Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Shopping For Races!

It’s the time of year when runners everywhere are looking beyond the Festive season and well into 2017 in order to plan their racing year ahead. After an unstructured year in 2016 (in more ways than one!) I have embraced forward planning once more, and thrown myself and my credit card full-heartedly into ‘ballot season’ this year. Here’s what I’ve got planned so far:

The D33 Ultramarathon – March 11th

d33 ultra
Surprise, surprise; I’ll be kicking off my 2017 season with my first and favourite festival of flat racing, the D33. This will be my 5th (whaaat?!) crack at this race and I have an early, flexible goal of getting under 5 hours. It’s not open yet, but when it does I’ll be ready to commit.

The John Muir 50k – April 1st

john muir ultra

A new-to-me race which is a mere 20 minute train-hop away from Central Edinburgh. I’m looking forward to trying a new route and will enjoy a gentle jog around this one.

The Cateran Trail Ultramarathon 55 Miler – May 13th

cateran trail ultra

I am so excited to run this race for the second time. When I ran it in 2014 I had the toughest ultra experience I had ever endured at the time, and had to push through a challenging amount of pain and mental difficulties. I’m very hopeful that I’ll be in much better shape and will cruise to a massive PB.

The Strathearn Marathon – June 11th

strathearn marathon

I was getting a bit click-happy on Entry Central and saw this one was open, so I thought ‘why not?’. I had a great time this year, and now I know the course I will be able to execute a strong race as my last long run before the…

Great Glen Ultramarathon – 30th June/1st July

Glreat Glen Ultra logo

I haven’t entered this one yet, as I’m not made of money and between Christmas and these race entries I am haemorraging my pay check. Thankfully it fills up slowly, so this one will be on my entry list come January. Much like with the Cateran, I’ll be looking to improve on my 2014 time. That year I struggled with an ITB injury from 20 miles in and eventually made it home in 17 hours 40mins. I can do a lot better.

Devil o’the Highlands – August probably, not open yet.

Devil o the Highlands Footrace

This is another race which I feel I have unfinished business with. I’d like to race it rather than run it, and see how I perform on the top half of the West Highland Way. My instinct is twitching at me saying that this is maybe too much and that I should leave it ’til another year, but I’ll make that decision when entry opens next year. Unfortunately it looks very likely that entry will be via a ballot system, which is the fairest way to do things, but makes planning that little bit harder when the decision on whether you get to run or not is taken out of your hands.

Glenmore 24 – 2nd September


Both Kynon and I are signed up for our second crack at the 12 hour event. I was briefly tempted by the new challenge of the 24, but I remember how utterly glad I was to finish after 12 hours in 2014 and can’t see that changing this year. I’d like to reach 60 miles – I came close-ish in 2014, but I lost the will to live in the last 2 hours and stopped pushing for speed as it was cold and wet and I basically had trenchfoot.

Chicago Marathon – 8th October


Yet another World Marathon Major ballot to be rejected from… what can I say? I’m just going to keep trying and sooner or later I will be allocated a place or will get fast enough for a Good For Age place. At the rate I’m going at, I think I have more chance of casually bashing out a 3:45 than getting a General Ballot place for any World Major… (this is me attempting to tempt fate one way or the other)

That’s about as far ahead into the future that I can see right now. If, as I predict, I am unsuccessful in the Chicago ballot, then I am quite interested in taking a little trip to Hamburg for their marathon in April. It’s flat, and if I hit it healthy and hard, then a PB might be in order. If it’s enough to score a London Good For Age time, then you’ll finally hear the end of my griping about the London Ballot!

In all seriousness though, I do need to address my soft marathon PB which at 3:58:30 is now over three years old. I have progressed so much as a runner in the intervening years and I haven’t trained ‘properly’ for a long road race since then, due to my desire for distance being greater than speed. I know the endurance work I’ve done since 2013 can translate into a great marathon time if I apply the correct targeted training, so I’m keeping everything crossed that the ballot fairies say yes to RedWineRunner in Chicago. If not, then race shopping in Europe shall commence!

