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Stonehaven Half Marathon 2015 - Jane Dunlop

Stonehaven Half Marathon 2015 - Jane Dunlop

On the 5th July I took part in my first Half Marathon. The fact it was my first HM seemed to be a surprise to most people! I had previously trained for the Great Scottish Half Marathon in Glasgow however got injured in the process so thought I would just stick to shorter distances. However after running the Glen Clova route with some fellow DRRs on a recce run, then doing some longer runs with DDR I decided that I would give one a go this year. I picked Stonehaven as it was in the Club grand prix and to qualify for the grand prix I would have to do this race as I couldn’t do some of the others.

So I signed up on Entry Central, pleased to see some other DRRs had also entered. Then I had a look at the route! Not the easiest of routes for my debut Half Marathon with the first 4 miles looking decidedly hilly, with more later on. Too late now!! I made sure I got a good night’s sleep before the race (after a night out and 1 too many ciders on the Friday!) as we were up early, meeting at Morrison’s at 8am to car share! So had to get up earlier than I would if I was going to work 

We arrived about an hour before the 10am start – plenty of time to get organised with race numbers and toilet queues (which we beat thanks to Abby finding secret toilets)! Once that was over, I suggested a warm up to Lynne, Abby and Alison. This was met with strange looks and was told that it was warm enough! Right enough it was warm for that time of the day – that didn’t bode well for the race! Warm up done I went to find the rest of team DRR, with stories being shared on how tough the route is, where the hills are and some last minute factor 20 application (thanks Derrick)!

We headed to the start and the nerves were building. With it being my first HM I wasn’t sure how to pace it, especially with it being hilly. I had a time in mind wanting to do sub 1hr 40mins, again I wasn’t sure if that was achievable on this course. I decided to just go for it, start off steady, try to relax on the hills and aim for 7.15-7.30 pace on the flat.

The start was congested and the first couple hundred metres were along a narrow road before making a sharp turn up a steep road. It didn’t take too long to settle into a comfortable pace and was glad that I hadn’t gone off too fast with a 7:45 1st mile. I had some DRR for company with Richard in sight and Alison just behind. I knew Abby and Lynne wouldn’t be too far off either.

The first drinks station was a welcome sight, as it was warm I thought I better take on some water and poured some over me too (don’t tell the starter – he told us not to do this at the start of the race!?!) After this the hills got serious, round each corner was yet another long slog uphill. This led to my slowest mile at Mile 4 in 8:39. Luckily I was running in a group so that kept me going, trying to keep up with others.

As we approached the 5th mile marker I thought I was running well as I was gaining on Richard, unfortunately he wasn’t feeling good and had to walk some of the route and lost some places. As we approached half way there was finally some nice downhills, but knew that wouldn’t last long! There were some kind people out handing out jelly babies, slices of orange and spraying you with water. The water spray was good as it was hotting up!

If sub 1.40 was a goer I knew I had to be around 50mins at half way; I was just over but knew the second half of the race wasn’t as hilly so hopefully I would be able to make up some time on the flatter sections.

After taking on more water at the second station I lost contact with the group I was running with. I didn’t want to be in no man’s land so head down I fought back along the long straight heading towards Stonehaven. I felt good here overtaking people and the miles were flying by having thought the race was dragging till half way.

My pace was increasing and I thought my target was on but would have to push on. Then at about mile 10-11 I turned a corner and there was ANOTHER HILL! I could have cried and am sure some swear words came out! My legs were starting to tire and I didn’t even take on water at the last stop. Then I knew I had to get close to 7 minute mile pace for the remaining distance to get under 1.40. My last two miles were 7:03 and 7:02 running downhill back toward Mineralwell Park. I was still passing other runners and was going as fast as I could. We then entered the park and had to do a lap around a leg sapping grassy course to finish.

I crossed the line, delighted and completed exhausted in 1.39.43. I did it! I was 68th out of 367 finishers and 8th female overall. I immediately went to lie down to get my breath back and was handed my medal and goodie bag including a fab (albeit huge) t-shirt to celebrate the 30th year of this race. I would recommend this race, however this was the last year of the current route, all change for next year. It was a well organised race over a challenging route with a good spread laid on afterwards and the option of a massage to soothe weary legs which certainly helped my recovery!

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