Sunday 22nd April saw six harriers compete in the 12th edition of the hilly and picturesque Balfron 10k. Voted the top 10k in Scotland in 2009 by readers of Runners World magazine the race has continued to maintain a high standard with a challenging but very scenic rural route, great organisation, a generous goody-bag, loads of post-race food and a quality race T-shirt.
Despite glorious weather the day before, the morning of the race was overcast with rain expected. Most of the pre-race chat centred around the hills we were about to run plus the heat in London for the marathon where Cat was flying the Maryhill colours. It turned out to be the hottest London Marathon on record!
The rain duly arrived and after a pre-race briefing in the sports hall we were off. The course followed the same revised route from 2017 which meant a quick start downhill through the village before turning left and heading up the hill to the roundabout where the out/back route commenced. Scott and I were near the front for the start and first downhill sections where we had to be careful not to get too carried away, knowing what was to come! I settled into a pace I was happy with and tried to keep as close as I could to a Garscube runner who generally finishes a few minutes ahead of me. There were plenty of marshals and spectators on the course cheering us all on as well as some unexpected and welcome shouts from previous Maryhill Harriers who had come out to watch. The course was very undulating out and back – the outbound leg of course was a preview of what would be run on the inbound leg so we could gauge our efforts pretty well and recover a bit on the downhills. A bag-piper at the turnaround point was great to see (and hear) as were the views through the mist if you remembered to look up.
As the village re-appeared after the long ascent around 7-8k the spectators could be seen and heard but the finish line proved to be a bit further on than we all thought. Some great sprint finishes were to be seen by various runners including James who overtook at least two runners on the home straight to cap another great run. As he crossed the line the race digital timer told Scott that he’d just missed a 42min time but the chip timing soon corrected that – 41.59 so a great run by Scott! We were watching for the killer Chris sprint but on this occasion he’d used his energy reserves taking scalps on the hills rather than the finish straight. Congratulations to Kenny who continued his successful season with a PB and on a course that is certainly not PB-favourable. Linda finished strongly shortly afterwards to complete a great day’s running for all Harriers. The common theme was how much we had all enjoyed the race and how the hills were not as bad as we thought – all those 7-hills sessions must be paying dividends!
The race was contested by 421 runners – first male was Stephen Wylie in 34.29 with the first female being Michelle Sandison (Springburn Harriers) in 37.52.
Thanks go out to the whole Balfron 10k team for organising another great race plus all the marshals around the course who did a great job – we’ll be back!
15th Craig Perrie 40.06 (PB)
28th Scott Coulter 41.59
121st James Prior 48.22
152nd Chris Hever 50.12
164th Kenny Henderson 50.44 (PB)
235th Linda Sinclair 54.36