Perfect conditions for my 5th attempt at the Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon: cool, no wind, and bright sunshine.

With London Marathon one week away, my plan was to have a steady comfortable run, trying to stay relaxed and focussing on running at a sustainable pace. I set out without over-cooking the first kilometre, but during the next 2 km I decided to catch up and sit on the shoulders of Alex Chalmers and Mark Walsh. I thought I might be able to stay with them, but bit by bit their pace was too fast for me, and I was dropped as they both chased after and caught Paul Thompson around the 4-mile mark.

I went through 5 miles at Dumbarton in just under 30 minutes, which made me think that 1:18 might be possible, however once I’d ducked under the railway line and started on the long straight drags through Dumbarton I suddenly felt quite tired and jaded, and could sense I would get caught at any moment.

The first runner to pass wore a Dumbarton AAC vest, closely followed by 4 more runners including Paul Carroll of Clydesdale Harriers, who asked how I was. I replied I was feeling pretty gubbed, which was true, since when the 5 runners passed, I couldn’t latch onto their pace.

From 8 to 12 miles I ran along on my own, apart from passing the Dumbarton vest at 10 miles. From 11 miles to the end, I usually really try to ramp up the pace, but today I was happy enough to potter along at the same pace, which allowed Emilio Cosimo of Springburn to catch me at 12 miles. Normally I would have put up a fight over that final mile, but I thought it would do me more good to concentrate on maintaining the same steady pace.

Turning under the bridge and onto Seaforth Road at the end I was surprised to see my watch still reading 1:19-something, so I thought I should put in a bit of sprint to the line to try to scrape in under 1:20 That finishing straight always lasts a little longer than I remember, but I managed to cross the line in 1:19:54 which was pleasing to meet my target time with a few seconds to spare.

Now I just need to run double that distance at London next Sunday.

Photo by Gillian Scott – Scott Sport Photography

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