Alloa Half Marathon (Iain)

I ran last year’s Alloa half marathon in 1 hour 41 minutes. This year, I completed it in 1 hour 46 minutes. Five minutes slower! What went wrong? What is the difference between this year and last?

It’s Andrew’s fault! This was the first time I’d ran the race alongside him. In previous years I’d run it by myself.

The main difference is that Andrew chats to me as we runs. After listening to him throughout the race  I can conclusively say that not only is his chat boring but it also has a drag effect of 23 seconds per mile 🙂

The race was enjoyable but I was tired after biking a lot during the week. I’d not have been any quicker even without the Andrew Drag Effect .

The highlight of the run was spotting this guy

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“Leven Las Vegas” is the best name for a running club in Scotland. I can claim this because I’ve just spent ten minutes trawling through club names on the Scottish Athletics website. Most clubs are very boringly named. I’m looking at you <insert name of town here> running club. Which is what most seem to be called.

So, next year at Alloa, I want to see some clubs raise their name game and wear club vests with a bit of personality.

Here’s some sugeestions

The Skyes the limit running club

The Perth, wind and fire running club

The Tain green bottles sitting on a wall running club

I could do this all day!

The Clydebank robbers running club

The Kinlochleven on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again running club

Ok – I’ll stop now! 🙂

 

 

Race report – Alloa Alloa (Andrew)

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Listen carefully, I will say this only once: I’ve never wanted to run the Alloa half marathon. Two reasons:

  1. There’s a five mile long straight.
  2. There’s a five mile long straight!

(Except for 50 metre kink in the middle where you run down a street then run up it again).

I like drunk running, the kind that doesn’t involve any straight lines. I like scary movie running, the kind that promises a surprise around every corner. I don’t want to see where I’m going for the next half an hour as I move forward in a long line of other people all going in the same direction. That’s not running, that’s high energy queueing.

This year I had no choice. I had to run the Alloa half marathon because the race I wanted to run – the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon  last weekend – was cancelled due to construction work at the finish line. I had to run something in March and this was the next race on.

Iain’s run it before. His description wasn’t promising.

“See that five mile stretch?”

“Yes.”

“It’s horrible when it’s straight into the wind – also it’s hillier than you think.”

“I thought it was flat?”

“It’s not.”

“Damn.”

And he was right. The race isn’t flat, the first three miles are uphill, the tenth mile features a long climb to a roundabout. Even the flat section is a slight rise. It wasn’t fun. Not as a first race. Not when the Balloch to Clydebank half is largely down hill and breaks you in gently to the year.

On the plus side. The race is very well organised with water stations roughly every two miles and roads closed and traffic managed so that it feels like you’re on a closed course.

It’s also very popular with nearly 3,000 runners. We had to queue to get into Alloa. And not a high energy queue, we had to queue bumper to bumper as runners tried to get to the start on time.

It was the same story on the way out. Not that it’s a surprise that people would queue to get out of Alloa. It’s the kind of town that inspires people to leave…

Despite heavy legs and a couple of breaks to stretch off a tight back, I was pleased with my time. 1 hour 47 minutes – 1 hour 48 if you include the time it took to switch off Strava, which I don’t… 🙂

For a first race, and a thought that I wasn’t running that fast, it turned out to be faster than I expected. I only checked my time on the last mile and was surprised it was just over 1 hour 40 minutes and not closer to 1 hour 50 minutes.

A good start even if Iain did win after running off when I stopped for an energy gel at seven miles. Energy gel breaks don’t count for time, do they? If not, I’m sure I won…

Finally, a warning…

I spotted on the Alloa website a warning that anyone wearing headphones would not be covered by insurance and that headphone wearers ran at their own risk. When I was on my own I switched on a podcast and I have a warning too. Don’t listen to Russell Brand’s Under The Skin podcast about politics, economics and social theory when running. Big words don’t make you run faster

Feb 12th – Kirkintilloch 12.5K (Iain)

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The Kirkintilloch 12.5k is an “undulating” course – 12 hills in 12 KM. I prefer to call it a course with 12 downhills in 12 KM’s. That sounds less fearsome. Similarly, Mount Everest sounds better when described as a long walk down.

This should have been the first race of the year against Andrew.The winner of the event receives one point in the Todd Championship (TC)- the annual competition to find who’s the best Todd. I’ve won the last two editions. If you win the World Cup three times you get to keep it. If I beat Andrew three times do I get to keep him?

I’m not sure where I’d put him. He’s a bit too big to fit in a trophy cabinet. I’d have to stuff him and use him as a coat rack.

Unfortunately, the showdown was a non-event. Andrew pulled out due to a “life threatening” case of the tickle-y cough. A terrible disease that only Andrew gets, strangely its always at its tickliest on a race day….

Due to his forfeit I now have a 1-0 lead in this year’s TC. He asked for a medical exemption but that’s what a loser would ask for. The rules of the competition quite clearly state “If both name’s are on the starting list then its a TC event. Even if one Todd fails to start!”

The rules also say “Stop your excuses Andrew! Man up!”

I might have made up the last rule.

Last year I did the race in  1 hr 3 minutes. This year my aim was to finish in under an hour. I finished in 59:55. Job done…just!