Monday, October 22, 2007

A Wee Bit of a Race

A little more than a year ago when I realized I was almost 40 and had yet to see much of the world, I decided that the best way to see different parts of this planet might be to mix a little bit of work and a little bit of learning and at the same time, have a little bit of fun while doing it.
Since much of my career has been about broadcast, communications, and weather and since I love to run I decided to combine all that to make an International Marathon Learning Experience. Wha da ya think?
My first race on foreign soil took me to Tromso, Norway in June of last year. On the weekend before the summer solstice where this particular city (located just inside the Arctic Circle) enjoys 24 hours of daylight and holds their annual Midnight Sun Run. Great race – Nice people – Cool experience of 24 hours of daylight...much learned.
This year my International Marathon Learning Experience took me to Scotland. But not just any place in Scotland. I decided to run the Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon. Although the big race was almost two weeks ago, it’s still very fresh in my mind. Race day was uncharacteristically sunny and dry. I had watched BRAVEHEART a couple of times before I left – you know… to familiarizing myself with the terrain and the climate. To the best of my knowledge the sun didn’t shine much in BRAVEHEART. I think Mel Gibson fought most of his battles under the clouds and in the fog. So you can imagine my delight when the sun came peeking through on race day.
The morning was crisp as all 2500 runners were bused to the southern most tip of the Loch on a very cool Sunday morning. The race ran from that spot into the beautiful city of Inverness (26.2 miles). The day was lovely. The landscape was like something out of a picture book… rolling green hills, very few people, no cars, lots of sheep!
After the race (4:09:23 – not my best race time, but certainly not my worst) there was time for plenty of sight seeing. For the next several days we toured Inverness, The Highlands, Lanarkshire, Sterling Castle, My very favorite spot – Eilean Castle, and my second favorite place – Pitlochry. We never saw Mel Gibson, but we did see the William Wallace monument… “FREEDOM!”
I can not say enough about the lovely people of Scotland. Every single person we met was incredibly generous and kind. Everyone was cheerful, caring, helpful… it was just an amazingly great place. Although I am committed to running a different international marathon every year and am already looking for my next destination in 2008 --- I’m sure I will be running in the Highlands of Scotland again very soon.

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