I was involved in this established point-to-point half marathon in non-racing marshal mode. Arriving at the Dunglass roundabout between Dumbarton and Bowling at 9.15am, I found a sizeable gathering in place already: chief marshal (with walkie-talkie), traffic cop, 3 GU Hairies, and sundry Garscube club members, out to cheer on their numerous competitors. I was alone in having no yellow bib, but I guess the trademark yellow bobble hat served its purpose. At least it got a few friendly smiles from passing runners.
The first news of the race was of a glitch with the technology: several runners arrived at the start without their timing “chips” in their kit. Replacement chips had to be issued, with the result that the start was delayed by some 25 minutes.
Not long after 10am, we got word that the leaders were approaching along the cycleway. What a surprise, and indeed thrill, to see Gwyn leading, with a Ron Hill Cambuslang runner in close attendance. Of course I gave him loud encouragement, while some mental arithmetic suggested that Archie Cameron’s place in the Half-Marathon Hall of Fame was on a shoogly peg. The first four runners were well clear; there followed a 2-minute gap before more appeared in groups of 2 or 3, including Chris, the second of our contingent of four. Some way back appeared The Bearded One, followed by big Steff, blowing hard on the climb to the roundabout. You might think that a field of over 400 runners wouldn’t be too spread out after 8 miles, but you’d be WRONG. The back marker finally appeared, with cycling sweeper escort, almost an hour after the race leaders had passed. I mention this to encourage anyone who would fancy a half-marathon on varied but fairly flat terrain within easy reach of Glasgow. Whatever your ability, you’ll have company and encouragement along the course!
Gwyn’s time was a Westy record (Gibbby/Hall of Fame, please note!). Westy times and places:
2. Gwyn Bellamy 1h08m47s (Club record)
40. Chris Upson 1.22.19
98. Graham Kelly 1.29.11
122. Steffen Gorgas 1.32.03
Well done to the Fab Four above, and let’s hope this inspires a bigger Westy turnout for the 2015 race. For any stats geeks, may I point out that the placings I’ve given were those at crossing the finishing line…thus in some cases, one’s place may be better or worse according to the time recorded by the chip, which is the time I’ve quoted. See race website if in doubt.