The last time I ran the Alloa Half Marathon was in 2012, when I was right in the middle of training for the Edinburgh Marathon. I was strong and confident, and I was five years younger. But now I was going to try a half marathon, having not run any event longer than a Parkrun in three years… What could possibly go wrong?
I found a parking space in Alloa and walked the short distance to the Leisure Bowl. I didn’t remember the race as having so many participants last time, it seems to be growing year on year.
After registration, I went for a pee. Just as many races, getting to the loo before the race proved to be a bit of a pain. However, with nature duly honoured, it was time to go outside and enjoy the pipe band before the race started.
The route was pretty much the same as that which I wrote about five years ago. But this time there was a noticeable headwind whistling along the Hillfoots, making this stretch a bit of a trudge. I was, however, helped by an innovation – a portaloo at Menstrie, around the seven mile mark. That was forty seconds well spent!
Menstrie Brae was certainly more of a significant impediment this year than last time. I noticed that there was an Andy Scott statue at the top of the hill that I hadn’t seen before – it turns out that the statue was damaged in a car crash in February 2011 and re-erected in 2012. The statue is of a running man with sharp, painful bits of metal sticking out of his legs… was it a comment on the half marathon?
I managed to keep going throughout the race, though the last section was pretty hard. But I got there, and gratefully hauled myself across the finish line for a chip time of 1:49:29.
Five years on, five minutes slower. I’ll take that.
Max elevation: 48 m
Min elevation: 6 m