Another scorcher greeted us for this year’s Helensburgh Half last Sunday. This race boasts a relatively flat course, from the town, out along Loch Long, back into the town then up the hill then back to the finish. It all sounds relatively straightforward. I had no great ambitions time-wise, though I noted my PB from last year – sub 1:30 – came from this race. Pace was quite brisk to start with – it is flat (out!) for about 4 miles, then you double back, experiencing a bit of a hill at the turning point. I managed to stay with a small group till this point, then it started to break up at the turn. A couple of the guys (from Ayr Seaforth) – made a bit of a break about 6 miles in, but I had slowly reeled them in by about 11 miles. There is a bit of a steady climb about mile 11, and this seems to take its toll on a few runners, and I capitalised on this and passed the Ayr runners, and managed to keep them at the back. Final time was 1:30:50 or thereabouts, nothing to get too excited about, but a good training run nevertheless and not much to report injury or pain-wise.
Wednesday saw the North Berwick Law Race, inexplicably, this is always a firm favourite, I don’t know why. Maybe its so short, the memory fades quite quickly. I decided to move a bit further up the start line, mainly so as not to get caught in the log-jam at the park entrance. This worked – I kept fellow Dunbarites, Stuart Hay and Ian Rowland in my sight for maybe the first 3/4 mile, and this provided some impetus. There is no scope for slacking – the first section along Quality Street is flat, then its a gradual climb to the foot of the law. From there on in its a case of head down, hands on knees and just grind on up. Conditions were hot and dry, great for a bit of confidence on the descent, but still, I was braking all the way down. I followed a wayward pack who dropped down the Law a slightly different way, but soon realised it was off course, and I lost a couple of places. I managed to make this up on the flat, and took a few more places down towards the park. There was a magnificent support crowd from the park entrance all the way to the finish, and this kept me going, oblivious to the fact that Frank McPartland from HELP was just 5 seconds behind me. Managed to shave off nearly 20 seconds from last year’s time at 25:30 or so.
Next up is Haddington Half tomorrow, in line with tradition, probably another scorcher.