6 August 2011
What a pleasant surprise. Went to Islay with no great expectations of anything for this run. And then from nowhere pull out a PB (01:39: 39) taking 2 mins off my previous best (Edinburgh, 2010) and seven minutes off my previous best for this year (Stonehaven). But it appears a night on the lash in Bowmore and a poor night’s sleep did not damage a strong run (its all part of the Marathon du Medoc training regime – honest). I think this is the slowest I have started a race for some time (note to self) and thought I’d just go easy on the uphill start, but by mile 9 I knew I was on for it and kicked out. I think in wind this would be a really tough course, lots of undulations and some very, very long straight stretches.
Good points: Well organised and challenging course with free bar /sandwiches post race. Ceilidh later in the evening with exceptionally large drams of Ardbeg for £2. Good Medals and T-shirts. Ardbeg Uigeadail is available in the local spar and its only £51 a bottle (80 in Edinburgh!)
They time the race so you can get the afternoon ferry if you do not want to hang around. ALSO there is a 100 mile bike race on the Sunday if you want to double up events.
Bad points: Book accommodation well in advance. We ended up in a cramped room (single bed) found for us by the organiser at last minute and sharing flat with some ‘interesting’ folk. Nuff said.
There are no buses on a Sunday so taxis are booked up early. We have to go 2 hours early (7.30 start) and it cost £21. Again – split costs by going in a group and organise well in advance.
We both felt a bit isolated without transport and in Bowmore (I know its called the Ardbeg Half, but it is in Bowmore) there is little to do if the weather is keich.
All in all though probably worth adding to the list of “to do” races.