Today’s guest is Danielle. I found her through one of those #ff on twitter, and now I consider her one of my best blog friends. I completely intend on showing up on her doorstep one of these days so she can feed me! (she lives in Scotland by the way!) I thought it was only appropriate that she write about running in Scotland. FYI, she is actually a native of Canada, but she totally has a Scottish accent even if she denies it!
Hello! I’m Danielle and I pretend to be a writer at I Eat Therefore I Run, my blog about eating amazing food (homemade or in restaurants) then running to burn off all those extra but delicious calories. I’m also an avid reader and follower of Lavender Parking, and answered Amy’s call for guest bloggers. I’ve only been running for three years now, and I’ve also only been running since living in Scotland, (also three years ago). Long story short, I’m Canadian that moved to Scotland in 2009 to be with the man I would marry two years later. So romantic!
I’m not a marathon runner, I’ll never run one (insert Amy’s optimistic ‘Yes you will!’ here); (AMY INSERT: JUST WAIT!) I’ve never even run a half marathon! The furthest distance I’ve ever run is 7 miles; call me the eternal 10 km runner if you will. I attribute my running to living here in Scotland, and this is what I want to share with you, my Caledonian running experience, (for those of you still wondering about Caledonia, it’s the Latin name the Romans gave the land that is Scotland during the time of Roman rule – yes, I also include little facts in my blog as well). When I first moved here, I wanted to lose weight the easiest and cheapest way I could without having to go to the gym to do it, (I live in the country side, and haven’t always had a car). Running was perfect: fitness and the scenery of Scotland, why not?
Here are five reasons to consider your own Caledonian Running Experience.
Note: Thank you to Rachel, a fellow expat, runner and blogger for her input.
1. The weather: The temperature rarely goes above 25’C, and there’s barely anything in terms of hot humidity, so you never have to worry about hot weather runs, hydration, running early in the morning, etc., because the heat is really only a factor about two weeks a year. Also, during the winter, because it is a damp cold here, you don’t have to deal with the hard-to-breathe-in dry cold, which for me means I can run all year round. A drawback about the weather though is, you guessed it, the rain. I’ve actually become used to running in rain and actually enjoy it because I reward my efforts with a nice, hot shower. I also have to give myself a rest day after a rainy run to let my runners dry.Finally, the more comical aspect of weather in Scotland: the ever changing temperature. Heat wave in March? Check! Snow in April? You bet! Cold June? Definitely. I’ve actually found myself wondering ‘Why am I wearing my winter running stuff in June?’ this year. It’s great.
My reaction to winter running clothes in June
The scenery: If the weather hasn’t enticed you, the scenery definitely will. Depending on your region of Scotland, you may find yourself running along beaches, up some pretty large hills or mountains, along the endlesscountry roads and rolling hills, or in one of many wooded areas or forest trails. Don’t forget about the castles! They’re every where here, but more about that later.
Hill running:I live in a pretty hilly region and I can’t avoid running hills, so instead I’ve kind of embraced them and as a result, I’ve noticed a huge change in my fitness. Although I would never go to this length, another great thing about running in Scotland is hill races, they’re huge here, check out the list of all the hill races in Scotland this year alone. The Aonach More Uphill race kicks off the new year by running 2000 feet up a mountain. You could try the Ben Nevis Race, where you run up Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak at 4406 feet. There’s the Glamaig Hill Race on the Isle of Skye, 4.5miles and 2500 feet running up a mountain that looks like it’s straight out of Middle Earth. Or just try theEdinburgh Marathon Festival 10km that takes you 400 feet up Arthur’s Seat! (I’ve done it, it’s horrible!).
Glamaig Hill in the foreground
The races!Okay, I know there are many cool races all over the world, but we’ve got some pretty interesting ones here too.
The Great North Run: get a taste for Newcastle (yes, Northern England) and Geordie accents with this ballot-only half marathon that features many elite runners/Olympians.
The Great Scottish Run: a half marathon or 10 km through Glasgow. This year’s start featured Team GB last-minute marathoner Freya Murray at the start, cheering runners on. Read Rachel’s half marathonrecap.
The Balmoral 10 km: a race through Balmoral Estate, home of Balmoral Castle, one of the Royal family’s two residences in Scotland, (the other being Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh). You pass by the castle, built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and get to run up the dreaded PB killer of a hill. I will be doing this race next year, I swear! Check out Rachel’s recap.
RNLI Reindeer Run 10km at Glamis Castle: My first ever 10 km! This takes place on the Glamis Estate (pronounced ‘Glams’), which was the childhood home of the Queen Mother. Glamis Castle is also stunning, and you get to run around it, through the walled garden and part of the arboretum as part of the race. You also get reindeer antlers and a flashing red nose for running, as well as a cup of tea/coffee and mince meat pie at the finish. Check out my race recap. Sorry, no website for this year’s race yet.
Glenlivet 10km:In case you don’t know, Glenlivet is Scotland’s second best selling whisky behind Glenfiddich. Why not run a 10 km around the gorgeous and massive Glenlivet Estate, then sip on your dram of whisky afterwards?
Wild Hearts Santa Run: a 6km run through Aberdeen, where you get your own Santa suit that you wear to race in!
The Perth Kilt Run:a 5 mile race for a world record. All done wearing a kilt. Can’t get more Scottish than that! For any recreational runner, this race is as close as you’ll get to feeling the energy of the crowds during a race, it’s truly electric. Here’s Rachel’s recap, andmy recap of the race. And yes, you might even see a True Scotsman or two at the race.
Running as an art form? This year only is the NVA Speed of Light in Edinburgh, part of Edinburgh’s International Festival and also a cultural contribution to the London 2012 Olympics. It combines art and sport, and was listed by the Guardian newspaper as a Top 10 must-see attraction. Runners, dressed in all black, done what can only be described as light suits, then walk up Arthur’s Seat, to run in formations and shapes around it. Check out the video below to see what I mean
As they say in Scotland ‘That’s me.’ I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post, and perhaps it’s inspired you to do a little run holiday???