Fingers crossed!

What have you got planned for 2017?
Are you waiting on any ballot results?
Where should I go in Europe to run?



  1. A very impressive calendar for 2017
    Don’t worry you are in good company with world major ballot rejections (already bombed out of London & Berlin again) Too much else on this year to go for any of the US majors ….but next year!
    My calendar is looking like Paris marathon, GU36 (Guernsey coastal ultra) and my first, Loch Ness marathon and a few more to slot in around them

    • I didn’t go in for Berlin this year; I would do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat if the opportunity came up, but for now it’s ticket off the list and I seek new horizons.
      Loch Ness is cracking – I really need to go back and hit that again. Must look up when it is as I could slide that one in too maybe…

  2. Looks like a fun filled year! I’m crossing my fingers for the CCC ballot….if that fails I think Great Glen is high on my agenda to revisit!

  3. A good selection of races there. Will marshall D33 again and have madly signed up for G24. Only reason is to give myself enough time to do the mileage I am after. See you there xx

    • I saw you on the G24 list! I’m looking forward to cheering you on in the second half of the race and seeing you crush an awesome distance! I’m just not sure the 24 hour timed situation is for me – I did not like the place I ended up in after 12 hours, so I will stick to that for now.

  4. So far Glasgow to Edinburgh, Budapest Spring Half (got to be one of the best cities to run in) , Highland Fling, Great Glen Way are entered. Will do D33 and hopefully also Tiree Ultra and Devil. Looking at maybe Reykjavik Marathon (looks to be part of a really cool festival).
    Knocking 10 minutes of marathon time would give me a good for age time for London and also decent chance at Boston ballot, maybe a nice flat fast marathon somewhere too. Realistically not going to get down to 3hrs 05mins for New York.
    It’s getting so expensive and I’m using up far too many holidays to go running 🙁

    • It’s such a pain our employers can’t accommodate our sporting pursuits eh? Luckily most of mine won’t involve more than a long weekend at most but if we get into Chicago then I think that will be our big holiday of the year

  5. Hope you both get in to Chicago you’ll love it xx

  6. Looks like a fantastic year for you! Great intentions set and some redemption opportunities for some of the repeat races. Fingers crossed for Chicago!

    Have you ever looked at the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon in Iceland? 55K through some stunning scenery. A friend of mine did it this past year, and it’s definitely on my bucket list for international races!

    • I’ve heard of Laugavegur but have always had reservations about the weather. Some friends did the marathon there last summer and experienced some nasty weather, but with the right kit it would be fine I’m sure. I’ve never been to Iceland!

  7. What a brilliant looking list, I’ve really enjoyed my Scottish jaunts the last couple of years and the Skye Trail Ultra is highly recommended in May (I’m fancying a return visit in 2018) but if you’re looking for something special in Europe I’d recommend the SainteLyon which is an amazing race in December and I believe the second oldest ultra marathon in the world.

  8. Crazy how popular this wee game we enjoy has become that ballots have become the norm. Even volunteering at an event is now oversubscribed (a huge positive). Reckon after a tremendous 2016, my focus will be more around a return to low key races ….with the odd bigger event that doesn’t require you to sit counting down seconds or waiting nervously to find out if you are in. As always, look forward to seeing you trailside!

    • It’s so bizarre; I’ve only been in the game since 2011 and the scene is unrecognisable for the most part. I think the ballots are the fairest way to do it (because first past the post racing should only happen outside!) but what a pain in the arse it must be for RDs.
      Glad to hear you’re happy with your year; hopefully our paths will cross again soon!

  9. Got my traditional rejection from London, but it doesn’t matter since I’m headed back to Paris again. Not only do I love the race, but I have some unfinished business there as I ran a 4:05 in 2014 but for various reasons haven’t been able to challenge it since. Now I want that sub-4…

    Not made my Autumn plans yet but it might be Loch Ness. Again, unfinished business as my current record is entered: 2, run: 0!

    Good luck with all your challenges in 2017.

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