The good thing about writing a weekly blog about running is that you can use the search box to find your old race reports.
If you’d asked me when was the last time I’d ran the Alloa Half Marathon I would have guessed 2018 or 19. In fact, it was five years ago, and you can find my report here.
I blame lockdown. After two years of the pandemic, my sense of time is screwy. I discount the two years spent at home and assume everything is two years shorter than it actually is, which is why I’m planning to celebrate my twenty first birthday this year…
I see from my report that I was complaining about the traffic. It’s also the one thing I remembered about the race as I phoned Iain TwinBikeRun to say we should try and get to Alloa for 7:45 (for a 9am start) but he disagreed. The start line had moved from near the town centre to a community campus on the edge of town. He didn’t think the traffic would be as bad as there was a lot more routes to get to the start, including buses from the town centre for those who wanted to park further away.
He was right. It was easy to drive in, find a bus and get to the start. The only queue this year was at the pre-start toilets. But there’s always a queue at the toilets before any race and it’s alway the case that no matter when you join that queue, whether one hour or five minutes before the start, and no matter how many people are in the queue, ten or a hundred, you’ll never reach the front until two mins before the race starts and you’ll come out to find everyone has already left. Alloa was no different.
I also see from my report that I complained about the hills. The change to the start though has improved the route as there’s now a three mile gentle descent and flat before you climb the first hill. The warm up makes the hill feel easier, while there’s another long descent afterwards so you have time to recover before turning west toward Alva.
There’s another long hill around the 11 mile point as you come back to Alloa but while it’s long, it’s not that steep.
Overall, it was a cracking day for a race. Blue skies and no wind and the changes to the route has really improved the whole experience. I was pleased with a time of 1 hour 43 mins, which was faster than my previous time of 1 hours 48 mins and shows that while lockdown may have lost two years, I’ve also gained five minutes. Result.