Two Bella’s made their way north east to take part in the Loch Leven Half Marathon, Kinross, Saturday 9th May. Starting at 1pm meant the sun was out, and I have the sunburn to prove it. The race is part of the local gala day celebrations so we had the local pipe bands out in force at the start. Toeing the start line alongside me was George Rooney, running his first half marathon. I’ve run many but this was my first since 2011, I feel a bit out of practice these days at longer races.
The route basically loops Loch Leven anti clockwise on open roads and with the pipers sending us on our way we headed south out of Kinross on gently undulating roads for 2.5 miles. We turned east along more undulating roads (get the pattern here?). Along this road we passed farm after farm and I had suddenly remembered a conversation I had prior to my last run here in 2009 about the flies. Back then it was so windy there were no flies but not today, oh no. For the next 4 miles I ran through cloud after cloud of flies! I am still finding them in my eyes as I write this, complete with scratched eyeballs such was the ferocity of their attack.
That got us to 6 or so miles and another turn to head north west towards the hills of Scotlandwell and Kinnesswood, with great views of the Lomonds of Fife. In fact, there were great views throughout the entire race. Then one of those wee things that annoy you as a runner at 7.5 miles. We were directed off the main road, along a dirt track, also difficult underfoot, for 100 metres, 180 degree turn and back again to re join the main road. I don’t remember this last time, but I assume to make up distance that could easily have been added at the start or the end.
Anyway, onwards and upwards climbing through Scotlandwell at 8 miles, it was really tough at this stage, but working hard nonetheless. I seen a couple of people walking here and caught a good few people through this section. More ups and downs and we get to 10 miles with only 5K to get home. A big downhill was welcome here and we approached and passed the 11 mile marker speedily. At just shy of 12 miles we were routed onto a cycle path which was another change from the last time I ran here. The underfoot conditions weren’t as good as tarmac but the legs were buckling by this time anyway as I desperately tried to hang onto a decent pace. A wee sting in the tail as we had to climb out of this cycle path to the main road but surely the end was near as I could hear the bag pipes at the finish. Indeed, a short run along a grass finish to the Loch Leven Community Campus and a mass of gala day pipe bands. Job done.
A decent goody bag awaited us at the finish with Tunnocks, a banana, water and, eh, a mini cow bell. Overall, it is a good event run on good roads, with good facilities and great views. I’d do it again.
I finished in 1:26:53, 24th place, which was in line with expectations given the course. George ran a cracking race for his first half marathon finishing in 1:30:42, 52nd place, and was beaming afterwards so I am sure will be back for more. There were 491 finishers.
Full results here