Stornoway Half Marathon 2018

Post date: Jun 6, 2018 12:55:56 PM

By Ewan Smith

The first race report I ever wrote was for the Stornoway Half. On that occasion I had set my heart on 1:25 but instead had to settle for 1:28 something and a stress fracture. That turned out to be the first of a long run of injuries mostly caused by trying to be smert and coming back to soon. That was 4 years ago and despite having entered every year since I have never actually made it to the start line so it was becoming a bit of a thing.

This year with more modest aims ( sub 90 and nae injuries) I finally made it. In theory it all looked quite doable. I was in reasonable form and though I'd had a few niggles these had largely gone on the morning of the race and the wind had died back a fair bit and though heat was forecast, hot mornings in Stornoway are not a phenomena I've ever experienced ( I once spent a fortnight freezing there while Argyll had a heatwave and our relationship has never quite recovered) so I told myself 1:28 something was reasonable.

The race began and I paced myself fairly carefully up the first gradual ascent sticking with a small group who seemed to be similarly inclined.

As we were going downhill towards the shore to the south of the town, I discovered you can indeed get hot days in

Stornoway and a comely young lady from Glasgow assured me she was not having an asthma attack before proceeding to pass me. However it was cooler along the shore path and I passed her and a couple of others at the 2k mark. Stornoway isn't a mountainous place by any standards but there are a few nasty wee climbs and the first of these soon approached. I was doing ok and consoled myself with the thought that on the other side of the summit there would be a long descent, reinforced by a Marshall who said that we were approaching a fast couple of miles.

However, for much of it,there was a headwind which wasn't severe but was just enough to take the edge off. Soon we were heading back into the town, out of the wind and into the heat. The last 5+ miles are in the grounds of Stornoway Castle beginning with

a long ascent and it was a this point that 3 or 4 runners passed me. Never a good sign at that stage. As we turned onto a long straight gravelly ascent, I felt the wind again and the runners in front seemed to get further ahead. I tried running on the grass at the side of the path and still can't make up my mind if that was clever or not. At last we started on a long descent but I was bust and couldn't get the speed up. It was at this point the guy who would turn out to be the fastest old fla passed me but it wasn't in me to rise to the challenge.

And with no one else approaching behind I ambled on at my own pace. Heading down the long straight of Stornoway Quay I made some semblance of a sprint but too little, too late and I finished in 1:30:11. The bottom line is that for various reasons I haven't been getting proper long runs in this past while and it showed in the second half. However, there are positives; 12th overall isn't too bad, I still ran faster than I did in Dunoon last August and on a harder course and worse conditions; 1:30:11 is an old fla's club record (unless of course it was beaten at the MoKrun today!) and both legs are still in one piece.

Upwards and onwards.