22 Oct

‘Beautifully structured and well-paced with a great finish’: the Dramathon returns

The second Speyside Single Malt Whisky Marathon, or, as it’s better known, The Dramathon, took place on Saturday (20 October). 

This unique trail event sends runners through the beautiful landscapes and whisky-making heritage of Speyside, with the added bonus of collecting miniatures of single malt from participating distilleries after completing their races.

Like last year’s inaugural event, the 2018 Dramathon was sponsored by Speyside malts Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, Tamdhu and The Balvenie, plus Aberlour-based Walkers Shortbread. Joining them this year were guest whiskies Loch Lomond and cult Japanese malt Chichibu, who also put forward four marathoners.

Around 1500 runners took part in the various events which made up Saturday’s Dramathon – all of which were sold out. The routes ran mostly along the scenic Speyside Way, with the marathoners getting the pleasure of a detour though the grounds of Ballindalloch Castle.  

The full marathon started at Glenfarclas Distillery, the half marathon started at Tamdhu Distillery and the 10k in the heart of whisky country itself, Aberlour. In addition to the individual events, there was also a 4 x 10k relay race, contested by teams from several distilleries as well as running clubs and social groups. All three routes converged near the finish line, located at the premises of the main sponsors, Glenfiddich Distillery.

Alan Semple (2:29:48) collected first prize in the feature marathon men's race and Shona Young (3:27:10) was fastest lady. Jonny Muir, author of The Mountains Are Calling, finished fourth overall and seemed pleased with his haul of 'miniatures'.

The Dramathon continues to attract an international field. About 20% of Saturday’s runners came from overseas, including Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa and the United States. Around 30% came from North-East Scotland, another 30% from the rest of Scotland and the remaining 20% from the rest of the UK.

The race also seems to have built up a bit of a loyal following, with a 200-strong training group on Strava and unofficial after parties popping up – and selling out. The race was also covered by the Adventure Show, a sure sign of making the big time.

But despite the event’s increasing appeal and international profile, it is staying true to its Speyside roots. The organisers of the Dramathon told runABC Scotland, ‘We continue to work with local firms, charities and social enterprises. Inverness-based firm Darach again made our unique finishers’ medals – from whisky barrel staves – and the social enterprise The Workshop Aberfeldy helped print designs on them. The charities Logan’s Fund and MND also benefitted from free places.’

Draft results are available on the Durty Events website.  

Image: Courtesy Andy Upton