7th November 2014
Kenneth Stewart’s 100th Marathon – October 2014
Running 26.2 miles on a Monday morning is not everyone’s idea of a Bank Holiday treat. For Perth Road Runners’ (PRRs) Kenneth Stewart, the last Monday in October was the culmination of a long held ambition – to complete 100 marathons. Kenneth completed his awe inspiring 100th marathon in Dublin in a time of 03:56:45. Running in the kilt, and with his trademark sprint for the line, Kenneth finished the race in style in his 8th marathon of the season.
Kenneth caught the running bug in Australia in 1980 where he took part in his first road race, the City 2 Surf from the centre of Sydney to Bondi Beach. Running in tennis shoes, along with 4,000 competitors, Kenneth got hooked on the buzz when the city comes alive with supporters, runners and goodwill. Kenneth says, “the supporters and spectators make a marathon, being cheered along the way by thousands of people, the buzz is contagious.”
Always racing in the kilt outside the UK, Kenneth enjoys long distance running around the world taking in marathons in Barcelona, Turin, Amsterdam, London, Dublin, Malta and Lanzerote. “The kilt adds 3 minutes/hour to the time but it’s worth it for the camaraderie and banter” added Kenneth. Closer to home, Steve Ferguson recalls
“Kenny used to turn out every year and run the Cateran Trail Race – the full individual event over 23 miles which, while short of the official marathon distance, is probably considerably tougher than most marathons. As if it wasn’t hard enough Kenny used to run the race in the kilt – a proper heavyweight wool kilt. This particular year the weather was appalling with heavy rain all through the race which of course Kenny’s kilt soaked up, adding I’d guess a couple of kilos to the weight he was already carrying. Kenny persevered for around 4 and a half hours and finished the race exhausted. However, the experience didn’t appear to traumatise him as Kenny turned up the next year in the same kilt and chalked up another epic run as a great ambassador for the club. Kenny’s determination and strength of character, his penchant for adding something special to an event, is how he continually raises the profile of Perth Road Runners.”
Kenneth’s PB time of 03:12 was achieved on Scottish soil in the Inverclyde marathon in 1994. By the Year 2000 Kenneth had clocked up 50 marathons, this achievement became the catalyst for setting a target of running 100 marathons.
Dublin became a favourite, with the 2014 edition being Kenneth’s 6th in the Emerald Isle. On home turf Kenneth is a member of the prestigious All Years Edinburgh (AYE) Club as one of a handful of runners who have completed all 12 marathons since inception in 2003. Kenneth has also contested all 10 Loch Ness marathons. Uniquely, Kenneth is the only person who has completed all Edinburgh and all Loch Ness marathons.
Fellow club members at PRRs are quick to say that Kenneth is consistently gives support and encouragement to people at all levels of running. He paces club members in races to achieve their PBs and never passes you on the road without a word of encouragement.
Beth Gripton comments “Kenneth paced me around Belfast City marathon in May this year. I had been inching closer to 4 hours in the marathon and was determined to break the 4 hours barrier. Kenneth encouraged me when I needed it especially from 20 miles. When we finally reached 26 miles and I realised a PB was about to happen we sprinted for the line finishing at 3:56:44. Kenneth’s belief and encouragement helped me achieve my sub 4. I have run many races with him; whether he overtakes and tells me I’m running well or whether he is on the race route supporting all the runners, I can always count on Kenneth to cheer me on.”
Colin Wilson pays a similar tribute. “When I decided I was ready to run my 1st marathon in 1993 Kenny already had a few under his belt. I picked the Loch Rannoch Marathon for my debut and Kenny was also entered. I will always remember that rather than do his own thing Kenny ran with me, helping to keep the pace steady but still letting me dictate how fast we went. He never pushed it too hard which could have caused me to blow up but at the same time was always there encouraging and stopping me from drifting off the pace without good reason. Once we had about 22 or 23 miles in the bag and he knew I was in good enough shape to finish safely he took off and had a blast to the end on his own, only after asking if I minded. I finished in 3:23 and was absolutely delighted to break 3 ½ hours in my first attempt at the distance and much of the credit for this goes to Kenny, something I will always remember and be grateful for.”
