After last weekend’s spectacular Great Scottish Run, this weekend saw a much more low-key but still very enjoyable race, the Neil McCover Half Marathon organised by the Kirkintilloch Olympians. The race is run in memory of Neil McCover, who was a Superintendent in Strathclyde Police and club chair and coach at Kirkintilloch Olympians, but who was tragically killed in a cycling accident in 2010. The race is well known as being a very challenging, hilly half marathon.

The race starts near the leisure centre in Kirkintilloch and does a big loop through the town before heading up to Lennox Town, down through Torrence and skirting the edge of Bishopbriggs before heading back to Kirkintilloch and the finish. Despite the forecast of dry weather(!), it was already raining at the start and in parts, the strong winds made some of the hills pretty tough (e.g. mile nine!).

With a nice downhill for the first 2K, I started the race a bit too fast but settled down to a steady pace for the next 3-4K before the hills kicked in. And at the half way stage I found I was running completely by myself. So it was a case of using my watch to keep good pace and just driving up the hills and trying to make some time back coming down the other side. Fortunately, the last 2-3K was down hill all the way and Joe was there near the end shouting 400M to go! The last bit was a funny loop through a housing estate and then down a lane between two houses before running up to the finish.

The race was won by David Murray of the Kirkintilloch Olympians in a time of 1:14:51. The first lady in 15th place was Katie White of Garscube Harriers in 1:23:30. The mighty blues were out in force. Special mention goes to Scott Coulter, Chris Hever and James Prior who were running the half marathon only a day after racing at the George Cummings relays in Houston. The results for the Harriers are:

24th Andy Sutherland (1:25:57)
50th Scott Coulter (1:34:24)
108th James Prior (1:47:40)
132nd Chris Hever (1:52:24)

There were 174 finishers. Mick who injured his calf last week also started the race but found his injury was hampering his performance and so wisely pulled up at 7 miles. Many thanks to Joe for the support at the end, the Kirkintilloch Olympians for a fantastically organised and marshalled race, and Police Scotland for their help along all the main roads.

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