A record number of runners turned out early last Sunday morning to take part in the 30th Stonehaven Half Marathon.
370 eager athletes lined up at the start in Mineralwell Park to take part in the scenic, but hilly, 13.1 mile course that would take runners out of town and up towards Swanley returning on the Slug Road and back to the finish at Mineralwell.
2015 was an extra special race as it marked the final year of the current half marathon route.
The 30th Stonehaven Half Marathon was a closely fought contest but was won by Ron Gauld from Portlethen.
Ron had a finishing time of 1:18:10 and was pushed right to the last mile by Kenny O’Neill of Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers who finished in 1:20:50.
The win came for Ron on the back of a first place at Peterhead Half Marathon the week before, and is Ron’s second win at Stonehaven in three years.
Carolyn McLeod was the first woman home in a time of 1:26:24 representing her fifth win at the event followed by Marie Baxter of Garioch Road Runners in 1:28:12 who took her third Stonehaven podium place in as many years. Third was Moira Davie of Forres Harriers in a time of 1:28:48.
After the half marathon runners had set off younger athletes were able to show off their stamina (with a little help from mum and dad) in the Specsavers 1k fun run. Two laps of the Mineralwell cricket ground finishing with a sprint through the gantry finish, was rewarded with juice and Specsavers 1K event T-shirt for the speedy youngsters.
For all runners Stonehaven Running Club once again laid out a spread of sandwiches and refreshments and the Friends of the Pool Stonehaven as well who donated a free swim in the Outdoor Pool to every runner – very welcome in the heat of the midday.
Prizes were presented by Julia Archard of Specsavers Stonehaven, sponsors of the 1K Fun Run, and Stuart Milne of Run4It who have supported the half marathon for a number of years. Our regular commentator Fraser Clyne once again brought his wealth of information to keep supporters up to date with the statistics and details of the finishers.
Another big winner from the event was CLAN who are the nominated charity for the Half Marathon receiving donations of over £800 from runners entering the event.
John Ritchie, Chairperson of the organising committee said : “This is the second year in a row that runners have had to complete our Half Marathon in warm sunny weather and I am so impressed with everyone who finished and especially those runners who chose this race for their first half marathon. It was clear everyone had put in a lot of training for today’s performances. Quite a number of finishers were joined for the last 20 meters and across the line by their children and grandchildren this year and that was great to see.
“The support from individual volunteers and organisations that come together to make this event run smoothly has, yet again, been fantastic. Many people give up time to bake, marshal and help our event in so many different ways to maintain the friendly and highly regarded status that it holds in the Scottish running calendar. We are also grateful for the support of many local businesses that provide facilities, equipment and sponsor our event on the day.
Many of the entrants have helped raise additional funds for CLAN. This is a charity which we have had a long association with and which continues to do so much for cancer support in our area.
“Despite a record start list of 370 – up another 10% on last year – and the excellent 30th anniversary finishers T-shirt there is an element of sadness that this is the last year that the event will be held on the current route. During the past 31 years the Half Marathon has changed its route and format on more than one occasion. 2016 will be another progression and will give us an opportunity to introduce some new sights and places to our entrants in future years. We are in planning stage but watch out for news later in the year when we hope to make an announcement.“