Thursday 23 August 2012

The (running) Tour of Arran

OK, I lied.  I said I wasn't going to do anymore long training runs, didn't I?  Well, an opportunity came up that I couldn't resist.  In fact, it was to be my longest training ever.  For years, I've wanted to run the 56 mile circular route around the Isle of Arran.  And after the Gibbering Midget's episode at the ACP, I had a willing accomplish.  It was to be more of a personal achievement, rather than a training run.

We took the 7am ferry from Ardrossan and arrived in Arran at 8am.  We packed some clothes in a dry sack and hide it in some bushes (hoping they would still be there on the return) and off we went.

We decided to go clockwise, because for some reason that seemed logical.  The first 20 miles were mostly up hill in the pouring rain.  The roads had turned into rivers, which gave us more of indication of the gradient we were covering.  Like the gasping wasn't enough!

Then the mist came in and we couldn't see further than our feet.  Running on country roads, we had a few hairy moments with on coming vehicles.  Thankfully it was fairly warm and by late morning it started to clear up.  Then the sun came out and we were overheating...and wished the rain would start again! Typical, eh.

The views were absolutely phenomenal.  And the hills were so cheeky they were downright offensive :-) 
Quick look on Garmin Connect prior to day out  - obviously from those who had cycled, not run the route - and the recorded profile was about 1000m up and 1000m down. I kid you not, I barely remember any downhill bits.  Apart from the steep downhill passed Lochranza at about 44 miles, but by that point our quads, feet and toes were so trashed, there were no benefits to be reaped.  

Arran is often referred to as "Scotland in miniature", which I can concur.   Rain, rolling hills,  irate drivers, lush mountains, glorious coastline, cheery farmers, midge bites, an unhealthy supply of Mrs Tilly fudge and midget gems, burned shoulders...finished off with a pint of Tennents Extra Cold.  You don't get more Scottish than that.

Being the height of tourist season on the island, it was quite comical seeing the same people throughout the day. There were quite a few double takes at the main tourist villages as we passed through. People were obviously driving around the island and passing us en route. Again and again. We were certainly the village idiots for the day.

A fabulous day out.  Possibly about five miles too long though. Never before I have actually had a "finishing line" in view and had to take a gel to get me there.  I thought I was going to keel over on the road. Although when we discovered we were going to tip under the nine hour mark, we were doing 7m/m for the final mile along the promenade.   Or maybe that was just a will to get it over with.
Garmin connect info. 55.55 miles. Average 9:42 m/m (including walking/eating breaks)

This picture was supposed to be of us in front of the ferry, but the kind lady who took it had obviously spent the afternoon in a beer garden.  I gave up the idea after having to explain a few times not to put her finger over the lens :-)

So, that's it. Another big tick. I just need to convince the GM to go for the anti-clockwise tour next summer.


SteveQ said...

What fun! I'd like to try that with the Isle of Mull, though that'd be longer and would be whiskey-fueled. Now I have to go find some place where I can get Tennent's locally, so thanks for that ;)

Kaz said...

Good times!

KarenR said...

Have cycled it a few times, ran it lots as part of the relay... Arran is mean. Well done ladies you fair deserved that cold pint x

Subversive Runner said...

Lee keeps threatening to take me to Arran. We're off to Mull in a couple of weeks. I think I might run around the distillery ;-) xx

Johann said...

Wow, that is an awesome training run...and long! Well done!

Chris Carver said...

Great stuff Debbie but I don't think they have Starbucks there yet.

Amanda said...

Great idea and great running girls! And still looking chipper and fresh for the finish photo - is that the effect of the fudge or the beer...???

Unknown said...

Thats a cracking route. Done it on the bike once and even that wasnt easy. As for your decision to go clockwise, if you'd been in the southern hemisphere you'd have decided on anti-clock :-)

Anonymous said...

Well done again this weekend girls (29th August).
Goatfell too on the Sunday ?
Thanks again for your donation to Young Minds

The boys on the bikes at Lochranza :)