This event is a combination of various road races that get held on the streets of Glasgow in October on an annual basis. At first, the track got designed to be a marathon race where the contestants would compete based on the time taken to reach the finish line. The first of such games got held in the year 1979. However, over time, the organizers of the event saw it fit to change the function such that it would include shorter races which would attract more contestants and spectators.
Currently, the event hosts some races for children, a ten-kilometer road race as well as a half marathon. The decision of the organizers was prudent as more people are interested in attending the event. In the year 2013, over thirty thousand contestants showed up to showcase their running skills. Thanks to this kind of reach, it is the most significant mass-participation sports event in all of Scotland.
How it came to be
This event was initially known as the Glasgow Marathon in the year 1979 where contestants run the whole marathon distance in a bid to outdo each other’s time. They covered four loops which circled the core of the city.
The event was so challenging that it set the completion standard to be three hours. As such, only sixty-two runners were able to qualify for the race in its first year, and one hundred and forty-four participated in the second year, given the stringent qualification standards.
In the third year, the organizers decided to lower the standards, and with this decision, they saw an influx of the number of contestants. Over seven thousand athletes turned up in the third year once the ban got lifted. The race enjoyed this success rate up until 1988 when they realized that fewer people were showing up to participate in the marathon. They also faced problems such as reduced financial support from event sponsors and little coverage on television networks in the country.
Once again, the organizers had to make a change to the event to attract more people to it, and they cut the distance to half the marathon distance. This change was well received, and as such, they introduced a twenty-four point nine kilometers track to the event the following year to bring in more people. As they made this change, they also changed the name of the trail to Great Scottish Run.
The new distance was not popular with the seasoned athletes, and they began to pull out of the event. The organizers were quick to act on seeing this reaction, and they brought back the half marathon to ensure that the athletes kept coming to the function.
During 2016, there were concerns over the distance covered in the race. Athletes stated that the difference between what they read on their watches and what the organizers claimed was the distance they had run was one hundred and forty-nine meters. Investigations got conducted, and the allegations were proved correct. Unfortunately for Callum Hawkins, the record breaker for that year, he lost his well-deserved win thanks to an error in the set-up of the race.
Half marathon winners
Male past winners include Dave Lewis, Joseph Kibor, Mark Flint, Jason Mbote, Stephen Mokoka and Callum Hawkins. Previous female winners include Andrea Wallace, Joyce Chepchumba, Caroline Kilel and Peninah Arusei.
Contestants gather at the George Square where the race gets flagged off, and they make their way onto St. Vincent Street. From here, they head west into the city’s commercial hub, and they pass through Anderson. They then come to a slip road on the M8 motorway before crossing the River Clyde that is below the Kingston Bridge.
They then head on to the southern side of the city where they move through Kinning Park, on to the Pacific Quay before crossing the River Clyde once again, going back through Anderson and heading to McLennan to complete the race. The route got changed in 2013, following some observations by the organizers.
Since the beginning of this event, it has undergone various changes which have made it what it is today. What once attracted a handful of able athletes now gives hundreds of athletes a chance to nurture their talents competitively.