For the sports lovers among us the weekend of 4 and 5 August is one to write in your diary. Two interesting sporting events take place in this weekend on Islay, one for the runners and one for the cyclists:
Running: On Saturday 5 august The Islay Half Marathon will take place. The half marathon started in 1986 and involves a 13 mile 192yd run from the village of Bowmore on Islay out to the Airport and back in a circular route. Last years winner was Billy Richardson from West Kilbride and best Islay runner was Robbie Campbell from Bridgend. The day will finish off with a licensed dance held in Bowmore Hall starting at 9.30pm until 1 am. Entry forms can be downloaded from the official Islay Half Marathon website.
Cycling: Sunday 6 august is the day of the annual Gran Fondo d'Ardbeg on Islay. The ride takes cyclists past five distilleries and incorporates a half-way stop at The Old Kiln Cafe at Ardbeg distillery and finish at Debbies Mini Market at Bruichladdich. The Gran Fondo is a 'come-as-you-are' ride so anyone can join this charity ride for the benefit of the Braveheart Fund. A sponsor form can be downloaded here and a nice illustrated poster map of the route is available as pdf. More information comes available closer to the date on Brian's website
On top of all that the Scotsman recommended Islay as one of the best places to run in Scotland. 'Long sandy beaches, like Machir Bay, or those around Loch Gruinart give calf muscles a tough workout. Finish with a cool-down jog through the chilly Atlantic surf. But the best thing about running on Islay comes later - a couple of tots of single malt.'