Balloch Half-Marathon

By Elaine McGeachy


Will it be cancelled? We really weren’t sure up until the last minute if this race was going to ahead in the strangest of times of Coronovirus and to be perfectly honest, this was the one race I was hoping would be cancelled! Selfishly, I knew I’d perform sub-par and it would take the pressure off. My piriformis/hip issue had returned, scuppering my training but I knew this potentially would be the last race for a long while I decided to do it anyway! I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed I’d do anything different!

Stuart, Jennifer and I drove to Balloch Shores, the start line, avoiding the public transport and giving us some extra time at home before the 9am start. The weather was ideal for a race – cool, little wind after the first few miles and overcast. A strange atmosphere at the start – no handshakes or hugs, everyone keeping themselves to themselves but the usual pre-race buzz and nerves were still around. A few smiling Campbeltown faces to be seen (from a social distance of course) Allan Anderson, Janet Scott-Dodd, Gareth Scott-Dodd, Fiona Cook along with aforementioned Stuart McG and Jen.

In order to limit my pain (I’d not ran in a few days, did some yoga and been to the osteopath the day before) I decided not to do any warm up so it was straight into the first mile – a challenging start – a flood under the bridge meant runners had to stop and walk single file to get passed! But as soon as we were through we were on the canal bank, nice and flat but into a headwind. This was a slightly different route to the last time I’d done B2C. I liked there were no cars to dodge but it made the course quite narrow and busy, particularly with a few leisurely Sunday dog walkers. However, after 3-4 miles, you were back on pavement and had a bit more room. And the wind was now on our side, bonus.

The adrenaline was fighting off my pain signals up until about mile 6, then it started to niggle. I had a glance at pace, around marathon pace, I’d take that. The slower I was, the less pain in but it’s difficult to fight the urge to try to go faster. ‘Just keep going’ I repeated to myself. I had planned on stopping at the Starbucks at mile 8 if the pain was too much but although it was getting sorer I knew I wouldn’t stop. Soon I was passed that point of no return and on to a few inclines on the old railway path just wanting to get to the finish line! Some roadworks de-toured us on to the footpath adjacent to the A83 on the last incline at mile 10 and then some nice flat sections and small downhills to get us into Clydebank. By now my pain was getting worse and aware I was starting to hobble. Where is the finish line?! It was the longest last few miles ever, it seemed to drag – winding roads and turns through cul-de-sacs and industrial estates when a cheery marshal shouted “just ½ mile to go!” I was delighted. I knew I’d finish without having to walk or limp off! If we weren’t to social distance I’d have high fived him! I crossed the line in 1.47.01. Not quite what I set out to do when I set my goals in January but I’ve had this injury before and I’ll beat it again. I will get that PB 1 day…. The toon lot waited at the finish for me despite the cold weather and was so happy to see them and hear their race tales and fantastic PBs. Stuart even got 2nd Vet!! But no handshakes for the winners at the prizegiving, just an elbow bump!

Has it made my injury worse? I’m not sure but I’m glad I did it, the pain was worth it. You all know me by now, I just love to run. Hopefully I can heal and recover now in lockdown!!