Dunoon’s Run & Ride event

web_Dunoon run & ride

Entries have opened for the second Dunoon Run & Ride. We find out what this fun event is all about.

The first Dunoon Run & Ride took place in 2015 and on 2 April it returns to the beautiful Cowal Peninsula. The event is unusual because it is multi-stage and combines a number of shorter timed cycling and running stages with relaxed “catch-up” sections.

The first part of the No Fuss Event is a 31-mile road cycle that follows the format of a sportive and includes three time trial sections.

There will be a King of the Mountains bike climb of approximately two miles, followed by a three-mile and five-mile time trial.

After a break to regroup with friends and fellow competitors, the run starts. The 9.1-mile route has road, trail and track and includes four timed stages, including:

  • 2.8 miles: Flat
  • 0.8 miles: Undulating
  • 800m: Sprint
  • 2.6 miles: Hilly

We spoke to some of last year’s competitors to find out what to expect.

web_Dunoon ride & run. Stpehen, left, and Sean right pic credit Stephen MacIntyre

Friends enjoy ‘relaxed’ racing

Stephen MacIntyre and Sean Webster, pictured left, both from Glasgow, enjoyed a laid back “race”. The friends were, in fact, the last to start the ride course.

Sean says: “We knew that only certain sections of the ride were timed so we decided to start a bit later and enjoy the experience. We were certainly a lot more relaxed than many others because we started the event last!”

Having never taken part in an enduro-style event before, the pair cycled both the timed stages and the non-timed sections fairly hard. Sean says: “Next time we will learn from our experience of 2015’s event. I think we will start earlier and really take it easy on the non-timed sections so that we can properly race the timed stages.”

Stephen found the hill climb the toughest section of the overall ride. He says: “The hill climb was a real killer but the view from the top made it worth it.”

The return ride to Dunoon included another timed section. Stephen recalls: “That stage was pretty brutal because it included a headwind with horizontal wind. Somehow the palm trees of Dunoon seemed rather out of place.”

Riders then regrouped at Dunoon before changing into running kit and setting out on the run section of the race.

Sean says: “It is a great format because the timed sections mean that friends can do their own thing and race to their own abilities then wait up for their slower partner at the end of each section.”

Because Stephen and Sean started late they did not have a lot of time between the ride and the run but next time they plan to enjoy a “more relaxed ride-to-run lunch”. Stephen says: “If you time it right in this event there would be nothing to stop you spending as long as you wanted between the cycle and run, even stopping for a sit-down meal somewhere.”

Stephen reckons the run was the best part of the event. He says: “Like the ride earlier in the day, the entire run is split into a few timed sections. I really enjoyed this because there was a great deal of variety.

“There were different surfaces and terrains to run on, including some tricky trails up through a caravan park before a longer non-timed section to the Dunoon Stadium, an then another timed section of 800m on the blaze track.”

Keen to log a decent sprint time on the track, Stephen and Sean stopped beforehand at a local shop to re-fuel with cola and chocolate!

During the next non-timed section, Stephen and Sean caught up with many of the other runners. Stephen says: “These other runners included members of the Dunoon Running Club. They were keen to wax lyrical about the off-road trail running and mountain biking opportunities on the Cowal Peninsula. Sean and I said we would be keen to come back to try more of these.”

The final timed section included an uphill trail run before a fast descent to the shore and finish line in the town centre. Sean says: “It was a great event and we both said how much we enjoyed the format. It is a brilliant way to race with friends because you can catch each other up in the non-timed sections. We plan to take part again in April.”

web_Dunoon ride & run pic credit Stephen MacIntyre

The husband and wife team

Monique and David McIntosh, both 32, of Edinburgh, took part in the Dunoon Ride & Run as a team. While Monique did the running, David did the cycling sections.

Monique was keen to take part in the event as a way of “getting back into running”. She says: “I had given birth to our daughter eight months before and hadn’t really done much exercise. Also, I’m not really much of a cyclist, but I decided to persuade David to do the cycling so we could compete as a team.”

Monique admits that she she was a bit over-competitive. She says: “I am quite a competitive person and so I liked the idea of the timed running sections. But I have to be honest and say I pretty much ran the whole race like one long race because the weather wasn’t so good and I wanted to get out of the rain.

“I definitely wouldn’t take this approach again though because it does nothing for getting you a good time in the timed sections. It would be better to take it easy in between the timed stages.”

web_Dunoon ride & run pic credit Stephen MacIntyre 2
The couple plan to enter again in April. Monique says: “I’ve managed to twist David’s arm and get him to take part in the cycle again as part of my team. I know there’s a pretty steep hill on the cycle route, which just about finished him off last year, so it’s something for him to conquer this year.”

Monique reckons the event is good for all types of people. She says: “I would say anyone could take part in the Ride & Run. There are a couple of steep sections in both the run and cycle but these can be easily walked.

“The timed sections are there if you’re serious about the competition and if not, you just do your best and recover during the sections in between. I know it sounds cheesy but, for me in this kind of event, it’s the taking part that really counts. It’s just a bit of good fun.”

Monique also liked the race location. She says: “I grew up in Dunoon and my family still live there. It was just really nice to visit ‘home’ and then take part in a race that covered routes I’ve run on my own lots of times before.

“Dunoon has such great scenery and really is beautiful. Unfortunately, the weather on the day of the race last year was pretty awful but it was brilliant to see how many people still came along to take part as well as those supporting others. The atmosphere was great even if the weather wasn’t. I hope it will be kinder to us this year.”

Enter the Dunoon Run & Ride.

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