Having barely run much since doing the Great Scottish Run in September, tackling the Aviemore Half Marathon was never really going to be about targeting a pb. I developed a chest infection after doing the Triathlon in September which put me out of the Big Fun Run and Half Kilomathon, these were meant to be prep races for the half.

Aviemore holds special memories for me as it was there that I proposed to my wife the night before her first Half Marathon in 2009. True romance, eh? I had an entry last year but didn’t run as I was injured although we still went up as I had offered to present the warm-up for the race. The race wasn’t in the Perth Road Runners Championship this year and hadn’t planned on doing it but was offered a place in return for doing the warm-up again, which I greatly accepted. I am now enjoying doing the warm ups for races as it’s a bit of fun really and am looking forward to do it all again next year at Aviemore although I’ll happily pay for my place as all the money goes to a good cause – the Speyside Trust and the wonderful Badaguish Outdoor Centre.

I was delighted one of my clients, Jill Scott, had decided to run her first Half Marathon here and Allison, Jill and I travelled up on the Saturday. We stayed in one of the wigwams they have at Badaguish, which turned out to be better than I had anticipated and was right next to the starting area.

My race plan was to run at a steady pace and to finish strongly, as I coach all my clients to do. The great thing about the race was not having any pressure to hit a certain time or go at a particular pace so I could relax and enjoy it. The course is off-road for the first half and offers some stunning scenery round Loch Morlich. There was a pretty tough hill to climb between 3 and 4 miles and a few puddles to jump between 4 and 5 but from 6/7 miles, we were on the road and heading to Aviemore.

One of the great things I like about races is that you meet new friends and start chatting to others who are running at the same pace and this race was no different. I got chatting to Jeni from Insch, who wanted to beat 1hr 44mins. I figured we were on for 1:40/1:42 so kept pace with her for a few miles before letting her go as my lack of training caught up with me and I was toiling to keep the 7:30min/mile pace going. Although I generally run faster, keeping pace with Jeni was great as it made me go a bit faster than I was intending to. Even though she was ahead of me at 10/11 miles, I still kept her in sight so didn’t slow down. This gave me the energy to step up the pace a little in the last mile and a sprint finish when we came onto the grass in front of the Four Seasons Hotel. I finished in 1hr 38mins 5 seconds, which I was really delighted with.

It was a great day all round as Allison smashed her Half pb with a time of 1hr 56mins, 5mins improvement in 6 weeks since GSR and 8mins of her best time from last year. Jill finished in 2hrs 3mins, which is a great time for a first half.

This performance has given me the boost to get some regular training in as we head into the winter months. I don’t have many races coming up but it will serve as good prep for next year and a Spring Marathon.


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