Another trademark of Kenneth’s on the home circuit is his pink shorts. Jimmy Fotheringham quipped that he has never seen anyone finish a marathon faster than Kenneth “it is a scary sight for anyone nearing the finishing line seeing Kenny in pink shorts flying past you!”
On advice for marathon runners Kenneth is an advocate of a jelly baby at every mile from 13 onwards. And it’s not all been a bed of roses, another top tip is to avoid All Bran the night before and on the morning of the marathon!
With his 100th marathon under his belt, Kenneth’s plan now is to work back from 100. “I know people who are working towards their century, so I’ll pass each of them on my back down” Kenneth said. Paying tribute to fellow club member Bob Brown’s epic 127 marathons Kenneth sees Bob’s achievements as the way to go. With his London 2015 place already secured and an ambition to continue to be the only contester of all Edinburgh and Loch Ness marathons, Kenneth will continue to be a marathon guru on the Scottish racing scene. Kenneth’s achievement of notching up 100 marathons is an inspiration to his fellow PRRs, who add their congratulations to all the others.
14th November 2014
Following a successful championship season, PRRs put their racing legs to the test again in a spate of autumn races far and wide.
Two weeks after the triumph of York Marathon, Beth Gripton and Sue Jones crossed the border to run the famously tough Northumberland Castles Marathon starting in the historical town of Alnwick following the coastal route to Bamburgh Castle. Contesting their 6th and 16th marathons respectively, Beth and Sue abandoned the garmins as the deceptively scenic route revealed a second half with long hills straight into the wind which destroyed the legs and any chance of PBs. The Perth due were happy to finish together in 04:43.
On the northern side of the border 3 green vests ventured to Jedburgh for the weekend running festival. Simon Grieshaber opted for the half marathon and did well to finish in a solid 01:39:48 in windy conditions on the undulating course. Chris Paton and Barry Campbell took on the Three Peaks Ultra Marathon Race. The 38-mile route is a mixture of road, track, path and hill running and passes through some beautiful Border countryside. Chris was elated to finish in 08:04:41 with Barry less than a minute later in an excellent 08:05:23 despite leaving his food bags at the start of the race!
PRRs veteran Neil Muir finished his marathon running season with the very tough Glen Ogle 33 Mile Ultra Marathon on 1 November. With rain and flooding taking its toll the race route was reversed, starting and finishing in Killin. Neil ran a very good race finishing in a competitive 04:44:33. The icing on the cake for PRRs was Robin Wombill’s picking up silverware in the form of 2014 recipient of the GO33 Endeavour Award.
Seven PRRs travelled eastwards for the 30th Templeton Ten Road Race run on undulating country roads on the outskirts of Dundee. Duncan Ryan was the first man home for Perth in a time of 01:05:45 scooping 2nd male vet prize and 16th position overall. Runner up for Perth was Jimmy Fotheringham in a competitive 01:08:57. Davie McFadyen made up the Perth top three in an excellent 01:15:06. Simon Grieshaber put in a season’s best performance at 01:16:18 followed by Barry Campbell and Bob Brown neck and neck at 01:21:39 and 01:21:42 respectively. Sonjia Crow ran an excellent race in 01:27:02.
In the Angus glens, Simon Grieshaber completed his triple whammy at the notoriously tough Glen Clova Half Marathon on 7 November in an excellent time of 01:37:56, his PB for the course. Ewan Jelly put in a strong 01:38:38 and Bob Brown at 01:48:51 was first male vet over 70 years.
Beth Gripton and Sue Jones, Northumberland Castles Marathon
Barry Campbell and Chris Paton, Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra Marathon
Neil Muir, Glen Ogle 33 Mile Ultra Marathon