Gartmorn 6

The Gartmorn 6 is an excellent race and I was a terrible participant.

Let me explain. We drove up to Alloa bright and early on Sunday from dogsitting. I was already a pile of slushy stress as a) I am a terrible navigator and b) I had scratched my mum's car (I'm really sorry mum; I did confess) and c) I was starting to feel full of the cold. The race was beautifully marked- there were lots of signs on the A-roads leading into Clackmannanshire, and the registration and parking points were very obvious. Great parking too. We parked, registered and headed to the race start without fuss.

There we bumped into Kat and started chatting. However, I (the eternal idiot), had left my number in the boot. Idiots unite! Idiots gallop back to the damn car! Warm-up done, I guess? I was very definitely out of breath at the starting line, but at least I had my number on. It was race time!

Kat and I starting together

The first 1.5 miles is on a short road section then the race moves onto forest tracks. Muddy, muddy forest tracks. I was very glad to be in trusty Inov8 X-Talons and I was feeling great. I started with a chat with Kat and K, my friend who had come up with me from Glasgow, then we decided to be serious and focus. These forest tracks continued; undulating across bridges, roots and wee hillocks, until we hit the dam itself. The dam started on tarmac path, and I was panicking thinking I may have made a shoe error, but it quickly returned to mud path. I was loving life, breathing in, thinking deep thoughts, then half way through this glorious loop something threw a spanner in the works. My knee started to feel very odd.

That bloody knee again, typical.. yeah... It was the other knee. THE OTHER ONE. FOR GOD'S SAKES BODY; I'M HAVING A LOVELY TIME. CAN'T YOU JUST CHUFFING WORK FOR ONCE?! It said no. I can't describe the feeling. It felt, and still feels, weirdly disconnected. Up until that moment I swear to you, I had had no issues. I am not concealing a secret injury. Sometimes things just. happen. I wish they wouldn't. Personally, I suspect it was mad at me for accidentally spraying it when I snot rocketed. Particularly embarrassing as I just wrote a guest post on Dreaming of Footpaths about how to avoid exactly that. Even the experienced make mistakes!

K ran a lot better than me, look at her being a babe.

From there on the race (through no fault of the terrain, organisers, or view) turned into an exercise in frustration. The pace hurt, so I had to ease back. Downhills hurt, so I had to start walking bits I could happily have run. Then I tripped over in front of Kat- muddy knees and hands ahoy. Nearer the end I was running in an extremely odd and shuffling fashion, and running very slowly. Over the line I may have been crying. My PR staff have no further comment on that at the moment. The organisation was again great though- there was a man by the finish that was very, very handy on the ice pack. My garmin said 1.01.27. Which isn't the best for 6 miles but given the way it ended I will take it.

Pain. Damn that cheery lady in front (no, more seriously, you go lady!)

I just wanted to be done.

After a few minutes recovery and icing we hobbled off in search of cake and a chat. I had been promised cake . We had heard rumours of an extensive post-race spread. And rewarded we were. Despite a large queue, everything moved very quickly, and was exceptionally tasty. There were sandwiches galore (on that great, but terrible for you, toastie bread. Love that stuff); homemade cakes by the bucketful; and an odd bit of cheekily shop-bought tuck. All yours for whatever donation you chose. We left with piled plates, and it was all sensational (apart from one bit of caramel shortcake- we are genuinely curious as to what happened to it because it not only didn't taste like shortcake, it tasted like washing up liquid). Also we lost a cripsie cake to the wind- my SO was crushed.

  • Awesome course, really great trail run and rather scenic if you look up.  
  • Well organised- signage, marshalling, photography, registration, aid, everything. 
  • Great race bling- a buff! Something people will actually use. 
  • Cheap, particularly for SA members.
  • Serious post-race spread.

  • No toilet at the start, so go at registration, which suffers a bit from not many ladies toilets. 
  • No water or aid stands on course if you care about those. Over 6 miles, I don't. 

Sunday was also International Women's Day.The theme for 2015 was ‘Make It Happen’. As I ran and suffered, I reflected on all of the badass women in my life, in my internet life, and in my blog life. You guys all rock it, everyday. I'm glad I know you.

That race was challenging. But you owe it to yourself to challenge and support yourself in equal measure. You also owe it to the women in your life to challenge and support them in equal measure.

Women, we're awesome. Kat, it was great to see you again. My apologies for tearing up in your general direction. Iona, great to meet you! Iona is one of the Wee County Harriers who encouraged me to do this race in the first place (I blame you Iona... No I don't, it was great and I will be back next year).


Any ideas on... weird knee ness? Hurts going downstairs, but I'm pretty ITBS experienced and its not exactly that feel either.

What was your last race? 


  1. Ouch! Sounds a tough race. Suspect knee problem was definitely down to the bogies. Knees get sulky about things like that. Cakes = amazing. I need more races with cakes afterwards.

    1. Exactly, after that shower they were like, 'Oh HELL to the no'

  2. wow, I don't run much, but I sure admire those who do! Great job finishing!