D-day for Great Scottish Run looms

Women outnumber men for first time in 10k

It’s less than three weeks until Scotland’s biggest running event, the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run, takes to Glasgow’s streets, with up to 30,000 expected to take part over the weekend of October 1 and 2

The countdown is on, and deadline dates are looming, but there is still time to sign up for the half marathon (13.1 miles).  Entries remain open until September 19.

If you miss the half marathon deadline, you can still get your trainers on and take part in the 10k – entries remain open for the shorter run right up until October 1.

And it seems more women than ever are choosing to run.

Last year’s Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run reported a higher number of women entering the 10k than men, (55% women and 45% male). Event organisers, The Great Run Company, said this was the first time the number of female entries exceeded those of their male counterparts at one of their events.

The Great Run Company is used to seeing throngs of women lining up to run and celebrating their successes. Another of their events is the Great Women’s 10k, which attracted over 6,000 women to run in Glasgow in June this year.

Reasons for women to run are wide and varied. The goals could be: to raise money for charity; beat personal bests; mark an occasion or a milestone; in memory of a loved one, a challenge, or purely for fun.

Some women run as individuals, while others run as a group, and everyone benefits from the camaraderie and community of an organized running event, which elevates the experience.

For Dundee-based triathlete Kirsten Koh, running is part of her DNA. It’s just something she does – and for her it’s become a personal challenge.

Five years ago Kirsten, 36, was involved in an accident with a lorry while cycling on her bike in her native Singapore.

She broke her pelvis, both femurs, ankles, left tibia, left shoulder and fibula and spent three months in hospital, and a further seven months in a wheelchair.

The sports psychologist didn’t think she would be able to walk again, never mind get back to the doing the sport she loved so much.

She said, “I was used to being active and independent, to be bound to a wheelchair was tough. I also lived in a high rise in Singapore and getting around and doing the simplest thing was really difficult”.

With a proactive approach and a steely determination, Kirsten devised her own rehabilitation programme. Her progress was slow and she experienced a few setbacks, but she got out of her wheelchair and built her strength up. Her first ‘race’ after her accident was the Singapore Sundown Marathon in 2012, which took her 10 ½ hours to walk (pictured).

Eventually she managed to get back to doing a triathlon – the ½ iron man in Western Australia which includes a 1.9k swim, 90k bike ride and a ½ marathon.

During her rehab Kirsten also had help and support from family and her partner, Edinburgh-born Orla, who is also her triathlon training partner, and who will be running with Kirsten in this year’s Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run half marathon.

Kirsten said, “I am pretty fit and healthy, I have come back strong and I am grateful for that. I have ongoing pain but I am learning to live with it. I am very lucky.”

Vairi Smith, Director of Business Development, The Great Run Company Scotland, said: “We hear so many amazing stories from our female runners, many of whom have overcome huge personal challenges. Every woman who takes part in our events is an inspiration. We’re delighted to see an upsurge in numbers, and we’d like to inspire even more women to sign up to an organized run and to experience the benefits. It gives a focus, a goal to aim for, and for the novice to the elite, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of proud achievement when you cross that finish line and collect your medal.”