This was my 4th attempt at the Balloch to Clydebank Half, having previously run 1:18:17, 1:20:04 and 1:19:30 in 2007 to 2009. I missed out last year through injury, and took these photos of the race instead. For 2011, I felt in reasonable shape, having run every day for the past 103 days.
I started fairly slowly and tried to resist running a ridiculously fast opening kilometre, which I managed with a 3:36 opener. I kept this pace going for the first 8km, running in a pack of 8 down the Renton backroad to Dumbarton, sitting right behind the Henderson brothers David and Alan.
As we dropped down the hill over the River Leven to Mile 5, the group was getting bunched so I jumped into the road to overtake. However this proved to be a mistake, since as soon as we went under the railway arch on to Bank End Road, I found myself dropped and struggling to catch any of this pack which was suddenly scattered.
I chased in vain, but never caught any of these 7 runners, however I did pass Toby Messenger (Garscube), Christopher Macdonald (Motherwell) and Scott Martin (Kilmarnock), who had all started too fast. As I reached Mile 11, I could hear heavy breathing and Damian McAuley appeared on my shoulder. This woke me up, and I realised I'd need to start making an effort. I realised I'd been coasting along for most of the route, and only now did it suddenly feel like a race.
I was fairly confident that I had enough left to hold off Damian, but I didn't want to blow up by hammering off too fast with 2 miles to go, so I slowly starting ramping the pace up, digging in for the little climb up Duntocher Road, before hitting the long almost final straight along Singer Road and North Avenue in the Clydebank Business Park. I realised I was now closing fairly quickly on Craig Ross and Bruce Carse of Bellahouston RR, but I couldn't quite find the impetus to close the gap fast enough.
Having gone through 10 miles in 59:33, I was thinking I must be close to going sub 1:18, and despite putting in a last ditch sprint down Seaforth Road I went just over, and clocked 1:18:15. However this was a course PB by 2 seconds, so I was reasonably pleased.