▨ Jamie McHale

Coll Half Marathon

Running on a Scottish Island · August 2019

Last weekend I took a trip to the Isle of Coll, off the Scottish West Coast to run their half marathon with Gordon.

We caught the train (and bus rail-replacement service) up to Oban, and stayed in the hostel there for the night. The CalMac ferry leaves at 6am on Friday, so it was an early start.

The clouds and wind were there for our arrival, and we got soaked putting up our tents at An Criadh, the local community center. But the weather soon blew away, leaving us blue skies and sunshine for exploring some of the beaches.

We ate at the Coll Hotel for lunch, and then the Island Cafe for dinner, exhausting all the options that Coll has to offer.

The race day was windy, with a hint of rain starting out. The course starts down on the ferry dock, and loops south around the only road on the island. The wind was full in our faces for the first part of the race. It was really tough going.

Across the other side of the island, the return leg was much more pleasant. The route goes through a bird reserve, on a track through sand dunes.

The last part of the race was back into the wind, and the rain came down heavily in the last two minutes of my run. It was wet and difficult, but I was glad to have finished.

I made it around in 1:53:07.

That night there was a BBQ and Ceilidh at the community center, with lots of funds raised for the local community. We had a few beers to celebrate, and then back to the tents.

Breakfast was served up by locals the next morning, as we waited for the ferry home.

I managed to get a wee video of the travel and the run on my GoPro. Enjoy!