Saturday last, a new Guinness world record was set in Perth, Ontario for the largest number of people running a race in kilts. In total, over 1, 000 runners participated, shattering the previous record of 250. This was probably the most fun race I’ve ever done.
For starters, finding the epicentre of the race wasn’t hard: all you had to do was follow anyone walking around in a kilt. The entire town looked like it had been taken over by a bunch of benevolent, kilt-wearing aliens.
Of course, some were a little more alien-like than others.
Said Mama Shuffler: “I feel underdressed”. I started having flashbacks to the uniform I wore at my all-girls Catholic grade school.
Everyone who was anyone had turned out including…
Various others were wearing red wigs, sporting Scottish tams or carrying broadswords. I met up with the rest of my running crew…
and we joked around about what we were (or weren’t) wearing under our kilts (some good-natured kilt-flapping occured both before and during the race). Around 5:45pm, we runners were ceremonially marched by a group of pipers to the start line where a miniature castle had been erected. The gun was fired and we were off.
This was one of the odder race courses I’ve ever done: we looped around the downtown area, effectively bringing us past the start line at the 2km mark and then headed out of town to run through Canada’s oldest golf course. The path through the golf course was a chalky, greyish substance than had recently become a chalky, greyish mud due to the rain earlier in the day. It had an oddly springy feel to it. Suffice it to say, my kilt will need to be washed before its next race outing. Bagpipers were stationed at various points along the course, which made for some much-needed mid-race entertaining. Also entertaining: Renée had brought her camera and kept darting ahead.
It was a pretty hot day and as usual, I was fighting of the stitches from mile 1. The worst moment had to be in the last mile when we rounded a corner and saw a banner overhead that was NOT the finish line. That’s cold, Perth, real cold. Still, it was a new PB for 5 miles: 56:43. As you can see, the team finished fast, strong and looking surprisingly attractive in our kilts:
Big kudos to Michael (my running buddy’s boyfriend) for choosing this race as his very first and finishing in a very respectable time.
This race had some of the best amenities I’ve ever seen. There were water stations almost every kilometer, which were much appreciated in the heat (and considering most of the runners were wearing two layers on the bottom). At the finish line, there were even cookies. There were also booths where one could, if one dared, purchase an entity known as “haggis chili”. We decided to dart into a pub instead for a much needed Scotch (just kidding: I would never rehydrate with hard liquor after a run. It was actually hard cider.) I’ve been trying in my last few races to single out at least one volunteer and thank them for their time and effort. This time, it was a lady volunteer who I overheard telling others that she got called a “mucking glitch” (or words to that effect) by a motorist. She took it in surprisingly good humour.
In summary, a wonderful time was had by all. If Perth chooses to another run next year, we will be there with bells and kilts on.