Report from Craig.
On Sunday 21st April I was supposed to be on the start line surrounded by thousands of other runners in the London sunshine for the biggest race in the world. Instead, I was in Monikie Country Park just outside a wet and very windy Dundee for the 2013 Angus Half Marathon.
This is a good wee race which I did a couple of years ago. On a good day the scenery is lovely but this is definitely not a PB course with all the hills. I made my way up to the front at the start line and as the whistle went 200 runners set off. Last weekend at the Balloch to Clydebank half I started too slowly and lost early grounds on the leaders so this weekend I was determined not to make the same mistake. I stayed on the shoulders of the 3 leading runners to try and get out of the wind a bit during the first mile. As we approached the second mile marker one runner made a break so I decided to go with him and as we approached the first hill at mile 3 I went past and into the lead. For the next couple of miles the headwind was really strong so I tried to maintain a comfortable pace to reserve energy for later on. By mile 5 I could no longer hear any footsteps behind me and looked round to see I had built up a decent lead. The next few miles were still very undulating but as we turned out of the wind at 8.5 miles I was surprised to see the second placed runner was right behind me. He had obviously been pushing hard on the downhill section. At 8.5 miles you start the first of 3 big ascents. Reaching the top of the first hill I was offered a cup of water but declined and pushed on. I heard the runner behind shouting for a cup and looked round to see that even on that first hill I had moved ahead. I kept working hard up the next hill at 9.5 miles and once it flattened out I picked up the pace and put in a 5:30 mile. The lead cyclist informed me that I now had a huge lead which seemed to spur me on and another quick mile meant I was soon at the dreaded last mile. The last mile is all uphill, it just saps any energy that you might have left in your legs. Fortunately a winter of Sherbrooke hill reps meant I was able to keep a good pace and before I knew it I was at the top. A wee jog down the home straight saw me take first place in 1:16:37. I ended up being a full 2 minutes ahead of the 2nd placed runner.
For my efforts I got two lovely trophies to add to my collection which seems to be growing nicely now. Okay so it wasnt the London marathon but it was a good day out and gives me a lot of confidence for the season ahead. Here is hoping that I can maybe do a race soon where there is no wind to contend with and I might be in for a big PB.