Fraserburgh Half Marathon
16th November 2014
1hr 53m 58s – New PB!
10th/35 F Seniors
On a couple of occasions over the last few years the Fraserburgh Half Marathon has been my last race of the year, and where I have set a new half marathon PB. I can’t remember why I didn’t do the race last year, but this year I was glad to be returning to the Broch for a third spin around the flat and fast course.
The weather has always been stunning for this race; but unfortunately this year the forecast in the days before got grimmer and grimmer, with rain and moderate winds due to lurk over the North East all weekend. The rain got heavier on the Saturday evening, to the extent that the Stonehaven Flood Wardens received an alert to be on standby as further rain was due to fall over night. Unfortunately after the phone call came at 11.30pm that was my last chance at getting any quality rest that night; the sound of the rain fall and the Council deploying flood barriers echoed around the street as I lay in bed listening and unable to switch off. (For any new readers, you can read about why this is quite such a worry for us here: Stonehaven Floods 2012 .)
When 6.30am came and my alarm sounded, the last thing I wanted to do was to do drive for an hour and a half and run a half marathon. I was glad to have made arrangements with my friends Naomi and David to car share, and having friends to chat to on the way made the journey pass so much quicker! I left blue skies and sunshine in Stonehaven, but as we drove towards Fraserburgh the clouds got darker and heavier, and soon we were driving through rain.
On arrival in the Broch the temperature was much lower than in Stonehaven, and a brisk breeze coming off the sea made it even sharper. We collected our numbers and retreated to the car to put on more layers. I had intended running just my club vest and a t-shirt, but I added a long sleeve top which I had taken to wear after the race and some gloves.
Naomi has just joined Metro Aberdeen Running Club so was proudly running in her vest for the first time!
Just before 11 we made our way to the starting line which was right on the coast and the 261 runners huddled together for warmth and protection against the wind. Desperate to get moving, the crowd surged forward when the hooter went and we charged down one lane of the A90 straight out of the town. The route had been changed slightly this year and the loop of the playing fields which had previously been in the first mile of the race was now in the last. It’s an unfortunate but necessary alteration – the race is now attracting such numbers that it would not be safe to have them charging around the narrow route at the start.
Within the first two miles the rain had got heavier and seemed to be falling faster. The forest on private property through which the route goes offered a nominal amount of protection, but it was short-lived as at 2.5 miles it returns to open roads which were being battered by wind. Initially we ran straight into the wind, meaning the front half of my body was drenched in minutes. The route follows a lollipop shape so after every couple of miles a different side of my body was freshly soaked. I don’t have a lot of memories from the race, in part due to my eyes being screwed closed against the rain and also due to running as hard as I could to get it over with as quickly as possible.
I had set out knowing that a PB was possible, but that came with an asterix and subtext of ” *if I can be arsed”, and after only 4ish hours sleep the ‘can’t be arsed’ was quite strong with me that morning. In any case, I was knocking out quite consistent splits despite the wind and was meeting my psuedo-goal of keeping my pace firmly under 9 minute miles:
1) 8:36(8:36/m) 116cal
2) 8:37(8:37/m) 119cal
3) 8:48(8:48/m) 118cal
4) 9:07(9:07/m) 118cal
5) 8:37(8:37/m) 118cal
6) 9:01(9:01/m) 118cal
7) 8:51(8:51/m) 118cal
8) 8:43(8:43/m) 117cal
9) 8:23(8:23/m) 119cal
10) 8:26(8:26/m) 118cal
11) 8:53(8:53/m) 120cal
12) 8:46(8:46/m) 118cal
13) 7:59(7:59/m) 118cal
14) 0.19m – 1:12(6:18/m) 22cal
I was able to keep a little in the bank for a quick final mile, especially when I saw there was about 8 runners in front of me, the majority of whom were female. I decided I wanted those places so sprinted hard to overtake them all and ran hard past the Sports Pavilion to the finish which seemed to be just out of sight. I was directed to the right where I could see the clock up a short hill which read 1:53:5X. I pumped my arms to pull myself up the slippery grass incline to the line, hoping that I had slipped under 1hr 54m.
Armed with a new PB but soaked to the skin, I didn’t hang around at the finish long as I quickly became vey cold. I rushed back to David’s car to put on some warm clothes and was able to get back to the finish to see Naomi come in with Ronnie. Everyone quickly headed off to the post-race feed which is always phenomenal and I’m glad to say this year was no different. The folk of the Broch certainly know how to make a fine piece! There was two types of soup, hot rice pudding and jam, tables groaning under the weight of trays of sandwiches, cakes and sweet treats, and freshly baked hot sausage rolls arriving in trays straight out of a local baker’s oven.
After eating our fill we headed straight back down the road to Aberdeen, and then onwards to Stonehaven where thankfully the river had continued to stay in its banks. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch catching up with lost sleep. It was a shame that the weather was so foul, but pleasing to end the year with yet another PB, even if it was an accidental one.