Perth Kilt Run 2013

Time (chip): 27:51 [Results here]

Category Position: 36/183

Medal: Yes

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Short version: You are now in the presence of a World Record holder!

Long version:  After missing out on the World Record to Perth, Canada last year for the number of kilted runners by less than 20 people, I was keen to return to the Perth Kilt run for another shot this year, and, rather amazingly, I had managed to persuade (translation: forced) Ian to sign up last week.  We planned on running around together, but being unenthusiastic about running, Ian wanted to add a couple of items to our Saturday itinerary, including visiting Elcho Castle and exploring a tower that sits precariously at the edge of some cliffs, both within about 5 miles from Perth city center.

Despite setting off early, we ran into one or two navigational issues, and would be cutting it pretty fine for registration if we visited the castle first, so we opted to register before sightseeing, which actually worked out because it meant we could rock up half an hour before the race prepared.  After winding in between farmhouses, we eventually reached Elcho Castle, which is pretty well maintained (as in, it has a roof, and (some) floors, and even some glass in the windows).

Elcho Castle from the front

Elcho Castle from the front

It’s described as a 4-storey mansion, and Ian and I both marvelled at the amount of spiral staircases (and latrines) this place had in comparison to other castles.  After exploring inside, we found that we could even walk along the roof, where there were rooms for people to guard the castle (complete with arrow slits), but with the luxury of their own toilet and fireplace; these people were living the dream!  Being up on the roof also meant excellent views:

View from the guard room on the top floor.

View from the guard room on the top floor.

IMG_20130810_195655From our vantage point, we could see the tower we planned on visiting later in the day above the cliffs in the distance.  If you squint extra hard, you can maybe see the tower on top of the cliffs that kind of look like a shark fin swimming through trees:

IMG_20130810_195624Once we had looked around (and I had embarrassed Ian by playing around with the kid’s fancy dress selection – no photo), we decided to head back into Perth to find a parking spot and ready ourselves for the main event.  We lucked out, scoring what I would imagine was the last free spot at the sports center, and kilted up.  Ian decided on the ‘extra patriotic’ look, perhaps inspired by my Paris ensemble:

Before the Perth Kilt Run

Before the Perth Kilt Run

I swung into the ladies at the sports center for a final bathroom call, and then we ambled towards the start line, marvelling at some of the costumes.  There was even a team of 10 carrying a Chinese dragon:

IMG_20130810_195209Ian and I stood in the starting pen and were just aware of the countdown to the start over the noise of people, and started shuffling forward before settling into a steady pace.  As this was a fun run, there were people pushing strollers, people with dogs, handfuls of small children dotted about the course, so it wasn’t unusual to have to do a bit of weaving, but we were just enjoying the atmosphere.  I even ran into a fellow dailymiler, Gavin, who shot past after saying hello.  Just when we were starting to get warmed up, the finish line came into sight.  I had joked earlier with Ian that we should cross the finish line holding hands like vomit-inducing couples sometimes feel the need to do, but instead he challenged me to a friendly sprint that I couldn’t say no to.  We both sped up, and we could hear Gavin shout, “Go Rachel! Go Ian!” from the crowds.  For the record, I won, although he claims he was “stuck behind someone who darted in front.”

The plan was to set off for the tower, but as we were leaving, Ian’s mind turned to his stomach, so he had a gourmet burger from one of the (several) stalls, while I had some juice and the banana I picked up at the finish.  And a bite of his burger, which was delicious.

Finally, we set off towards Kinnoull Tower, which, believe it or not, sits on top of Kinnoull hill.  Because the tower is at the edge of some pretty steep cliffs, it is unfortunately a popular suicide spot, which we were reminded of as we set off on the woodland walk to the top:

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It was about a mile or so to the top of the hill, but the views from the top were great, and we could even spot the Elcho Castle:

Elcho Castle - in that clump of trees Ian is pointing to

Elcho Castle – in that clump of trees Ian is pointing to

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Dangerous cliffs

Dangerous cliffs

Once back in the car and en route to Aberdeen, I fell asleep, and upon my return enjoyed a warm shower and something tasty to eat.  Another early night (hopefully) for a relay tomorrow!

