A good day full of incident.
There were a number of uncertainties for this race. I bought new shoes the day before (R&B finally open!) and took them out for a 4 mile test drive to make sure they would be ok. My 7th pair of Hokas: Mafate Speed. And really they are primarily for next weekend being a trail shoe. However they were comfy enough for the Half and it was either them or the Speedcross 3s!
Next 4 photos all thanks to David Limmer who wasn't running but came along to cheer and take photos - what a guy!
The bus got us there in plenty time although it chose to park up at the low bridge rather than take us further up the road and come in from the other side to park nearer the race hq. This gave us a mile walking warm up but as it was nice weather it wasn't a problem. As predicted Summer had returned and it was warming up in a worryingly dramatic fashion. There were excellent changing, toilet and showering facilities and Alan Lawson seemed to have everything running very smoothly. Although there had been a number of last minute injuries and cancellations Porty still had a good sized team running, headed by Gareth whose time in Edinburgh is coming to an end. Hopefully he will still wear a Porty vest from time to time.
We all assembled at the start and Alan described the course - flat and fast - and we set off ahead of schedule. The midday start was good for travelling but bad for sunshine and although the first few miles were ok by halfway it was becoming evident that there wouldn't be quite as many pbs as such a course might suggest. About a mile into it (I did my best not to set off at Parkrun pace) I caught up with Martin from Carnegie (one of several Tour-of-Fifers) and we exchanged brief pleasantries, running together for the next few miles. This all went quite well until Robert with the C on his vest came alongside and edged past. I ran quite a bit of the second half of E2NB with Robert and hadn't forgotten his cheeky sprint past in the last 10 yards. He surged past strongly and I lifted my pace to try and stick with him. I think we must have pulled away from Martin at this point. We were just getting to the convolutions of the Lighthouses section.
The course wasn't a natural circuit and doubled back on itself round a couple of loops that went round coned off turning points. As Robert and I went past a marshal I saw the flour arrows going back right, and for a moment wondered if we were going the right way. The marshal assumed we knew and I had to shout to confirm we were going in the right direction. It wasn't a particularly intuitive course - this would be my only real criticism of the day - it was a bit of a soulless place that didn't really reveal itself - you were never high enough to get an overview, and the twists and turns, while admirably flat, didn't give you a sense of "ah now we're at the turnaround and heading home" kind of thing. The only scenery of note were the 2 (rather dirty!) lighthouses. I was glad I hadn't bothered to run with the camera. I'm not going to suggest the lighthouses are long overdue a coat of paint as I do not want the job.
Robert and I changed places and at the couple of cone turns we would say hello to folk coming in the opposite direction. Gareth was running a stormer in second place and Willie was not far behind myself, mixing it with Martin and the Dundee Hawks, from the ToF. It was looking good for the team prize! My shoes felt petty good and were saving my legs however I could feel a couple of hot spots that were in danger of becoming blisters - this is the risk of wearing new shoes. The sun was now blasting down and although I felt I was making the effort of about 5.40 pace the Garmin was saying it was nearer 6.30. Not good for fast times but otherwise I was pleased with my position. Jennifer Emsley was one place ahead and going for it. On more than one occasion Robert suggested we crank the pace and catch her, however neither of us were anywhere near man enough and she steadily disappeared on the long harsh straights of the last couple of miles. I also pulled away from Robert a bit. Remembering his fast finish in N Berwick I continued to push over the last mile and got far enough ahead to dissuade any monkey business in the last bit through the complex to the line. My brain was pretty melted by then and I found it hard to identify the route which we had had a good look at beforehand, and exactly where the line was. (Also I called Jennifer, Gillian at least once - really sorry my brain was baked!) I was very pleased to be finished and to be stopped running. The sun had taken it's toll, and the time - a bit over 1.22 - was a good few minutes adrift from what I had hoped for, however I was pleased with 8th - just one place behind Andrew Joyce and ahead of Robert, Martin and Billy - all quality runners. Gareth had held onto second, running a phenomenal 1.17 and Willie (2nd 50) wasn't far behind myself, giving PRC first male team.
delighted! photo Kathy
Great to see Jim back running.
Kathy, Alan and Graeme. Photo Kathy
Jacqui - third lady. photo Kathy
great photo from BB website
You can see how the course runs about, and doubles back after the first section. Also you can see the heat take effect as the miles get slower till mile 11 then I can smell the end and pick it up a bit. 61 mins at 10 miles. Big thanks to Alan Lawson for going to some trouble to arrange all of this for our running pleasure. I suspect people will be initially disappointed with their times due to the heat, but will return on the basis of it is a fast flat course on good smooth traffic free tarmac. Funnily enough some people were mentioning that it didn't seem that flat. Another effect of the heat. Check out the profile above the map - about as flat a half as you could find. Thanks to all the helpers. Large amount of goodies to eat and drink afterwards. Just as I got to the front of the queue I got called away to the prize-giving.