Launch of the first Scottish Half Marathon
ONE of the greatest distance runners in history Liz McColgan today launched the first Scottish Half Marathon.
The former world champion at the 13.1 mile distance officially marked the opening of entries for the event which is set to become an exciting new part of the running calendar.
Thousands are expected to sign up for the inaugural Scottish Half Marathon which will take place on Saturday September 6, 2014, and prove a spectacular addition to an unforgettable year of sport for Scotland.
Liz, who also held the world record for the half marathon, said the Scottish Half Marathon promises to offer one of the fastest races in the UK and showcase the stunning scenery of East Lothian along the golf coast which offers some of the finest courses in the country.
Runners are expected to raise thousands for charity at the event which has Cancer Research UK as its Official Charity.
Liz, 49, said: “I’m proud to launch the first Scottish Half Marathon.
“I love the half marathon distance. It’s entirely different from the full marathon. The half marathon is a really challenging event that you have to train for – but at the same time it’s achievable for most people. It allows you to set a goal but it’s within most people’s capabilities to go out and run a half marathon.
“The half marathon is a chance for you to enjoy a personal achievement and raise thousands of pounds for charity. It’s a great opportunity for people to participate in something they can feel really proud of.”
Liz, who was joined at the launch by two of her children, Orla, eight, and Kieran, 11, also shared her secrets to success for running a half marathon (see below for tips).
She was joined at Musselburgh Racecourse, which will be the finish line of the Scottish Half Marathon, by 25-year-old Sophie Nixon from Edinburgh who is backing the Scottish Half Marathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
The charity has proved a lifeline for her family. Sophie’s mum Sue, 59, is fighting breast cancer for the second time and Sophie’s half sister, Cara was diagnosed with liver cancer only months after she was born but overcame it and recently celebrated her 18th birthday.
Sophie said: “Cara spent the first year of her life in and out of hospital and wasn’t expected to survive but I’m pleased to say that she’s just celebrated her 18th birthday.
“Survival rates for cancer have doubled over the last 40 years which is really good news but there is still so much to be done. The odds are that one in three of us will be diagnosed at some stage in our lives and so beating cancer is something we should all care about.
“I think it is brilliant news that Cancer Research UK will be the Official Charity for the Scottish Half Marathon.
“I hope lots of people will sign up for what is a challenging but fun event and raise as much money as possible to help the charity’s scientists beat cancer sooner.”
Gary Bansor, Cancer Research UK sports team manager said “We are delighted to be the Official Charity for the inaugural Scottish Half Marathon.
“If you take part in what promises to a spectacular event, we would love you to join the Cancer Research UK team. Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour and every runner, so please join our team and help us beat cancer sooner.”
Entries open at noon on Monday September 9, 2013, for the Scottish Half Marathon which is on Saturday
September 6, 2014, at 11am. An early bird discounted entry offer is valid until midnight on September 30, 2013.
The half marathon is today growing faster in popularity than any other race distance, with newer runners considering it a friendlier challenge than the marathon. It’s also a great option for experienced runners who have already won marathon glory but are determined to keep a passion for running going.
Neil Kilgour, Scottish Half Marathon Race Director, said: “It’s not just the stunning scenery of East Lothian’s golf coast that’ll take your breath away.
“If you want to train hard and set a personal best for the half marathon distance then this is the race for you. We have developed a route that is predominantly downhill and consequently is seriously rapid given the right training. By starting conveniently at 11am just outside Edinburgh, you can take part and run along the magnificent golf coast before finishing in front of the grandstand of Scotland’s oldest racecourse. Come and be a part of it and deliver your personal best. This race will deliver perfect running conditions that will reward runners for all their efforts in training and on race day.”
Liz who won the 10,000m gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986 believes the Scottish Half Marathon will make a fabulous addition to an extraordinary year of sport across the country with a line-up that includes the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July and golf’s 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September.
Liz retained her Commonwealth title in Auckland in 1990 and then became world 10,000m champion in 1991 in Tokyo. And she has magical memories of the moment she stormed to victory at the first IAAF World Half Marathon championships in 1992 – setting a new world record of 67 minutes and 11 seconds.
Liz, 49, said: “The biggest moment of my career as a half marathon runner was that world record.
“I still run for an hour every day. Running is in my blood and pulling on my trainers and getting out there is part of who I am. Running clears my head. I do most of my problem solving when I run.”
And excellence runs in the family. Liz is now a coach for her daughter, Eilish McColgan, 22, who finished tenth in the world championships this summer and has set her sights on the Commonwealth Games next summer and the Olympic games at Rio 2016.
Liz said: “I’m so proud to be Eilish’s mum.
“It’s a unique experience working with Eilish. I think she’s a very talented athlete and even if she wasn’t my daughter I’d be really excited about working with her. It’s a great partnership. In the next couple of years Eilish is going to be capable of running pretty amazing times. She’s seeing that now herself so it’s exciting times for her and it’s an exciting time for Scotland.”
To sign up for the Scottish Half Marathon go to www.scottishhalfmarathon.com
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Photos of today’s launch are free to use and will be available at the following Dropbox address later today:
The Scottish Half Marathon in East Lothian will start at Meadowmill Sports Stadium, Tranent within very easy reach of the A1 and Edinburgh bypass and finish in front of the grandstand at Musselburgh Racecourse.
The Old Course at Musselburgh Links is actually located within the race track of Musselburgh Racecourse. The Old Course is believed to be the first golf course in the world with golf played on these links as far back as 1672.
Runners can either enter the Half Marathon or two runners can complete the Duo Challenge, the half marathon distance as a relay. The first runner will go from Meadowmill Sports Stadium to Gosford House where the second runner will start, racing towards a finish at Musselburgh Racecourse.
The Scottish Half Marathon is brought to you by GSi Events, the team who organise the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.
Cancer Research UK, is the Official Charity for the event. There are also three Premier Affiliate Charities, Alzheimer Scotland, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.
LIZ MCCOLGAN’S TOP TIPS FOR RUNNING A HALF MARATHON:
1/ My best advice is don’t overdo it. There are a lot of people who decide to do a half marathon but forget that their lifestyle might not be like a professional athlete’s. You don’t need to go mad but you do need to follow a good training plan, pull on your trainers, get out the door and run.
2/ Eat and drink well. 13.1 miles is a long way. Some people can be out there for more than three hours and you need to take good nutrition and take on fluids before the race.
3/ Don’t try anything new on race day. Don’t go out and try to run in brand new shoes or in new shorts or top. Trust the equipment you’ve already got, the equipment you’ve already done a couple of runs with. That way you’ll know there’s no danger of chaffing.
4/ Don’t push too early at the start of the race. The people who run the best races are those who don’t go off too fast at the beginning and who get to half way most relaxed. You have to think about the distance that you’re doing and approach it with a level head.
5/ Talk yourself through it to help you relax. Stick to your own personal race plan and try not to get too carried away by the atmosphere on the day or by the pace that everyone else is running at. It’s your race, run it your way.