These things take time – Monklands Half Marathon 2023

Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a long one today. Just keeping things up to date and in order and all that malarkey. Plus I wasted half my lunch break trying to sort my house insurance, rock and indeed roll.

So in a strange parallel world its 15 to one on channel 4. (Does that show exist anymore? I have no idea. Let’s pretend it does.)

Question or nominate?

Question please host person.

OK, question.

How do you follow the excitement of a British medal and 10k PB?

No hesitation, no pause.

That’s an easy one host person. Run through Coatbridge. In the rain. On a Sunday morning. For over 13 miles.

Who am I to argue with the quiz show in my head?

Monklands Half marathon it was. I’d ran the accompanying 5k a few times in the past and actually podiumed in at the last time of asking in 17.00. Here’s a photo here to prove it and everything. Different vest and worst shades than Bono but I got a round bit of metal.

Great race the 5k and I really enjoy it, but since I was doing that daft marathon training thing this year the half fitted my schedule perfectly. My half PB was set the last time I ran a half, in sunny Clydebank, but that was over 3 years ago. 1.18.27 in the last race before lockdown. Seems a different lifetime, 3 weeks out from the marathon that never was and the fittest I had ever been. Knowing that was the last race for a while I had went out hard that day, this was different. Marathon still on, 4 weeks away and this one was simply about going sharper than marathon pace and if possible going through the gears a wee bit after half way. As I say, training run, so wasn’t even wearing club vest. To be honest I would be happy with 1.22/1.23 as long as on the day I felt good, there was no intent to race this hard in any way. Conditions were pretty good, minimal wind and although raining it was light and refreshing rather than heavy.

The race itself. Start off out the school, up a hill, then down a hill and into the park, run from one end of park to the other then it’s 2 loops, each finishing through the park, then after the second loop an uphill back to the school and the finish. Got it? Good. If you don’t just follow that lad from Calderglen at the front. Though I doubt you could as he was away and clear before we had left the school grounds. Rapid. As we went through the park for the first time myself and baldy John were having a gab about our training and letting Al take the pace. Great picture here from Lorna at the top of the wee kicker hill, four fine athletes or maybe an 80s boy band that has seen better days, you decide.

A few folk, including Mark King from my own club and Alan Moss who had had a storming year last year, came past us here, obviously appalled by the poor patter. I can’t blame them. Down the hill they all strode through Glennie Boulevard as I settled into my rhythm. All good.

Was happy to settle behind the group around that first loop in about 15th place or so and once we climbed up the hill at Bargeddie for the first time I felt ready to kick on. Through 10k and feeling fine in about 1.21 pace, so time to stop letting people go by and time to start upping it. I reckon I was sitting about 14th or 15th as I came through the park to the end of the first loop so there were people strung out in front to go after. Let’s see how the legs are. Over that last loop I picked it up and finished well, came round the finish straight and saw 1.18 was still on the clock so kicked to the end finishing 5th (and first M50) in 1.18.50. For the 3 rd race in a row a very pleasing negative split.

A few photos here from that loop.

My second fastest ever and sharper than I thought I had in me. Absolutely no complaints there. Betsy even modelled the medal for me, happily as you can see.

My block getting me fit anyway and I went out on the Tuesday and hammered the session I had been dreading, 5 miles at MP, then 5 x 1m sharper. All good in the hood. The block hasn’t been plain sailing and really got off to the worst start, but these things take time. Ah there’s the tune right there, added to the playlist.

I do love the Smiths.

I am definitely in better shape than I was at the start of the block.That’s all you can hope for. A decent week’s running in the legs, great camaraderie on the day and a really enjoyable jaunt roon Monklands. Thanks to Dougie Holmes and his team for a very well run and enjoyable event, the marshalls were fantastic, not just keeping us right, and cheering us on, but also taking most of the pictures you see in this blog. There’s no events without you so thank you.


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