Bellas beat blizzard at Balloch

Posted in Race Reports on Apr 15, 2019

Gregor Yates reports on a successful day for the Harriers at the Balloch-to-Clydebank half marathon on 10 March 2019.

The Balloch to Clydebank half marathon is a popular build-up race for spring-time marathoners. The flat course and competitive field offers a local opportunity to PB at the distance, while the south easterly route means that tailwinds can be taken advantage of in normal weather.

Unfortunately this wasn’t a day of normal weather, with the predicted heavy snow already falling as the buses boarded for Balloch. Some Harriers sensibly opted to give the race a miss at this point, keen to avoid injury ahead of an upcoming marathon.

Although the snow eventually gave way to light sleet, doubts were raised about whether the race would take place. After a final check of the course, the organisers confirmed the go ahead, prompting cheers from some and quiet resignation from the rest of us.

A quick ‘warm up’ left the feet soaked and numb, but it wasn’t long before the pain of cold feet was replaced by the more familiar pain of racing.

The first half of the run was dry and there was enough grip to maintain a decent pace, even if the downhills could be a bit hairy. During the second half more sleet and snow swept in. In a strange way this was helpful, as it provided added incentive to finish and get warm again.

Many runners looked shell-shocked and worryingly cold at the finish, while in contrast Darren McQuade commented that he really enjoyed it.

Despite just five Harriers completing the race in a reasonably large field, this was a successful day for the club. In the men’s category, the trio of Gregor Yates (3rd), Darren McQuade (6th) and Miguel Delgado (7th) claimed the team prize, with the latter two holding off stiff competition from Inverclyde in an exciting finish. Unlike most other runners on the day, Darren and Miguel overcame the conditions to post new PBs.

Elsewhere Claire McCormick claimed 3rd place in the women’s V50 category and was the 17th woman overall, while Mark Matheson completed the race in a time of 1:33.

This wasn’t a race for the faint hearted, but anyone running a marathon over the next few weeks will feel ready for anything.