Suncream and lots of water were key requirements for competitors and ,spectators at the 29th Stonehaven Half Marathon and Specsavers 1K Fun Run held at Mineralwell Park last Sunday.
A field of 337 runners lined up for the start in bright, warm sunshine, and the heat was to be a significant factor for all athletes as they conquered the challenge of Stonehaven’s scenic but hilly 13.1 mile course.
Yet again the Stonehaven Half Marathon attracted wide range of runners from the local club elite to those running for fun and for charity.
Though most of the field were from the local community the race attracted runners from all over Scotland and a few from as far away as Norway and the Czech Republic.
Many local clubs were well represented and the 15 distinctive blue and purple tops of Stonehaven RC members were matched in number only by Perth Running Club who had chosen the Stoney race to be a part of their championship calendar.
Five water stations along the course, manned by volunteers from CLAN, The Rotary Club of Stonehaven, The Royal British Legion Scotland, The Stonehaven and District Lions Club helped to keep runners hydrated. Twenty seven volunteer marshals made sure they stayed on the right route and local residents turned out shouted encouragement and support as the course wound upwards through Stonehaven’s streets.
Runners also received some extra encouragement from a piper at the highest point on the course - 150 metres higher than the start - and a ‘jelly bean’ station with cheerleaders and refreshing home-made shower from water pistols around the half way mark; put on by Fetcheveryone.com
The race was won by George French of Garioch in a time of 1 hr 16 mins and 30 secs, two minutes ahead of second man Ruairidh Campbell who completed the course in 1:18:38 andPeterhead Running Club’s Alan Reid came in third in 1:22:32.
Amazingly, the hot weather did not impact the winning time too much with this year’s incumbent coming in only 40 seconds behind last year’s winning time.
Debbie Moore was the first woman home in a time of 1 hour 27 minutes and 17 seconds. She was followed by second place woman Kerry Prise of Aberdeen AAC 1:28:58, with Marie Baxter of Garioch finishing in third place for the second year in a row with a time of 1:30:13 which was a full four minutes ahead of her time last year.
After the half marathon runners had set off it was the turn of the town’s next generation of athletes to show off their speed and stamina (some with a little help from mum and dad) by joining in the Specsavers 1k fun run.
The two laps of the Mineralwell cricket ground, finishing with a sprint through the gantry finish, was rewarded with juice and a special Specsavers 1K event T-shirt for the speedy youngsters.
For all runners Stonehaven Running Club once again laid out a spread of sandwiches and refreshments and the Friends of the Pool Stonehaven donated a free swim in the Outdoor Pool to every runner – very welcome considering the weather.
Prizes were presented by Julia Archard of Specsavers Stonehaven, sponsors of the 1K Fun Run, and Stuart Milne of Run4It who have supported the half marathon for a number of years.
Regular commentator Fraser Clyne once again brought his wealth of information to keep supporters up to date with the statistics and details of the finishers.
Another big winner from the event was CLAN who, as the nominated charity for the Stonehaven Half Marathon, received a £1 per-entry donation with a number of other runners providing generous additional donations.
n More photographs on page 39, catch up with the full list of results on our website.