Kopacs at NY Marathon finish line
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Kopac's Corner -

The Hinner End: The 2006 NYRRC Scotland Run

by Bob Kopac

"Oh! Yell take the high road and I'll take the low road, and I'll be at the Scotland Run finish line afore ye."

(Apocryphal Scottish running song)

The April 2, 2006 NYRRC Scotland Run was blessed with sunny spring weather. The race was part of Tartan Week, a NYC celebration of Scotland featuring music concerts, art exhibits, food events, and a parade. (See the http://www.tartanweek.com web site for more information.) This particular week was chosen for Tartan Week to commemorate the April 6, 1320 signing of the Declaration of Arbroath that demanded freedom from England. (See the http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/home/scotland/arbroath.html web site.)

Before the race, the announcer said 25% of all Americans had Scottish blood. I later checked the Internet and found a web site that said there are over 11 million Americans who claim Scots descent, so the percentage would be more like 3%. But, why quibble on Tartan Week? Besides, the percentage was 100% in spirit at the race; for example, some runners wore Scottish tams with bright red wigs, while Japanese and Korean runners carried Scotland flags or had the flag painted on their faces.

The pre-race lines for the face painting were longer than the lines for the portajohns. I had the Scottish flag painted on my cheek by Suzy Cunningham McNamara. Some young runners had the Scottish flag painted on their entire facemouth, nose, and eyelids. Ach, the folly of youth! Imagine halfway through the race when the sweat causes the paint to flow into their eyes, blinding them as they try to run. However, they still might be able to complete the race, if not by sight then by sound, since there would be a bagpiper at each mile marker.

I expected fast times, for the top male finisher would receive airfare, 2 nights accommodations and race entries for 2 persons to the September 3, 2006 Great Scottish Run Half Marathon or 10K. The top female would receive air fare, train fare, and 3 nights accommodations for 2 persons to the October 1, 2006 Baxters Festival of Running, featuring the Loch Ness Marathon or the River Ness 10K and River Ness 5K Fun Run.

I waited near the finish line for the first runners to arrive. Byde weill, betyde weill. (Everything comes to him who waits.) I did not have to wait long. Elmustafa Mchkirate (since it was the Scotland Run, perhaps it should be Mc Hkirate) of Astoria NY finished in 31:30, closely followed by Paul Mwangi of New Paltz, NY in 31:34 and by Robert Wong of Boston, MA in 31:43. Liam McCabe was the first finisher from Scotland. Liam, of Stirling, Scotland (site of the William Wallace Braveheart Battle of Stirling Bridge on September 11, 1297), finished in 39:55.

On the bonnie lass side, Michelle Rorke of Bronxville, NY finished in 35:49, followed by Victoria Ganushina of Brooklyn, NY in 36:29 and Julia Stamps of NYC in 37:16. The first female finisher from Scotland was Pamela Porteous of Ayrshire, Scotland in 51:40.

After that, the more interesting runners crossed the finish line. Several men and women wore kilts. Perhaps they were racing kilts? Some runners had large Scottish flags draped over their backs. Valerie Beckett of Poughkeepsie, NY wore a sign that asked, Got Haggis? The 5,126 finishers were greeted at the finish line by the Highland Cow and by the Porridge Men playing Celtic music.

After the race, there was a drawing for many prizes. The best was a free flight to Scotland for a race. That was followed by an energetic, albeit dusty, dancing of the Strip the Willow ceilidh. At the hinner end (in the long run), everyone at the NYRRC Scotland Run was Scottish, and all had a wee bit of fun.

Hudson Valley Finishers (Net Time):