With Stirling Marathon organizers deciding to incorporate a Marathon and a Half Marathon to run for the first time on the same day finishing together, the three Jaguars who went up there including myself obviously never imagined how the finish would unfold. With myself and Rod Bye doing the Full Marathon starting at 8-30am (nice start time!) and Jackie Bye doing the Half starting 1 hr later at 9-30am start. The morning could not have been better weather at a fresh 5 degrees at 8am with only a mild breeze and broken cloud but sunny spells. The start of the Marathon was on the Main A84 Road with a backdrop of Stirling Castle! running though Doune, Dunblane and almost touching distance of the Wallace Monument not to forget the outstanding Scenery along the way. With Jackie standing on the sidelines waving me and Rod off in readiness for her own Challenge myself ad Rod set off Knowing the first 5 Miles were flat before the 7 Mile Hill challenge having driven the full course the previous day. With that on my mind before Mile one Rod had already pulled a gap from me, because of the Main Road the field opened up into a nice comfortable personal pace by the first Mile where i have found many previous big Prestige Races have restricted me for many Miles! As with all Marathons you carry your own remedies which you feel will personally get you through this challenge and at Mile 3 one of my gels fell from my belt and i had the split decision do i turn and collect looking backwards at it laying on the floor soon to be trampled by a marauding stampede of feet i thought bye bye gel ! For the next few Miles up to the hill my thoughts were lets keep this steady pace going and by mile 4 was steadily into a nice rhythm with many other runners it was at this point i caught the 3-30 pacer and thought Jesus i’m doing 7-30’s hes too fast but slowly drifted by him and a train of runners in behind. 5 MILES here we go stick in there i thought only to find each mile came and went on the climbs nicely and noticed with the Hill training i had put in slowly passing fellow runners. At Mile 8-9 i now had Rod ahead and slowly closing towards each other, also thinking to myself Jackie has now started!, at mile 9 was glad to be reunited with Rod and we ran almost together for next two and a half miles again passing odd runner here and there. By Mile 12 i realized Rod was no longer besides me and i was back in my own private battle again this time from Mile 13 down hill at speed i felt with a group of about 7 runners, myself and Rod both knew that we had Stirling University grounds to run around at Mile 16 and a roller-coaster type terrain to get through knowing it was reasonably flat until withing 2 miles of the end after coming out. For me it couldn’t have worked better i was running now besides two guys who were saying they were still on for a 3 hr 15 finish, i briefly commented i was trying to beat my 3-34 pb but at this stage it did not compute i was way inside this time! At Mile 18 we came to a roundabout just after passing Wallace Monument and turned left to go around a right handed almost  4 mile square course and it was here we were joined by the tail end of the Half Marathon runners and as my pace was close to 7-30’s was going past a lot of runners, almost at times having to shout runner behind on the narrow parts as 4 abreast filled the lanes. At Mile 21 i felt my first worrying niggle which was a similar feeling to Wymondham 20 only 4 weeks earlier of cramping left hand foot! Within about quarter a mile of slightly slower pace it had passed. At this point in all my previous Marathons i have always cramped somewhere and had to walk some and now thoughts of this started to plague my mind along with i wonder how Rods doing? Next 2 miles i just dug in and then at 23 my right hand calf muscle started going tight again dropping pace slightly rode the storm and then from 24 Miles realized i could actually do sub 3-15 GFA qualification for London Marathon! only to be caught out by hills in last mile and forgetting the 0.2 and extra bit you run in a Race. Just 50m from the finish i heard and saw Jackie bellowing at me come on Mel! That pushed me to the finish line looking at the clock it saying 3-17 something and still not sinking in! i collapsed over finish line only for British Red Cross to take me to recovery tent and overlook my recovery, it was at this point unknown to me Rod was finishing in 3-18-23 achieving a Pb, Diamond Standard and GFA Qualification for next years London Marathon (subject to time qualification). When out into holding pen area and chatting with Jackie she was only just outside her pb, but achieving also a Diamond Standard and brilliant 1-52-20. My final time was 3-16-51 which was a pb by 18 minutes! All three of us agreed that it was a superb event thoroughly recommended for all.




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Melvyn Porter3.16.51YES & New Age Group RecordGOLD
Rodney Bye3.18.23YRS & Good For AgeDIAMOND
Jackie Bye1.52.21DIAMOND