The quirky length, the hilly route and the small, friendly field make it more enjoyable than your run-of-the-mill efforts over 10k, etc.
The 2013 vintage was not over the usual course due to a road closure just past Woodilee. However, the race organisers gleefully assured us that the trademark 12 hills (1 per kilometre) were still there. The nice.
The route instead was a straightforward out and back, with the back starting at the foot of the biggest hill in the race. Indeed, the Kirkintilloch 12.5k is well known for its hills. However, I have ran hillier runs, and tougher at that. The difference here is because the race is so short you hit the hills at a pace normally reserved for short, flat runs. You can count the flat sections on this course on one hand, but the good news is that with it being an out and back, for every hill you go up, you come back down it again at some point.
I’d gone into 2013’s race off of the back of a great 2012, starting with a 53:44 run at this very race 12 months previously. The first time I had gone under an hour. However, I expected to go quicker all being well. The question was how quick? Well, as it turned out, even quicker than I expected!
My aim at the start of the year was just a new PB. As time moved on I reckoned I could get under 51 mins. Then, in the two weeks leading up to the race I was going well, so literally an hour before the start I decided to go for 4 minute kilometres and if I could do that <50 mins was on. I was going for it and it was going to be tough.
As it was I started out quick (3:53, 3:45 & 3:59) in the opening quarter of the race. Knowing the course as I do I knew I would have a couple of kilometres >4 mins and 4 and 7 were to be those intervals. Other than that I kept to or under my target pace all the way through.
At halfway I was 24th; sad as it seems I counted it out as the runners past me on the way back. My aim was top twenty but I knew I was strong on the hills and that I was actually feeling as if I was running within myself. I was confident I would reel at least four in.
I was finding during the uphills I was strong, overtaking mainly and keeping my pace better than those around me. With the ultra training I have been doing this was to be expected but was still a welcome boost. On the downhills I struggled and I feel I need to work on my technique here.
Coming into the final 2km I was about 21st and could see someone walking ahead. That was nice (for me, not for them) and I knew that I would get into a top 20 position. Then, on the final uphill I overtook another few heads and settled into 17th place. Pleasingly, my last 1/2km was at a pace 30s ahead of my overall, showing at least a modicum of kick. This is despite running the last kilometre with a lace undone.
So, why didn’t I tie it?
Well, I knew I was tracking sub-50 mins and 30 seconds tying a lace could have been fatal to my time. I took the risk. And, it was worth it. I came in at 49:31, a full 4 mins and 13 seconds quicker than my 2012 PB. I was delighted, and still am as I write this. The full vital statistics from the race are:
Time: 49:31 (new PB)
Position: 17th (up from 43rd the previous year) & 2nd in the M35-39 category
% Position: 8.1% (17/214 finishers)
The Kirkintilloch Olympians, and in particular Robert Rogerson, should be congratulated on another high-value and superbly well run race. Robert boasted to me in October after the Antonine Trail Race that he’d not seen rain in over 20 races organised and as you can see from the picture above, his run has continued!
Finally, big shout out to Alison, Lynne, Barry, Scott and Des. Nice to meet some cool cats before the race and share the day with friends. It’s what it is all about after all.