Report from Craig Reid.
Firstly, it was great to see so many Bella’s out for the Helensburgh half marathon on Sunday. Not only were there loads of us running but also a good number of (very vocal) supporters which I know we all appreciated. Its been a wee while since I wrote a race report but for obvious reasons I thought now was as good a time as any to get back in the habit again, so here goes……
Sunday 4th August saw the running of the annual Helensburgh half marathon. A great turn out from Bella club members meant that we were by far and away the most represented club and as we gathered at the start there were plenty of purple vests on show. As the horn sounded I was keen not to make the same mistake as last year and set off at too fast a pace. Within a couple of hundred metres, myself and Steven Prentice of Bellahouston Harriers had moved to the front of the field and made the early pace. For the first three miles we ran at about 5:45 per mile pace which was a little slower than I wanted but I didn’t want to move ahead on my own so early into the race. I was feeling strong and could hear that Steven was breathing quite heavily so expected he would drop off a bit.
Around 3.5 miles in, out of nowhere two runners came flying past us, Hayley Haining of Kilbarchan and Stuart Johnston of Edinburgh. They both looked really strong and as they eased ahead I decided to try and stick with them. As the race moved to the uphill section at around 5 miles Stuart had built up a decent lead. Hayley and I were running together and as we came back down the hill onto the main route we received a lot of support from runners going in the opposite direction. OK, most of the shouts were for Hayley but I definitely heard the odd ‘come on Bella!!’ By 7.5 miles we had caught back up with the leader. I felt like I was cruising along and so not content with sitting behind I pushed on up the hill and put a bit of distance between me and the other two runners. As the race wore on I made the fatal mistake of looking behind me at about 9 miles to find they were still a lot closer behind me than I expected. Although I was feeling good, I was starting to doubt whether I could hold them off as I expected them both to finish strongly. There was some great Bella support at around 10 miles and some wise words from Tammy telling me to stay focussed was what I needed. She was right, after all, I felt good and it was them who had to catch me so I decided to up the pace a bit. As I climbed the hill after 11 miles I had another look round and Hayley and Stuart were no longer in sight.
With the pressure off I enjoyed the nice long descent down the hill to mile 12 and then just held a steady pace until the end. I was delighted to take the applause of the decent sized crowd and crossed the line in 1st place for my biggest race win to date. Hopefully there will be more to come. My time of 1:15:09 was a bit slower than I hoped for but I was pleased with the way I raced, managing to change my pace as and when required which is something I have never really had to do before, I am used to just having to try and run as fast as I can for as long as I can!! The only downside about winning was that I missed out on a cool down with team mates, many of who were celebrating a PB.
A great day out and I believe we also won some team prizes as well just to top it all off.