Moray Half Marathon

Yesterday (Sunday 2nd September) was the Moray Marathon weekend. 3 races all on one day. The marathon starts at 9:30am and the half marathon and 10k start at 11am from different locations. Mrs Scottishrunner was racing as well, she was taking on the 10k while I went for the 1/2. I originally was meant to run the full marathon but due to lack of training I stepped down, I'm glad I did!

After wishing Mrs Scottishrunner good luck for her race I got on the bus that took the half marathon runners to the start. Out of all the buses that were available I happened to get on the same bus as Michael Fullerton, Portobello AC, who I originally met last year at Clova after battling it out around the course. He has been running amazingly over the past year, while I am just trying to get back to where I was! We had a chat on the bus and then we went to get warmed up. 

Because of the weather I decided I would get a proper warm up, for a half I tend to do a mile before the race to make sure my legs are working. I ended up doing 2 miles yesterday as I have been getting stitches and I think it's due to not properly warming up and going off at race pace cold. 

2 miles done, one last visit to the loo and it was time to get to the start line. Got there with plenty time to spare, just when the rain and wind hit us all! It was a mad dash to try and get some shelter and try and keep warm and dry. 

Once the race got started though everything felt good. My aim was just to get a season's best, I'm not near fit enough for a personal best so the target pace was 6:29 per mile. 

As you will see from the stats, 6:29 was achieved but not without a fight! Miles 10, 11 and 12 were way off target pace due to the hills and also the strong head wind. I thought I wasn't going to make it.

At about 6.5 miles in to the race I caught a group of runners and proceeded to pass them. There was no-one in front of them for quite some distance but all of a sudden I heard some heavy breathing on my shoulder. One of the runners from the group had decided to come with me. I focused on my own breathing and relaxed back in to a good pace. Mile after mile he was still behind me and I was starting to get a bit annoyed if I am honest. I had been blocking the wind from him for about 5 miles now and he had clipped my heels a couple times with his feet and not once did he come forward to take his turn up front. 

In the end I dropped my pace and let him past so that I could get a bit of a breather behind him, however, this was when I found the issue. He couldn't keep the pace with the wind in his face and I ended up passing him again without meaning to. With just over a mile to go we hit another hill and my legs were dead, nothing left in them. Running hard in to the wind had taken its toll and the guy passed me and started to pull away, I tried to run with him but had nothing but then the course took an unexpected drop, a very nice fast finish awaited us and as we made our decent back in to Elgin I started to catch him again, passed him and kept in front. 

As I caught him I told him to stick with me but he wasn't able to and I think eventually dropped another position. 

The course was fantastic and I think if you got a clear autumn day without the wind, it could be a super fast course. I felt sorry for the marathon runners who we had started to catch and pass though. They were 22 or 23 miles in to their race and we were flying past them. I did try and give them encouragement though as the head wind was tough for us but can only imagine how they felt! 

A great race, great marshals and a race I would do again, but maybe give the marathon a go next time!

Ended up finishing 24th / 276 and got a season's best time of 1:25.20

Mrs Scottishrunner also had a good race, running the full distance without stopping, which is the first time she has managed this in 2 years due to illness. I was a very proud husband when I finished. She did fantastic! 

We are now both looking forward to Pitlochry 10k in a couple of weeks time and then it's Glasgow 10k and half marathon and we are both looking to improve on our times again there.

Owain Williams

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