 

Hopefully next year they fix the start so that the race doesn’t feel as congested as this years race. 

2019 (Iain)

A few years ago, I attended a Stand Up Comedy course. At the end of the course I performed a 5 minute “comedy” set. You can see the alleged “comedy” below

At the end of the gig a man came up to me to say “I really enjoyed that! You must let me know when you’re performing again”

I was pleased. I’d only done one gig but I’d already gained a fan!

I told my fan that I had a gig booked for the following week at a comedy club. He promised to attend. 

I was a bit nervous before the gig. After all it was only my second ever gig but before I went on, I looked out and saw my fan sitting in the front row. I thought to myself. At least there’s one man here who’ll laugh. I went out and performed my “comedy.” My fan didn’t laugh once. 

Afterwards I went up to him and asked if he’d enjoyed it. “Not really.” he replied “I preferred your early stuff!”

I never saw him again.  

I was reminded of this whilst thinking about my race plans for next year. Nothing has been exciting or motivating me to enter. 

I thought, maybe I should do an Ironman BUT I can’t be arsed! Last years effort and training for Norseman was hard work. I’d rather have an easier year with less pressure. 

I thought, maybe I should do a Marathon BUT I can’t be arsed! I’ve done marathons before and the thought of doing another one doesn’t excite me.

What I really needed was a race that captures the excitement and feeling I get when its the first time I do it. The early stuff!

The only race I’ve never done before is an Ultra marathon. I’ve always been scared of the distance and the loneliness of running for that far and long. 

So as its the only event I’m scared of and its the only running distance I’ve never done before then I knew immediately that’s what I have to do in 2019.

Now I just need to decide which one….