Perth 8K Kilt Run
Race Review by Dan Langer
On Saturday, June 20, 2015, Perth entered the Guinness Book of World Records when more than 2,600 kilted runners showed up and ran.
The 8K is only one event on a day dedicated to all things Celtic. There are shorter distances for children of all ages to enter that are run throughout the afternoon with the main event going at 6:15 pm. For the more adventurous, the 8K has a Warriors division; the easy part is carrying a plastic sword and wooden shield for the whole race. All events require a kilt for each runner.
I found this event to be well run. Since all runners require a kilt, if you do not own your own family tartan then the race organizers have arranged for kilt rentals. Fortunately, I have my own kilt. The kilt rental and kit pick up was efficient. There was no expo, but the race is organized by the local running store, The Running Goat. In the event that you get to town and have forgotten something they have you covered.
I mentioned a day dedicated to all things Celtic. Festivities begin at 2 pm at both the Crystal Palace and Stewart Park. Music plays a large part of the day. Some of the activities include the Canadian Haggis Hurling Championships. Anyone can enter as there is no regular season or playoffs in haggis hurling. Each contestant must stand atop a barrel and heave a ball of haggis as far as they can. There is also an oatmeal cookie contest and people in period costume demonstrating arts of medieval warfare. Did I mention that at 3pm there are free samples of whiskey, scotch whiskey. And lots of music all day long. Post run there are free samples of beer from the Perth Brewing Company. There should be a different haggis hurling contest after the run if you had all the samples and some haggis.
For the main event, we gathered in corrals separating those who expected to finish in less than 50 minutes from those who would finish in more than 50
minutes. We were escorted to the start line by pipe and drum bands. This involved a walk of about 1.6kms and served as a good warm up and mood setter. The route itself seemed somewhat circuitous and took us through many Perth neighbourhoods and along many streets of the historic downtown area. There are not many hills to worry about on this course and plenty of well manned water stations. Sadly, I did not see one porta pottie at any of the water stations or along the course. So make sure you make good use of those by the start. Most of the race is on streets but around the 6K mark we leave the road for gravel and enter a trailer camp ground. This is where the Warrior adventure begins. The first challenge was a tire obstacle run. Shortly after this the warriors had to throw a war hammer. Then on to the caber toss. The final challenge had the warriors crossing a river to a small island. They could wade through the water or try to keep their running shoes dry by making their way to “Scotch Island” by going hand over hand on the line suspended over the river. Once on the island they had to ring a bell and then make their way back to the mainland to finish the race.
The race finishes by covering some of the historic streets again and to the cheers of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
The fun does not end with the race though. After the free samples from the Perth Brewery you can enjoy more of their finest brews while listening to more Celtic music. There are prizes for all age group winners. The large crowd stayed for the drawing of the free trip to Scotland. I did not win it.
This is definitely a race to put on your summer schedule and a day the entire family can enjoy. Next year the organizers are planning on adding a half and full marathon event. Check out their early bird pricing for both of these events.
If you plan to attend next year I would suggest you book accommodations early.