IT’S taken three months to get here and it will be over in under two hours (if everything goes according to plan), but what a great way to travel. Seven miles an hour. One foot in front of the other. River, forest, field, and track. I have to say: I’ve rarely been happier.

Was I expecting to feel this way? Possibly not. I’m not a natural runner, and, although I’ve done a few 10ks, I was nervy about training for my first half-marathon. Runner friends encouraged me though. Half-marathons are special, they said, tough but special. And wait til the endorphins and the endocannabinoids and the oxytocin kick in, it’ll feel great. They were right. It was. And they did.

The half-marathon I chose to do was The Dramathon, a relatively new event in Speyside (you can also do a10k or full marathon). The nice twist is that the run passes some of the distilleries that make this part of Scotland famous and all the runners are rewarded with a few miniatures of whisky at the end. A joke becomes inevitable. How do you make a Scotsman take part in a race? Put a distillery at the end of it.

The half marathon starts at Knockando, one of the old railway stations that survives from the Speyside line that closed in the 1960s, and as it gets closer to the start time, all the runners gather down at the point where the train lines used to be. We shunt closer and closer together like railway carriages, waiting for the klaxon to go. This is one of the best moments of any running event: the communal buzz before you start.

Am I ready for it? I think so. I’ve been training for three months, using the Map My Run app which lays out a plan and keeps a track of your distance and times. I’m also a member of Glasgow FrontRunners, whose sessions focusing on strength and conditioning have been a big help. One of the breakthroughs I made during the training was learning to control my breathing. I’ve also realised that pain and discomfort often, counter-intuitively, fade as you get further into a run. And after a while, as I trained in Ayrshire and Glasgow (and for a few wonderful days, Venice), I was able to focus less on my body and more on the scenery as it scrolled past.

The scenery, it has to be said, is one of the great attractions of the Dramathon. I love an urban run (especially when you come across bits of a city you didn’t know were there) but in Autumn, in Scotland, you’d struggle to find a better route than the Dramathon’s. All around us, the trees are in the middle of their facelift from green to brown, and, behind them, the river Spey is burbling past a little bit slower than we are, and behind that, the hills. The landscape is cheering us on.

The idea of running through Speyside was one of the motivations for the two men who came up with the idea of the Dramathon, Ian King and Jon Dunderdale. Ian tells me they came up with the concept over a few drams. “Jon is into whisky, I'm into running,” says Ian, “and one day we had the idea of mixing the two.”

This year’s event has been a great success, says Ian, but the aim is to keep it fairly small scale. “People tell us they enjoy the friendly atmosphere and we don't want to change that,” he says. “Conditions were a wee bit more challenging this year with some proper Scottish weather but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits.”

I have to say: I agree. There was a bit of rain, there was a bit of mud, and running does include some low points, and discomfort, and little voices in your brain that say ‘you don’t have to do this’. But the rewards are great: the glorious route along the Spey, the sense of completion and being ready, and the endorphins and the endocannabinoids and the oxytocin, especially in the last few minutes. I can feel it in my veins and my brain and my heart. Seven miles an hour. One foot in front of the other. River, forest, field, and track. It was worth it.

Next year's Dramathon is on Saturday 17th October. Entries open on January 2nd. For more information, visit For information on GlasgowFrontrunners, visit There is a similar group in Aberdeen: