Ah, Dundee. City of Discovery. This would be the first time I had run the same race a second time, after clocking a PB (at the time) last year. Arriving at Camperdown Park the feeling of deja vu was strong as I walked, with all the experience of one who knows, past the queues waiting for the portaloos and into the main building itself where the smart toiletiers were assembling

In fact, the only noticeable difference this time was that the organiser / announcer, Nicholas Kydd had acquired a PA, making the race gathering instructions a lot easier to pick up. Not that that changed anything. After asking the pre-assembled runners to leave the start area so that we could line up in expected finish time order, with those expecting to finish under 1:45 at the front, everyone promptly moved back to where they were originally standing. Remembering the narrow trail section near the start, and in an effort to avoid walking roadblocks, I took up position about 10 rows from the front. I was not the only one, as I found myself beside Ronnie, who had the same idea.

BBC and AccuWeather had reached a score draw; their usual inconsistent pre-race weather reports were equally wrong. It was overcast and humid. I decided against wearing a bandana, which proved to be a bad move as before long the sweat was building and my eyes were contending with salt drips.

The race meandered through Camperdown as a kind of 3-minute prequel to the main event of running up through the trees. Ideally, this part of the race should be longer to allow the field more time to sort itself out before starting the narrow uphill forest trail. Up through the trees I encountered no blocks this time and found a good matching pace with those around me. As we reached the top and emerged onto the road I glanced at the Garmin and saw that I was well ahead of last year. It crossed my mind that I had gone out too quick, but I felt good and knew I could relax with a long downhill ahead. I settled into it.

Dundee 2014 startDundee 2014 start trailDundee 2014 trail bridgeDundee 2014 bridge 2

Mile 1: 8:31
Mile 2: 8:28
Mile 3: 7:33

After the downhill section we wound back into trail and footpaths again. As we approached half way I was aware that I was running faster than usual, but felt good. At the Loch Leven Half Marathon a couple of months ago I think I took it too easy during this part of the race, saving something for later. This time I decided to listen to my body, and if it meant a struggle at the end, so be it. I kept pushing and the miles flew by.

Dundee 2014 lakeDundee 2014 under bridgeDundee 2014 water stopDundee 2014 tunnelMile 4: 7:41
Mile 5: 8:09
Mile 6: 8:07

Emerging from the trail to road again, we approached a shopping centre. The sun made a brief appearance to remind me how silly it was not to wear a sweat band as we moved through a water stop and on to the Arbroath Road. Here the course parallels the main road with a slight incline which goes on and on. Nearing the end of this section some folks were taking a walk break. Not surprising given the heat. I was glad I had taken an electolyte water mix before the race started and had grabbed some water at each station.

Dundee 2014 policeDundee 2014 Arbroath RoadMile 7: 8:14
Mile 8: 8:15
Mile 9: 8:26
Mile 10: 8:33

Finally, we said goodbye to the Arbroath Road and enjoyed some downhill payback. I vividly recalled this part of the race last year; the long incline had taken it out of me and I was struggling. Running the same course with a one-year gap makes for a good progress assessment and the one thing that struck me was that my recovery time after reaching a “summit” is considerably improved. I was able to make the most of the downhill and still felt strong as we passed through some housing streets, complete with two gratefully-received spray hoses, crossed a narrow bridge and negotiated a sharp right hand turn onto the seaside path. The final mile of this race is brutal, because from the 12 mile marker you can see the finish zone off in the distance. Pushing on, it just never seems to get closer! It is mentally draining rather than physically draining. I saw one runner struggling with heat. Other runners had stopped to help and I kept going to try and find the medics. They were just ahead dealing with another case and were alerted to the first guy by the lady in front of me. Not long after, the finish line finally arrived. As I crossed the line I could see 1:47:x on the display board and knew I had a sizeable PB in the bag.

Dundee 2014 last mile 1
Dundee 2014 last mile 2Mile 11: 8:37
Mile 12: 7:34
Mile 13: 8:17
Run in: 8:02 (pace)

Haddington 2013    versus    Dundee 2014

Haddington 2013 versus Dundee 2014

Water and a goody bag were thrust in my hands. The medal was in the bag. Not as nice as last year’s specimen and almost exactly the same as the 2013 Haddington Half Marathon, but I guess if you run enough races you are going to get some duplicates.

So, to the comparison with last year. Nearly 6 minutes better, and every single mile split better than last year. A year’s worth of training, two marathons and an increasing focus on running hills in training has delivered a just reward!

Official Result:

Time: 1:47:34
Position: 147 / 620 (24%)
Category: 18 / 56

Start up to about 12.5 miles when my battery ran out. Almost got there! Time lapse at 3 second intervals.

  1. Karen Campbell says:

    You were very similar pace for first 2 miles and I must’ve lost you mile3-10 as I was a wee but quicker but the last 3 miles I properly slowed down and you finished 5 secs behind me! I thought I was in your video, pale blue forfar rd runners vest, but that must’ve been my friend Donna as my hair longer. Well done on a good race, it was too hot for me and I was too fast at start and ended up suffering 🙁 you did brilliant knocking off a huge chunk off last year, I was 96 slower lol. Well done again!

    • mockjogger says:

      Yeah, I just read your blog and saw your finish time. We started in roughly the same place (about row 10) and finished 5 seconds apart, but ran totally different races! See you next year maybe, I’ll be training for that 5 seconds 🙂

  2. Allan mcfie says:

    Very well written blog and great to hear other runners views and feelings about a race. I did this one last year and the 2011/2012 ones and loved them but feel that as the running boom is taking off again this route just is not suitable any more for nearly a thousand runners. I really think that the beginning of the race cant cope with that amount of runners, apart from that the organisation cant be faulted ….

    • mockjogger says:

      Thanks Allan. You are right about the narrow trail section. Thing is, they could fix that by extending the run round Camperdown at the start to allow the field to sort itself out first, and abandon that out and back loop off the Arbroath Road. I like the balance between trail and road, and it is one of the friendliest races you will find.

  3. Ronnie says:

    Well done. Fantastic effort. Love the time lapse – could see you catching me in it. Haha.