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Going long distance

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Thanks to Jenny for allowing club members to get a bit of an insight into her decision to Go Long (read below). Well done Jenny for a great achievement of completing Ironman Austria and what I'm sure will be the first of many Ironman or similar long distance events.


This last couple of years, I’ve been known to quote “I could never do an Ironman”, especially since completing a couple of middle distance races. It just wasn't on the radar as something I could actually do. That is, until I saw this picture

& thought ‘I have to swim in there’! I entered Ironman Austria & had almost a year to train.

By October I was thinking about the training. Like most folk I’ve a busy job and family & along with 1.5 hours a day driving to work I was worried about how I was going to fit it all in. I decided to find a coach to help me, for two reasons. I needed to get the best possible training in the time available, and secondly, this would help overcome the self-doubt which plagues me when training for races, and means I need to get to start lines well prepared, self confident & not worrying if I’m going to be able to get round.

Cue Ewan Stirling who I spoke to at club swimming one night and asked if he would coach me! After a chat about the event & how much time I had available each week we started the training in November. I find training in winter best & tend to enter early season races. I also need routine to fit the training in around work, so Mondays were always a Wattbike session followed by club swimming, Tuesday running, Wednesday back on bike. That’s really how it went from November to the race on 01 July. If I missed a session then I couldn't really pick it up somewhere else in the week, so I just let it go. I don’t think I missed very many. I did 3 of each swim, bike and run sessions and 2 gym sessions each week. Training commitment ranged from 9 hours a week up to 17 towards the event, the gradual increases in duration meant that the training didn't feel too onerous. I was prepared for some long Saturdays out on the bike and tried not to commit to anything extra which would have made this difficult.

If you’re wondering about taking on the longer distance, here’s how it worked for me:

* Having a coach made a world of difference. It takes away the worry about collating your own training plan, saves valuable time in your already busy week and gives you a supportive person to chat about your training with (instead of driving your family nuts! :))

* On the subject of family, having a supportive one is top of the list & John was amazing as my support every week even joining me for some of those hard interval sessions :)

* Club sessions were invaluable & if it wasn’t for the support, coaching & friendships I’ve made in the club I wouldn’t have been doing the event. This also means you have friends to train with & Susan and Julie altered their own plans to fit in with my long bike rides every week and join me for well earned coffee, buns & chat at the end.

* I’m lucky enough to have a great job where I could have a longer lunch break of an hour, meaning I could do one session during the day and one in the evenings. Having a gym at work was also a major bonus.

* I worked hard on my mental game as well as my physical training, I kept a journal & did daily meditation using the Headspace app, the day before the event I felt remarkably calm, having reached the start line confident that I could complete the distance and ready to enjoy the day.

Was it hard? Yes, but I really enjoyed training for longer distance & I felt fit & well prepared.

If you're thinking about moving up to longer distance, consider your strengths, they will carry you through to the finish line. Then think about all the things you could get some support with, whether they are within each discipline of swim, bike or run, managing time commitments or finding people to train with. As for me, I’m off to sign up for my next long distance :)

Tue 17 Jul 2018Read more…

The Barrathon

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The Barrathon is a very special event. It takes place every year on the first weekend of July, usually one week before the Harris Half for those of you that might be interested in a cycling between them. It’s one of those wonderful community organised events and it feels like the whole of Barra gets involved!

The route takes you on a wonderful route along what is almost the only road on Barra. It goes round the coast, back to Castlebay, across the start line and a couple of hundred meters further to the finish line.

After you finish the race you are welcome to unwind in the swimming pool in the community centre next to the finish. Your entry also gets you a ticket for the legendary buffet also in the community hall next to the finish, all home cooked. You also buy a ticket for the ceilidh the evening after the race, everyone goes, and tbh it’s worth doing the Barrathon just for the ceilidh. It has performances from local musician’s and dancers and it oozes Scottish culture.

If you want to take part you need to be quick. You register your interest on their website and they send you an email with the entry date and time. You need to be sat in front of your laptop waiting for that moment because the event sells out every year in about 10 minutes! There are only something like 250 places. I normally camp, there’s two camp sites and lots of places to wild camp. The island and its adjoining island Vatersay have amazing beaches if you have time to sunbath or wild swim.


Well done Duncan and thanks for the write up!

Sun 15 Jul 2018Read more…

Charity Glencoe Challenge action

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Kate Fletcher and a team of nursing friends took part in the Great Glencoe Challenge last weekend in aid of Support in Mind Scotland.

