Weather Experience – The Alloa Half Marathon 2017 Twitter: @vanhaddock Disclaimer :These are the views of a man who still hasn’t had a beer since December 31st (London, get your Peroni in for 23rd April…). And who had a lovely chocolate cake last night. Cake is good. I know that my runs are good to some and poor to others. But to me it’s a biggie.

An extra wee blog this week as I did the Alloa half marathon today. Wasn’t particularly looking forward to it as the weather forecast had been a wee bit mad all week. 60 mile an hour winds. Down to 40. Hurrah. Back to 60. Ooft, but as the week went on it started to look less crazy. I had pencilled this in as a PB attempt a few months ago. But the weather had changed that mindset  for me. Last year was my first sub 90 as I wobbled over the line. On a perfect day I had a feeling I could beat my Half PB of 1.28.53, and if everything went to plan trouble 1.28. Very ambitious for me, but I have been doing more miles than I am used to. So this morning as I woke up and checked the weather and saw it was better than expected? The nerves kicked in, I instantly felt sick and my breathing became horrendous. I know to many this is so modest the sort of time I am looking at, but I have never claimed that I am any good at distance running. Got there, met up with Graham from the club and collected my number.


Now a slight interjection here. It’s allowed as it’s my blog. I lied in my last blog as I didn’t expect to do another one before Monday. THIS is a final wee reminder, and it is final, the voting is closing for blog of the year at the Running Awards tomorrow Monday 20th March. I’m hearing that the battle for third place may be quite close….I am privileged to be in the shortlist for my wee blog. I am not affiliated to any magazines or products as many of the other shortlisted blogs are and as an independent it is difficult to mix it up with the big boys. Having met many of you at races you know that I’m just a wee runner like yourselves who likes to keep a log of my progress with no hidden agendas except the love of running and writing. I would appreciate if you could take a minute out of your time to vote for my wee blog. It would mean a lot to me. Please have a wee vote on before 20th March, and maybe, just maybe, I won’t be last 🙂

Back to Alloa. There was a wee wind but no rain and was brightening up. Like a traitor I bumped into the Bella RR crew of Big H, the Italian Stallion, rapid Kev and Coach Louise and joined them for a warm up. In my proud Motherwell hoodie I hasten to add. They quickly got rid of me to talk their own tactics and it was time to get to the start. Managed to catch up with quite a few people which is always brilliant, and met more who recognised me from being on Pointless with their school pal 🙂 Magic stuff. And we were off. The weather was good. First k was the usual tight melee. Got boxed in various times but didn’t stress as a long way to go.


First 2k about the same time as last year, and the third a little slower. Thats ok. Long term plan. Averaged 4.14ks last year. Aim for 4.10s this year a long as I could. 

The Merriweather brothers went past rapidly. Rapid Kev was by with some encouraging words and as we came to the downhill section to Tillicoultry I was running solidly, steadily, and alongside Coach Louise. 

We were to have a dong dong battle for a few miles. Happy with things so far. As we got towards the bottom of the hill I started to feel a crosswind, and as I ran past the Nike store WITHOUT GOING IN (I know… horrendous…) I could start to feel a bit of moisture in the air. Round the corner we went for the 4 – 5 mile Hillfoots road section and the wind came out to play. Being a chap who likes company to decided to bring it’s friend the rain as well. Aw man. It was rough. I tried to maintain a pace of 4.10s and it was hard work. Thankfully the rain didn’t last too long but the wind stayed. It was a long 4 miles or so into this headwind. People were overtaking then falling back. I was doing the same. Spurt. Tiring, falling back. As we got to the wee dogleg section halfway along I decided to try and get a bit of pace again and stepped it up. Still 2 miles or so to the end of the wind. Still 2 miles or so to the hill of doom. This was the worst bit of the race for me. My mind was doomed. I had already written this blog as this stage. “Ran sh1te. No excuses. Shortest blog ever. London can go away and play darts with it’s maw.” I toiled along to the end of the road and the fortunate turn up to the hill. I know, I was looking forward to the hill to get out of this wind! Crazy. Gel taken. Head slightly better and I could see the turn. Round we went and a small section before the hill. The wind was unnoticeable now. The Weather experience swinging back in our favour. The sun was coming out. Through 10 miles in 1.07.15, this was 45 seconds faster than last year. So bad, bad section gone and still ahead. Right heid, do one. There is a course PB on the cards here, and if I finish well I can trouble my 1.28.53 Half PB. I went up the hill quite well. Round the roundabout, and onto hill two, the long drag to Lornshill. Better than last year. Legs still ok. Could see Henry and Scott Love in the distance again. The three of us should form our own club. And whether they believe it or not, with only an eye on the clock, and not on trying to beat them, I went for it. 20th kilometre in 3.57 and going well on the last. Past both Scott and Henry , then Scott came back past me again. 21st kilometre in 3.39.


Last bend and I sprinted. I knew a sub 1.28 could be close, but had no idea how close.

Sprinted to the line. Fella thought I was racing him and speeded up.


Nah mate, it’s the clock. Got over the line. 1.27.37. Boom. Absolutely delighted after a wobble and difficult conditions to take so much off my best. Funnily enough Henry had ran exactly the same time as he had started behind me. Every emotion through my wee heid again today. As I have said, these distance runs aren’t my strength, and they never will be. But I am happy. I stuck in. I ran faster at this distance than I have before, and don’t tell everyone but I may even have enjoyed it. Was good to see another load of PBs, well done Andy Jannetta , the Italian Stallion, Arfur D, Akira fae Fife (Nice to meet you fella), JP, Susan and Pedro and umpteen others. This is a cracking race and I will be back. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers and the crowd who were absolutely magnificent. I moaned about the weather but it helped make the event. Try it out next year 🙂


Thanks to Gordon Humphreys, Louise Hetherington, Ethan Lee, David Glencross, Andy Jannetta and Murray McAlpine for the pics .


A different wee type of tune tonight. A remix from their first album. A mixed up weather experience.

4 thoughts on “Weather Experience – The Alloa Half Marathon 2017

  1. Our experiences with the second half of the hillfoots, and the turn leading to much much better headspace were identical. I was SO GLAD to be out the wind, and realised I was actually, miraculously, still feeling good.

    Well done on a great run today, and a nice summary of it here. Keep up the good work in all domains!

    Liked by 1 person

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