Wow!!! What a fantastic race! As the name suggests this one isn't easy - in fact it is probably one of the toughest half marathons I have ever run. But what a brilliant course, particularly the steep climb up to the half way point, from where you can see Dundee and the full Tay estuary, and then the 2 mile long, continuous climb between 8 and 10 miles. Just as I thought I had done the hard bit in getting to the top of the hill (without walking or crying), I had to battle into a strong wind for the last 3 miles down the other side. As Frank Sinatra would no doubt have sung - my kind of course - one where there was absolutely no chance for the fast guys to use their sprinting prowess, but instead were expected to battle away like the rest of us.
So, the stats. I finished 16th in 1 hour 33 minutes and 25 seconds. Quite a bit slower than normal, but times weren't hugely relevant on a course like this. Having said that Paul Arcari from Kilbarchan won in an incredible 1 hour 13 minutes, taking 6 minutes off the previous course record. Second was Alastair Morrison from Garscube in about 1.18 - not a bad performance from someone who had finished 2nd in the Dunbar 10k yesterday, then jumped into his car and headed to Livingston where he ran the last 10k leg for Garscube in the National Road relays. 3 races in 2 days - nutter. He'll be doing the WHW next. And a note to all those who have accused me of being a dour b*gg*r - and there are many - I was having such great fun today that I actually smiled every time someone took a photo of me. I'm just hoping no-one snapped me when I wasn't looking :)
Finally, there has been some interesting banter on John K's blog between my wife allybea and Thomas, who is running the WHW race this year for the first time. I've stayed out of the discussion so far, but just wanted to say that I completely agree with allybea, particularly about the WHW race being a personal challenge for each and every participant. I know John and Thomas will agree with me in hoping everyone performs to the best of their ability on 21 June and achieves their personal goal, whatever that may be: whether it is to finish before the 35 hour cut-off, or to finish in a particular time. John and I have had a great and friendly rivalry over the last year, and I am sure this has helped me record times I did not think possible a few years ago. I hope it has helped John too, and that by sharing our experiences we are helping Thomas, Marco, Debs, Davie, Tim, Neal and everyone else whose company I have enjoyed on the various training runs. If I had a choice of recording a time of 20.59 in this year's race but finishing behind John, or recording 21.15 and being in front of John, I would take the 20.59 every time.