With just a few days to go, the excitement is building for the first long distance race to be held in Kirkcaldy for nearly 30 years.
The countdown has begun for the 1200 participants who will be stepping out this Sunday for the 2019 Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon.
The first 500 places were filled within days of entries opening earlier this year and the field gradually extended to the maximum of 1200.
The race, which has sold out, starts and finishes in the town’s Beveridge Park and takes in large parts of Kirkcaldy including Dunnikier Park, Ravenscraig Park, Fife Coastal Path, and Dysart Harbour before heading towards the waterfront.
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The warm-up - which will be carried out by fitness instructor Ben Smith from Gym 64 - will be at 9am in Kirkcaldy Rugby Club’s home ground before the race is officially started by Fife Provost Jim Leishman in the park at 10am.
A time of approximately three hours has been given for participants to finish the marathon with the prizegiving starting at noon to allow the fastest runners to receive their medals.
Presentations will then continue for the various category winners throughout the afternoon.
The half marathon has been the talk of the town these last few weeks and has sparked a boom in running too with many first-timers now pounding the streets in training.
But many of the runners are not novices including self-employed photographer Barry Moir.
The 47-year-old, who lives in the town’s West Torbain, just started running in July-August last year after the loss of two close family members made him take stock of what really matters.
He said: “I lost my dad and my wife’s dad within three months of each other, both due to lung issues. When something like that happens it makes you question your mortality and so last March I started going to the gym and I lost two stones within a month.
“We were going to Florida and I really wanted to lose the weight before I went. But after a while I got bored of running on the treadmill in the gym so I started running outside around Beveridge Park.
“My wife then decided to sign me up for the Edinburgh 10k in November as a gift and I found out more information on the Running Scotland Facebook page. This led Paul Frape from Kirkcaldy Wizards to reach out and offer guidance and advice for the 10k and running in general.”
After he completed the Edinburgh 10k, Barry then joined the Kirkcaldy Wizards which trains twice a week in the town.
As well as the Edinburgh 10k, Barry has also ran the Loch Leven Half Marathon and Path of Condie Half Marathon in Kinross, so he is well prepared for this Sunday’s event.
But Barry revealed that running has had a major impact on his life because as a result, he is changing his career.
He said: “I have been a self-employed wedding photographer for 15 years but running has really opened my mind so much that I am now going to university to study a four-year honours degree in mental health nursing in two weeks’ time. Running was the key to the change, it just made me re-evaluate everything.”
But in the meantime he is excited for Sunday: “I have ran the route in Kirkcaldy around six or seven times and there is a huge buzz on the Facebook group for the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon - I am really looking forward to it.”
Also looking ahead to this weekend’s event is Caroline Leckie from Kirkcaldy.
The 35-year-old works as a doctor at Victoria Hospital and ended up signing up for it after a friend and work colleague, Ailish Daglish, had to pull out of the event due to health issues.
Caroline said: “Ailish and her husband were both taking part in Kirkcaldy Half Marathon and the Great North Run and they were doing it to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. But because of health issues Ailish has had to pull out of the Kirkcaldy Half Marathon, although her husband is still doing it, and she asked if I would like to take her place.
“I did the Couch to 5k from February to April and then the 5k-10k with Jock Dryburgh between April and June. I found it a bit isolating running on my own so I joined the Kirkcaldy Wizards.
“It is an amazing group of people - the coaches give up their time for free every week and it caters for all abilities.
“Everyone who comes along just does their best and the group is very supportive.”
She added: “I am looking forward to Sunday but I am also a bit nervous. It is great the half marathon is happening locally and it will be such an achievement to complete it.”
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