Sunday, 10 April 2011


What nicer way is there to spend a Sunday morning than sitting in a cool, tranquil church, seeking guidance and pondering the dichotomy between good and evil?
Well you could get of your arse and go a run. Which is what I prefer to do, and did today by taking part in the Perth Road Runners "Heaven and Hell" Half Marathon.
A 13.1 mile "almost" circuit (the loop doesn't quite meet) that takes in a couple of really tough climbs.
Not a race to do if you want to bag a PB, but one I would heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys a, relatively, low-key, well organised, well marshaled race on quiet roads.
I entered this one pretty late on - in fact I think I had just finished hitting the "pay now" button on the web site last week when my cold kicked in.
I've done it before and knew, more or less, what to expect..
What I didn't expect was for today to be the hottest day of the year so far (19?). For many parts of the route there was little or no wind and the heat was quite oppressive. I know it will get hotter as the year goes on (hopefully) but I'm not really acclimatised to it yet.

Anyway. Went to the pre race briefing then headed down to the start line. Noticed a few Portobello runners and Wull Hynd from Moorfoot.

A brief word from the starter and off we went. Clocked 5:40 for the first mile and remember thinking "that's a bit quick, better watch".
Never one to take advice, even from myself, clocked the second mile at 5:26.
The little group that I was in for about the first three to four miles contained Mr Hynd, Gareth Green from Portobello a bloke from Corstorphine (I think) and me. However, by about four mile and into the first climb the elastic started to stretch and the three of them started to pull away slightly.
I didn't mind the climbs too much but the downhill section from about six miles to eight really took it out of my legs.
Then came the second real climb. Two miles that see you go from about 80ft to 822ft. Worse of all it includes a couple of really sharp little bends, so even if you are getting into a rhythm - its broken.
Got passed on this climb by Johnny Lawson of Portobello.

At the top of the climb a welcome drink was taken and most of the water was poured over my head.
Keeping in the spirit of the "theme" of the race the last two miles always puts me in mind of that *cough* classic ballad "Bat Out Of Hell" by the popular crooner "Meat. Loaf" - feckin' agony to endure and it seems to go on and on and on without end.
Anyway. Crossed the line in 1:23:40 a full two minutes faster than the last time I ran it, so fairly chuffed. Think I was sixth overall, and second vet.
A nice goody bag which included what can best be described as an immense fleece foreskin.
I believe it's actually called a "snood" and can be worn around the neck, like a scarf, or with the tightening of a draw string can be worn like a fleece hat. Just what you need when the temperatures up to 19 degrees. If your a bit baldy though probably best not to wear it loosely about your neck and lower face with only your head poking out!! Joking aside, it's a handy piece of kit and while I hope I don't need it for a few months yet it won't go wrong.

Talked to a few finishers and waited on Anne coming in. She also improved her time from two years ago.

Back to the race HQ for a fantastic feed of sandwiches and cakes and the prize giving.
Unsurprisingly the Portobello team won quite a bit - including a case of beer for first team (more impressively they were actually first and third).
Now. Two of the same blokes won a case of beer last week. Beer - must be good for you. Maybe I should return to the fold.

Ian who had travelled up with us met us after the prize giving. He wasn't doing the race but went for a "wee" 28 mile training run in preparation for a couple of ultras he's got lined up. Never realised he'd been out on the course and shouting us on.... I must have been focused at the time.

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