Position: 16th of 270 finishers
Traditional season opener. That’s how I would describe this race. It is probably my favourite race of the year too. 2014 saw it return to the traditional route after a hiatus last year due to building work in the Woodilee area.
Robert Rogerson, Race Director and Kirkintilloch Olympian, boasted to me once that he’d never put a race on that had succumbed to rain and once again the sun was splitting the trees as crowds gathered at the school to register. Unfortunately, the janitor had been taken ill so there was a need to hang around outside in the morning chill. Albeit we decamped to Brian’s car for a heat!
Before the race I managed to chat and see hello to a fair few familiar faces and a few of us posed for this photo.
I was number 2 this year, after being 1 in 2013. It seems Des was that bit quicker than me in entering in November. I’ll get him next year!
The course is often called hilly but really it is more undulating and is of speech bubble design with the first 3 or so kilometres also doubling up the finishing set. There are 12 hills on the route, none are absolutely lung bursting but there is enough about them to keep you working much harder than on a flat stretch.
So, my plan and aim was 50 mins. I got round in 49:31 last year on a different course and, importantly, my training since December has been all about distance, not speed. That said, I have a wee competitive streak in me and my biggest rival is myself.
I set off trying to keep it easy and thus started quite deep in the pack to avoid the temptation to chase some of the better runners. The first km goes flat to begin with then hits the first hill. Steady 4 min kilometres was the aim and after the first 3kms I was 24 secs ahead of pace but knowing the toughest section of the course was ahead. By 9km I was still 23s under 4 minute kilometres and felt ok so tried to push it for the last quarter of the race.
I managed to do kilometres 10 and 11 in 3:52 and 3:53 respectively. By my reckoning this put me on PB pace. I was 38 seconds inside 50 mins.
I lost a few seconds up the hill from 11 to 12 kilometres and then completed the last kilometre in 3:43 pace. But no PB alas. My watch measured 12.62 kilometres. But that doesn’t really matter. Coming in at 49:44 is just where I wanted to be right now.
I had great race, and spent all of it between 100-200 yards behind Gerry Craig. I just couldn’t reel him in!
Finishing 16th of 270 was really pleasing and actually 1 place up on 2013.
It was also great to see Barry, Scott and Barrie all smash their 12.5k and course PBs. Shows the training and miles have set them up for a good year ahead.
Lynne also did well and was only slightly outside of last year’s time despite much less training. I am sure she’ll feel it in the morning all the same.
A great race, a must do every year!