[Updated 28th May with photo of Saturday's kids' runs.] In a time of 1.16.11, Kenny Campbell of Campbeltown – above, yards from the line – took the Mens’ Half Marathon at MOKRun [Mull of Kintyre Run] this morning.
You’ll spot him on the front row at the start, looking as if he’s a stride up immediately after the off.
And what a start. In the biggest MOKRun yet, with 750 massed runners packed behind the line: the Half Marathon runners at the front and the 10K RUN competitors at the back.
Notice that the start line sees all runners funnelled in to cross a blue rubber mat. This is the electronic counting device that records the exact time each microchipped athlete first treads on it. It is replicated at the Finish, below, which records the moment each chip crosses the line.
At the Finish, the top Half Marathon runners, led by Kenny Campbell, came in like racehorses on ice: tall, long-limbed, not a pick of flesh on them, all muscle, knees high, long reaching strides in a light glide that seemed to make no contact with the ground. Beautiful. Magnificent. How do they do that?
And here is Kenny Campbell after it was all over – with two armsful of silverware and a spectacular bouquet of flowers – that it’s not a man thing to carry, so 10K competitor, Jen Reid, did the honours. On the left is the fast 2nd finisher in the 10K SuperVet contest, Johnny McCormick.
Apart from the success of the event, the first thing that screams to be said is that the organisation – in all aspects – was absolutely impeccable. Hendrie Barbour’s is the muscular brain behind this, his civil engineering skills in precision, forethought and specification deployed without fuss and with utter clarity.
We were at his 09.30 briefing of a hall-full of marshalls [a handful below] – and it was a model of an easy, uncluttered tour of the necessities.
The two runs had their 800 places all taken and a field on the day of about 750 – with microchips, numbers, marshalls, escort vehicles, traffic police and the ambulance service in attendance.
We thought that the fabulous John Armour – also of Argyll FM and Peninver Drama Group – was being hard on himself with his escort vehicle.
On his finish-line commentary John was breathtaking. With the aid of a digital spreadsheet and a team of marshall-spotters…
… every single runner was identified by John on the mic, on the last yards to the Finish – by name, by where they were from, by the race they were running – with encouragement for ‘a last wee sprint to the line’ and a demanded cheer to help the exhausted to get there.
What looked like all generations in the entire population of Kintyre were on the streets of Campbeltown to cheer each athlete every step of the way.
The athletes were from all over UK – with about half from Argyll and the rest groups from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and many cities in England – with one runner from Denmark and one from Oz.
The youngest was 15 in a field of quite a few youngsters. The oldest was 80 – Mr Teesdale, above, from Campbeltown on the 10k. [Ever feel a wimp?]
Before the start of the race, the Kintyre Schools Novice Pipe Band played an absolute blinder. While they were waiting to tune up, one livewire gave us a run for our money, playing hide and seek with the camera around a palm tree [very successfully]. We bided our time.
Then, when he was piping and concentrating under the eye of pipe major Ian McKerral, we caught him, above, when he may not have realised he’d lost the final game.
Iain Hughes, whose father was from Campbeltown and now lives with his own family in Glasgow, had them with him as his support team, above – all talking carbs and times. This was Iain’s 8th MOKRun Half Marathon. He finished, below, 4th overall in the Mens’ contest and !st in the Mens’ Veteran – and just about on the time he had hoped to make. – 01.21.45. His young son is already a promising runner – winning the 1K Run for youngsters yesterday, 25th May.
The winner of the Womens’ Half Marathon, Mary McCutcheon, below, from Giffnock [01.32.39], took the cheers of the crowd in her stride.
Close on her heels was the second woman finisher, Shery Johnston, below, from Portobello, fast and fresh enough to have run on.
The effort spent by the runners was often visible and won huge respect from a warmly supported crowd.
There was a great cheer for television weatherman, Peter Sloss, below and for Campbeltown’s own BBC Scotland reporter, Jamie McIvor.
Willie Young, below, until recently the successful and inventive sports development wizard at Argyll and Bute council, showed he can run the run himself in the Mens’ 10K.
And Jane Mayo, below, who will be more than ready for tonight’s [26th May] Centenary Gala Dinner for the joyful delight that is Campbeltown’s Picture House, whose development company she chairs, was cheered to the line in the 10k. Unstoppable.
The Mens’ 10K was won by Duncan Cochrane from Cambuslang, in 00:34:57; and Yana Thandrayen or Portobello took the Womens’ 10K in 00:39:45.
David Paterson, of many things Campbeltown – including the Kintyre Forum and MOKRun, had said he wasn’t running this year – but went in disguise, taking donations in a bucket as he ran and coming back to the run-in, below, to cheer on the other after he’d finished himself.
Talking of David, we are indebted to him for the photograph of the impressively speedy contestants in the kids’ MOKRuns the day before, on Saturday 25th May.
On the esplanade, we met a lovely Bedlington Terrier wondering what all the fuss was about.
And in the Royal Hotel’s Black Sheep pub afterwards, the first to the bar was a flamingo last seen in the 10K run – and already on his back.
We’ll be back next year – this event is irresistable. But next time we WILL make it to Westport Beach before the runners.
Note: Race results can be found here on the Kintyre Forum.