A Single Snapshot: The Great Scottish Run That Wasn’t
Active travel is where it’s at.
For the longest time, I’ve fantasized about running in a road race abroad. I could just see myself: crossing the finish line, fists pumping, eyes blazing, heart thundering, and all of it happening against the backdrop of some of my favorite cities.
So when I began planning my trip to Scotland and I found out about the Great Scottish Run, an annual 10K and half-marathon road race in Glasgow at the beginning of September, I completely changed my travel plans so I could participate. Instead of arriving in Edinburgh mid-week as I’d originally planned to do, I decided to get into Glasgow a full five days earlier to make it in time for the race. Although I had my misgivings (I hadn’t been training for the race at all), I figured at worst I’d have to walk for parts of the course but I didn’t care. Here was an opportunity to strike an item from my travel “bucket list” and achieve one of my dreams.
But it was not to be. Missing my flight into the UK all but destroyed any chance I had at running the race, and when I finally did arrive in London and discovered that my luggage (which contained my running gear) didn’t make the trip with me, all hope was lost.
So I completely missed the race. I finally arrived in Glasgow on Sunday evening, hours after the race had been run. I got a little lost looking for the taxi stand at the bus station but when I finally found it, I was incredibly fortunate to get Andy (who’s gotta be the friendliest taxi driver in all Glasgow) as my taxi driver. I felt withdrawn and depressed by my run of awful luck, but Andy’s warm demeanor and wide smile drew me out of myself. When I mentioned to Andy that I was in town for the race but missed it, he looked at me through the rearview mirror, pointed a finger to his chest proudly and told me that he’d run the race. On our way to the guest house, he took me past George Square where the race had begun, and where the bright blue race banners still hung overhead. Andy told me all about the course (oh, gawd–hills!) and finished his story by declaring that he’d run the race for both of us.
In that moment, missing the race didn’t feel so bad after all.
Andy, if you ever stumble across this post–thanks. You were the first bright spot of my trip.
What are some of the best road races worth traveling for? Any traveling runners out there willing to comment on their favorites?