The event takes you on 26.2 mile route through some of the most dramatic landscapes that Scotland has to offer and finishes up at the foot of Ben Nevis.

The team did excellently finishing in under 11 hours on a very hot day in the mountains. If you'd like to donate there's still time on Kate's fundraising page.


Sat 14 Jul 2018Read more…

Huntly Sprint & novice races

Three of our local athletes in action at Huntly Sprint and Novice races this year.

Malcolm and Julie Cleghorn were both in action in the novice race with both taking 2nd place in their respective male and female super vet categories. Stirling effort again from the Cleghorn duo!

Dave Reid was also in fine form in the sprint race taking an excellent 7th overall and 1st in the super vet category. Another excellent result setting Dave up for a fine overall result in the overall Aberdeenshire series races.

Race results can be found here. Well done all!

Sat 14 Jul 2018Read more…

Monikie Scottish Sprint Triathlon Champs

Sprint Champs 2018

Three local athletes in action at the Scottish Sprint Triathlon Champs in Monikie. Graham Whyte, Luke Williams & Dave Roberts.

Both Graham and Luke took their respective age group titles, with Graham finishing in 1.13.54 & Luke in a swift 1.04.51 to take 4th overall. A lot of hard work paying off for these two local athletes.

Not phased by all the carbon on show at the Scottish Championships Dave was competing in his 1st open water Triathlon and finished in 1.19.16 which put him 72nd overall & 12th vet. He summed it up as a great learning experience, so hopefully the first of many more!

Well done all excellent efforts all around. Check out the full results here.

Sat 14 Jul 2018Read more…

Great efforts in the Great Glen Ultra

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This ultra marathon takes in the Great glen Way route from Fort William to Inverness. Our hardcore distance running crew Martin 'Flash' Gordon and Adam McBean were competing in this 70 mile beast of a race.

Martin finished in 12:40:44 (8th overall, 3rd MV40) and Adam finished in 13:48:06 (14th overall and 4th senior male). Awesome efforts, well done!

Check out the results here

Sat 14 Jul 2018Read more…

Glen Moray Sportive

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Laura, Nigel, Andrew and Stephanie went over to take part in the Glen Moray Sportive on another blue sky day... we've certainly been spoilt this summer it seems!

The route is approximately 120km winding its way from Elgin through the Cairngorms to Grantown then back towards Forres before completing the loop by heading back towards Elgin again.

Laura was the 2nd female overall in the event.

Well done everyone!

Thu 12 Jul 2018Read more…

Team Fletcher at Isoman

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Kate and James headed down to Isoman once again this year. Isoman prides itself on being a fairer triathlon in terms of equalising out the three disciplines. Their website has the following statement:

'To excel at Iron distance triathlon you must be an excellent cyclist/runner. To excel in Isoman you must be an excellent triathlete.'

Kate had entered the quarter distance event (2.8k swim, 24.6k bike, 10.5k run) but evidently wanted to do a bit more cycling as she did an extra lap of the bike course and therefore cycled twice the intended distance.

Here's what Kate had to say about her day:

So I did Isoman Quater distance Triathlon and everything went a bit wrong; cramp in second lap of swim, did an extra 22km on the bike due to getting very lost and nearly twisted my ankle in transition and finish running 10.5km in 32 degree heat feeling queasy, and still finish the race! Finished last in my race but still finished! Sometimes things don’t go to plan!

James took part in the half Isoman (5.6km swim, 49.2km bike, 21.1km run) and came a very respectable 5th.

Well done Fletch and Mrs Fletch it sounds like you both did a great job in tough conditions.

Thu 12 Jul 2018Read more…

The Highland Cross

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I'd heard that the Highland Cross is quite hard to get into but it seems like everyone from the club was doing it this year. I'll have to learn the secret handshake so I can secure an entry in a future event!

The event runs from Kintail on the West Coast through Glen Affric and Strathglass and finally finishing 50 miles later on the East Coast in Beauly. The first 20 miles is quite a challenging off road run with the final 30 miles on the bike (on road). The event raises huge amounts of money for local charities which is great!

Well done too all club members who took part including Martin, Darren, Mark, Neil, Matt, Angus and George. Well done to Martin, a.k.a. Flash Gordon, who managed to get in under 4 hours. As for George, I can never keep track of how many events he's done - he's like a swim, bike, run ninja! You'll never know he's doing an event but if you look on pretty much any event results or photos, George's name or cheery face will appear!

Thu 12 Jul 2018Read more…

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