Race Report: Lossiemouth 2020
by Kirsty Walter
Sunday 16th February 2020 was the Moray Road Runners’ Kinloss to Lossiemouth Half Marathon. This 13.2 miles runs point-to-point across the tip of the “sticky-outy-bit” of Scotland’s North East, so in the week leading up to it eyes were set keenly on the wind forecast: any kind of tail, head or cross wind would significantly impact everyone’s performance; worse still, we’d heard “Storm Dennis” had secured a last-minute entry.
I’d been hearing mixed reviews on the course too. Some said it was a fast course, others that it had a lumpy second half. At 304 feet of total elevation gain, it’s certainly not horrendous but perhaps not as flat as many had suggested.
Experience and Goals
Half marathons haven’t really been my gig since I “properly” started running about four years ago. Caterham (South East England) Rotary Half Marathon was the first race I signed up for. I got a time of 01:49:03 for a grassy start and finish on a hot day – it didn’t really mean that much to me at the time, other than causing me a little frustration as I’d run the distance faster in training!
Since then, I have settled for the odd combination of marathons and 10Ks, with my only half marathon having been Fraserburgh in November 2019. I didn’t quite get the time I wanted there (3rd club standard of 1:35:00 – my time was 1:36:28), but I also hadn’t targeted the distance well, nor did I have much race experience in it. I went into Lossie fairly relaxed: I knew I’d be thrilled at a similar time to Fraserburgh, but I was conscious that - again - I hadn’t been targeting the distance (London Marathon in April was my goal at the time). My only real complaint going in was having tired legs from upping my mileage for that!
It was chilly setting off in the morning and even on the hour-and-a-half drive the weather was changeable. Then the heavens opened on the bus from Lossiemouth to Kinloss! But we lucked out: the sun shone throughout the run. And it turns out Denis was on our side.
With my legs having hit the point of no return at 10 miles in Fraserburgh, I was determined to pace this one better and so told myself I would sit at 7:25-7:30 min/mile until at least half way - then push on if I felt it. But after just a few miles, it was quite clear I was putting more effort into slowing the pace than I would be by letting the wind carry me. So off I went!
It wasn’t a very consistent run in terms of pace, but this time I felt good at mile 10 and so charged on. The last 2-300 metres were on nobody’s side - turning the last corner into the finishing straight meant directly into the wind - but I came out with an overall time of 1:34.32. Thrilled.
The event itself was excellently organised, so many thanks go to the Moray Road Runners for a great day out, from me and from Metro. Registration was quick and easy, everything ran on schedule - even with the complex arrangements of getting everyone to the to the start line by bus! - and the post-race grub was outstanding and plentiful.
Metro as a team came home with our hands full. We had a bronze in the men’s overall and MV60s, from Ben Ward (68.44) and Alan Brown (105.21) respectively. Richard Horne (76.47) took first-place MV50 for the men. Meanwhile Nicola MacDonald (79.52) topped the women’s race and both men and women brought home the team prizes (Ben Ward, Tom Brian 71.36, Sam Milton 73.12, Nicola MacDonald, Hazel Wyness 87.10 and Jill Bonthron 88.34).
In summary… what a fab race! I would definitely both go back myself and recommend it to others – although I doubt any of us will ever experience that kind of wind-related luck in a race again.
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