On Sunday 5th Ocotber I completed my 100th half marathon, finishing the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow in a time of 1 hour 39 minutes. It wasn’t my fastest time – in fact it was almost my slowest time – but I really enjoyed the race and was delighted to reach this landmark.
This week I have thought quite a bit about the various half marathons that have made up my 100. I ran my first one at Irvine Valley in 1990, a couple of months after taking up running. I had only started to get myself a bit fitter for refereeing football matches, having just sat the SFA referees’ exams. Soon I found that I enjoyed the running more than the refereeing, so joined the local running club, Troon Tortoises, and gave up refereeing. I’ve never looked back.
Joining a running club was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met some great people and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the Tuesday and Thursday night training sessions. We pushed each other hard in these sessions, and very soon I started to see my times come down. I made some very close friends and would spend many weekends travelling round Scotland taking part in races. I’ve been a member of quite a few running clubs, reflecting the fact I have moved house fairly regularly. After leaving Troon I joined Central AC in Stirling, then moved to Strathearn Harriers, then on to Harmeny AC in Edinburgh, and I am currently a member of Portobello Running Club. I’ve made new friends at every one of those clubs.
Over the years I have run half marathons in some wonderful places, including the islands of Arran, Mull, Coll and Islay (where the post race refreshments were provided by the local distillery!) Inverness has always been one of my favourites: I’ve travelled to the Highland capital 17 times to run the half marathon, and had my second and third best times there. Glasgow is another favourite, which I’ve also run 17 times. My best time was at Ayr in 1996, where I finished in 1 hour 17 minutes. One of the most memorable was the Forfar Multi-terrain half marathon, particularly the quarter mile section of the course where we had to run through a waist-high, freezing river!
I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to run so many half marathons, in so many wonderful places, with such great people. For me, running has been the perfect way to unwind from the demands of work and other aspects of life. I hope to be able to run many more.
Ian sits on the SAMH board of trustees as Vice Chair. He is Chief Operating Officer of Lindsays Solictors, and non executive Chairman of Scottish Athletics.
Getting Active, whether you run a half marathon, or go for a short stroll around your local park can all make a difference to your mental health and wellbeing.
Common benefits of regular exercise include:
- Improved mood
- Reduced risk of depression
- Protection against anxiety
- Improved concentration and self-esteem
Find out more by visiting the Get Active pages on our website.