Alloa Half Marathon 2023

A good turnout for the club half marathon championship at Alloa

A scenic route with a long stretch at the foot of the Ochils and a ‘character building’ hill at the 11 mile mark was how the Alloa Half Marathon was described but maybe the most challenging aspect of the whole race was trying to navigate the pre-race queue for the toilets!

Despite being an ‘Away’ race, and especially after the snow and ice of the preceding days you could be forgiven for thinking that there would be a limited number of Harriers running. However an impressive squad of 11 travelled up for the race. With PB points up for grabs in the merit league there was plenty of potential for gains to be made.

At the gun Natalie and Scott set-off together at a great pace navigating the large crowd of runners. Running 4 minute kms for a good chunk of the race it was obvious that Natalie’s new Vaporfly shoes were a worthwhile purchase. Cat, Lynsey, and James all started well too. I started conservatively, conscious of the mistake I had made in the Kirky 12.5km where I had gone off like a Bat out of Hell.

Rounding off the Harriers contingent Kenny, Linda, Margaret, Gwen, and Daria set-off towards the small loop through a housing estate at the start of the race.

As always, I had overcompensated for the cold and by about 5km I had taken off the gloves and buff, being much milder than we had all thought it was going to be. I settled into a good steady pace, passing Cat around this time. Then, turning Northwards going through nice wee Clackmannanshire villages, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of James however he was nowhere to be seen. I continued at a good steady pace of about 4m 40s per km.

Reaching Tillicoultry we then turned West for the long stretch along the foot of the Ochil Hills and into the ‘wind-tunnel’ Chris had spoke about before the race. It wasn’t too bad to start with but it did pick up as the race went on with Kenny particularly saying he struggled with it.

The long flat stretch gave me a chance to clock up some consecutive 4m 30s kms and around the 17km mark I spied James in the distance. Still behind him, we turned Southwards again heading to ‘The Hill’. Realising I might not have the legs to overtake him after the hill, I gritted my teeth and overtook him, putting a little distance between us as I reached the foot of the hill.

Character building was definitely a euphemism here, it was heart breaking, not character building. Nevertheless, we all managed to navigate the hill, and after settling our jelly legs we headed back towards the school for the final 2 miles. Disheartened by another small hill as we headed back into Alloa, I gritted the teeth one time and pushed on.

Reaching the finish line I was ecstatic to take about 5 minutes off my previous (and only) HM and claim those 5 merit league bonus points. Scott, cheering me on at the line, was the first Harrier to finish in a great time of 1hr 30m 45s. Natalie was a very close second. Lynsey had finished just before me (and astonishingly with the exact same chip time).

Getting my revenge for Kirky, James came in very close behind me, having run a fantastic race and his second best HM time. He was followed by Cat, Kenny, Gwen, Linda, Daria, and Margaret. The weather had turned a bit by this point and we tried to keep warm as we discussed the race, Cat having cleverly brought a foil blanket.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the race. Hill aside, I thought it was a great route and the race itself was very well organised and marshalled (as long as you didn’t need the toilet).

Maryhill Results:

Scott Coulter – 1:30:45

Natalie Somerville – 1:32:33

Lynsey McLaughlin – 1:38:01

Derek Muirhead – 1:38:01

James Prior – 1:38:41

Cat Nisbet – 1:45:09

Kenny Henderson – 1:57:39

Gwen Keenan – 2:02:13

Linda Sinclair – 2:03:28

Daria Druzenko – 2:04:23

Margaret Peebles – 2:13:14

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