Laptop broke down last week - one expensive repair later we are back in business and here is my delayed report on the Helensburgh Half Marathon last Sunday.
Having not raced since June and my training being a bit hit and miss over recent weeks, I was a little apprehensive about this race and wasn't sure what to expect. I ran 1.22.41 here last year before going on to run 1.20.19 at Glasgow a month later and so I hoped to run a little faster and would have been very pleased with 1.21. That would have meant I was well on target for a sub 1.20 at Glasgow on 4th September. I decided to start off quite conservatively and ran the first few miles with VPCoG club mate Gerry Craig who was using the race as part of his preparations for the Scottish 100km Championships in September. The first few miles went to plan- I could see my main rivals for the V50 prize up ahead and we were slowly catching them I was on their shoulder by 3 miles and planned to stay there until about 10 miles and see what I had left for the last three miles. Why then had I passed them and pulled away by the time we got to the four mile marker?
At 5 miles the course goes under the main road and there is a steep climb before rejoining it and heading back towards Helensburgh. I felt good but conscious that this hill has caught me out before and so I backed off a little and let the chasing group catch up. Once back on the main road, Clydeside's Gerry Montgomery took off and I tried to stay with him. He has been beating me to the V50 prize over 10k this year and he beat me by a minute at the Kirkintilloch 10k. However, I felt I could give him a race over the longer distance but he is flying at the moment and I couldn't keep with him as he opened up a gap. I felt I was running at a decent pace though so dug in and hoped he may slow a bit later on. On the climb at about 8 miles Gerry Craig eased past me but by this time I was becoming more concerned about making sure I finished within my target time than racing.
I was still feeling good though and after gulping down a gel at 10 miles I sensed I might have been closing down the two Gerry's. I had, however, forgotten the hill at 11 and I started to struggle a little to keep the pace going. Bellahouston' Road Runner, Alastair Maclachlan powered past me on the downhill but I tagged behind him and made him work for the last mile or so. With the finish in sight he pulled away from me to take the 2nd V50 place but I was pleased to finish in 1.22.19 - slightly faster than last year. I was 24th overall and 3rd V50 - Gerry Montgomery won the category in 1.21.08. Gerry Craig was the only other VPCoG finisher in 20th position. 1.21.36 and 5th V40.