The fame continues…

Well, after becoming a hit in Serbia (I think – my Croatian is not what you’d call fluent), and after being quoted in a national newspaper, it was only a matter of time before the BBC came after me.  It seems their cheeky paparazzi caught me at the Kilt Run on Saturday and featured my face in their slideshow of Jubilee celebrations in Scotland!

Spotted!

Obviously I have been in touch with my parents to let them know that I will expect nothing less than pure white, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets when I come to visit in October.  They have also been informed that security will need to be beefed up during my stay to avoid being hounded by the Houston press.*

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pre-autograph some photos to save myself time when the masses of fans come knocking at my door.  **

 

* I got the feeling, somehow, that they weren’t really taking me seriously.

** Just in case there is any doubt whatsoever, I’m joking.

Perth Kilt Run 2012

Time: 42:27

Position: 231/1019 (Gender position: 42/363)

Medal: No, but we did get a t-shirt and goody bag.

Relaxing in my new Kilt Run shirt!

The Perth Kilt Run was an attempt to break the world record for kilted runners.  Perth, Canada, set the record with 1,096 runners, and, sadly, today we fell short by just 16 runners.  While that was a bit of a shame, it was a great day out, and an amusing run!

I took the train to Perth this morning.  It seems Aberdeen train station is not a bustling centre of culture and community before 9am on a Saturday:

Though I admittedly dozed most of the way, I did notice a kilted man walk onto the train at Carnoustie.  When we arrived in Perth, I thought ‘he looks like he knows where he’s going, let’s follow him!’  And so I did.

NB: I am not a stalker

When I arrived at registration, I pinned my number on, attached my timing chip, and had a lovely chat with some old ladies in the loo before I checked my watch and realized I had aaaaaaaaaages until I told fellow blogger and Kilt Run participant, Danielle, I’d meet her.  Good thing there was a Jubilee Weekend celebration on, then!

I headed towards the park where I realized the 1,000 pipers were about to set off on parade.  The place was absolutely packed!

The crowds

The pipers

After soaking up the atmosphere for a bit, I headed back to registration where I found Danielle and her husband, who decided to just run the 5 mile course on a whim!  It was the first time I had met Danielle in person, having previously only spoken via blogs/twitter, and I’m pleased to say she was just as easy to talk to face to face.  It turns out we have quite a lot in common, and it was really nice to bust out some ‘American’ English and not have a confused face staring back at me!  While her husband was buying trainers, socks and shorts so that he could join in, we got a photo with the Famous Grouse and spotted cyclist Mark Beaumont, who is kind of a big deal in Scotland, and who was also running.

Half past one arrived before we knew it, and we started getting in place behind the start line.  We found a small group of Canadians that had flown over for a week who were running!  That’s some dedication!  At two, there was a countdown from 5 and everyone – slowly- started shuffling along.  The course was pretty crowded for the first half mile, and I even passed the Grouse making impressive speed (considering the weight of the thing).

The crowds at the sides of the route were impressive – I wasn’t expecting so many people!  There were also plenty of kids with their hands out for high fives.  One cheeky bugger moved his away at the last minute with the classic ‘You’re too slow’!!

The hardest bit about the run, apart from wearing a woolly kilt in sunshine, was the fact that you had to pass the finish line and do a final lap.  It’s so cruel to show the runners where they’ll be …. eventually!  But we all eventually made it to the end, picking up some well deserved water, jelly beans and a goody bag with the event t-shirt.  And then we hit the beer tent for a pint!

When the beer was gone and our bags were collected from the local leisure centre’s lockers, we set off, just catching the replica Spitfire flying over the crowds.  It was a finisher’s sprint to the train station for me (too much time in the beer garden chatting!) and I made it to the platform with 6 minutes to spare before my train set off.

Another dozy train journey behind me, I met Ian for dinner at Nando’s (because Danielle mentioning it earlier had made me crave it)!  I also treated myself to a very fancy Camelback that will hopefully come in handy during my long runs for my marathon training.  It’ll also be useful for climbing any munros this summer.  And now?  Off to bed so I’m well rested for my 6 mile run tomorrow (at a much slower pace, thankfully).

And as for the world record?  There’s always next year!