So why does a low key half marathon sell out in a matter of days? – read on…
I must admit to not really enjoying the half distance, but the lure of a ‘multi-terrain’ surface is a bit more interesting for me. I won’t go into details of breakfast (porridge *;) winking) but after Baz headed round early on Sunday we were off via Stoney to pick up Neil. The day was blustery, but dry, so although choice of tops was easy – my decision to go with road trainers was something I was going to regret!
In previous years ice has been the major issue – at one pre-race brief the organiser joked not to worry that the ice had been broken through the flooded section of track (no joke!). But with the recent constant deluge, the course had to be altered slightly to ensure no one drowned! At a guess I would say that the course is about 50% road and 50% track. At 10.55am the field gathered to chill for 5 minutes for the pre-race briefing. Spotting a few known faces, it was clear that there were a few fast guys about – but my main battle was standing next to me, my training partner Barry!
On the gun, we were off and sure enough the lead pair were off (never to be caught) so I watched my pace and tried to get the first few kms in without red-lining. For the first 5 miles four of us pretty much stayed together – I could pull out a bit on anything that wasn’t black, while the others were stronger on the tarmac. At the start we were warned that the course was damp (feet were wet within the first section of farm track) but I was not ready for the 60 metre section about half way through where the water was above my knee level – this meant walking was the only option! It was after this point that my legs started to seize while Baz came past and murmured something about dropping the 2 roadies behind. Following through a few more tracks and skirting the village we were faced with Gallow Hill. Normally i would love to see a climb on a run – but today it was a real hurter. It was all I could do to keep Baz in sight, and I was hoping that the pair behind were not catching. On turning to head back to the park I decided to give it a go to get back to 4th place. At one point i thought I might get it, but the gap had only closed due to the section of ploughed field and 8″ of mud to get through! Thankfully my chasers must have been as tired as I was – and I managed to hold on to 5th place.
Having the changing facilities in the rugby club available for the run as well as a sports masseuse to give those tired legs a bit of TLC are a great touch. But what really makes this race is the hospitality from Forfar Road Runners – more soup, tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes than the 200+ runners could scoff – for the £7 entry, great value. I should also mention the 8 or so check points where you need to get your race number stamped. Marshalling these are inmates from a local open prison who volunteer each year – great work guys!
All in all a great day out – I would highly recommend for any of the Cosmics, let’s try and get a few teams down for next year (with trail shoes!)