This was my second time running the Monklands Half.
Last time was in May 2017 and I found myself having to walk on the route. This time I was determined that that wasn’t going to happen again.
The half is one part of a three-race event, with a 5k and a toddlers’ dash also being run. Changing facilities are in the local St Ambrose school, with the start/end tunnel in the school grounds. An efficient and fast check-in service was available, I collected my race number and changed, then out to the start of the race.
The first mile of the race is a little bit problematic, as it goes on pavement along the side of a road that is open to traffic – if you are at the back it can be hard to get past slower runners. However, very soon the route swings into Drumpellier Park, and you have all the space you need.
There are then two laps of a route that goes through the park, swings south into Coatbridge then turns along the A89 Glasgow Road. When that road reaches Bargeddie you turn right again, and go up a long climb that takes you back into the park. At the end of the second lap, you turn left rather than right, go through a local housing estate and back to the school grounds to finish.
As with last time I ran this race, conditions were really warm. My watch might have been telling me that the forecast was 13C, but that was the temperature in the shade – in the hot sun it was a lot warmer than that. But there were four water stations on the route, so hydration wasn’t a problem. In fact, the marshalling on the entire route was superb, with a large team of hi-viz heroes making sure that it was impossible to get lost, and that we were never slowed down by any of the local traffic – superb organisation!
I started off quite comfortably and felt good until about mile eight or nine. By then the heat was starting to tell, and the long climb up from Bargeddie to the park entrance was once again hard work. This time, I’m glad to say, I was able to keep going and didn’t stop to walk at any point.
In some ways, we could have ended the race around mile seven or so. There was hardly any overtaking going on – I couldn’t catch up with the people in front of me and I managed to stay ahead of those behind. In the last quarter mile I did overtake one fellow, who then re-passed me in the last hundred metres!
But it was a fun day out, with a nice medal for all finishers and a technical t-shirt for those who chose to buy one.
As I said last time, this is definitely an event that deserves more publicity than it gets – highly recommended!
On-course photos by Brian Watson and Adam Law, via clubsportnl. Thank you very much!
Max elevation: 98 m
Min elevation: 70 m