This Sunday is the Balloch to Clydebank half-marathon, one of my favourite races. It starts beside a shopping centre, dodges through the grimier parts of Alexandria, weaves through the back of Dumbarton train station before finishing with the bookies, chippies, an industrial estate and a car park in Clydebank. It must be the only race that starts with one of Scotland’s most beautiful spots – Loch Lomond – and immediately turns its back on it and runs as far away from it as it can.
I love this race though for one reason – for almost all of the 13 miles it feels like you’re running downhill. You can’t ask for a better start to the year, even if you couldn’t find a less welcoming finish.
What you also can’t ask for is dry weather. I don’t think I’ve ever run this race without it raining. Once it was even snowing (the race was cancelled). This year however it looks like we’ll finally have a dry day, at least if the weather reports are accurate. So far I’ve checked BBC Weather, the Weather App, The Met Office and checked them again an hour later in case its changed.
Even though there’s nothing we can do about the weather I think runners and cyclists like to check it constantly anyway just in case it might rain. I think its so that when we get to the start line we can say “I told you it would rain” and look smugly at those who’ve just turned up in singlets and goosebumps. We, on the other hand, are dressed in the latest Gore-tex bin bag. We have waterproof socks. Some of us even have caps (though not anyone who has any dignity or self-respect). We’re prepared. And then we overheat and wish we hadn’t brought all this kit…. but at least we were right! It did rain.
But not this year. This year the Balloch to Clydebank half-marathon will be dry. Unless the weather’s changed in the last hour. I’d better check.