After 18 months "resting"I decided that it was about time to get off my backside and do a race at last. I wanted something different that could be a bit of a challenge - well I wasn't disappointed:
The Heaven and Hell half marathon is organised by the Perth Road Runners and starts just outside Perth Airport near Scone. The weather was good with lovely view of the surrounding hills. That's when the feelgood factor ended! Even the start was uphill! We climbed steadily for 5 miles with little respite until we reached the summit which gave amazing views down the Tay to Dundee, this was followed by a steep descent (too steep to run without trying to slow yourself down) for a mile or so before a relatively pleasant undulating couple of miles until we turned for home. The road then went vertical! The next 2.5 miles were agony, some of the steepest roads I've ever run on, and into an increasingly strong headwind, managed to reach the summit without stopping (the long runs around the Manor valley paid dividends)at which we were informed that it was a pleasant 3 mile descent home - all lies! Again the descent was too steep to get into a good rhythm (the old thighs were reallystarting to complain!), after coming off the "cliff" the run in was undulating to say the least - even the finish was a mile of uphill running - by then I was running on empty and the finishing line was a lovely sight! I managed to get around in 1hr 46 in itself doesn't seem very good, but I ran well, my pace was good but the brutality of the hills spoilt any hope of a good time.
All that said, the race was well organised and marshalled with a terrific spread laid on at the end. A very friendly race, not too big (about 220 runners), if you fancy a challenge put this one in your diary, I might even give it another go next year and do it properly next time!