Donald Crawford 11mile Handicap race

Every Hogmanay our club, Kilbarchan AAC, have our Donald Crawford 11mile Handicap Race. The route is one of the hardest road races I do. The first 4miles are a long climb out of Kilbarchan. Then with about 2miles to go there is another tough climb out of Bridge of Weir.

It is also a handicap race so the slowest go off first and the fastest last so there is always someone to chase and others chasing you.
This year I took over the Handicapping and thanks to Richard, a friend at the club, devised a spreadsheet that would estimate finishing times based on previous races or similar distance races.
Once I decided to run 24miles on Wednesday I knew it was going to be even harder but I was quite surprised and happy with how I recovered so was looking forward to the race. My plan was to make sure I ran the hill nice and steady and then depending on how I felt whether I could push on or hang on.
There were 16 runners and three relay teams and once I sorted out the handicaps we were off. The first runner left just after 1.30pm and I started 25mins 15secs later. The final runner (the boys relay team) started at 36mins.
I was determined to run the hill steady and I achieved that goal. My legs felt fine and I kept the same distance behind Dave, Cara and Stevie who all started 45secs ahead of me.
After 2miles or so
I continued to keep a good steady pace going and caught up with Jim McM (who I’d given a poor handicap to! Sorry Jim) and then Stevie (who hasn’t been running as much lately).
After another mile or so Garry went past me gong like a train. He’s started 5mins 15secs after me and went on to win the race.
It was good to reach the highest point and then run down the twisty road to Bridge of Weir. There is a tough climb out of Bridge of Weir so I tried to make sure I didn’t push too hard. I didn’t look at my watch at all as I was keen to run as hard as I felt I could.
I was really surprised that I felt strong right to the end. Another encouraging sign as we go into 2011.
Coming out of Bridge of Weir. James Snodgrass about to pass me!
Along the way the two boys relay teams went past me and so did Donald just before Bridge of Weir. Donald went on to finish second so well done to him.
For the whole race I could see Cara and Dave ahead of me. Every few miles I’d time the distance between us. It started at 45secs and I got it down to about 30secs and finished 43secs behind Cara and 29secs behind Dave.
Finishing in Kilbarchan Park
I finished in 8th position and was the 7th fastest scratch time in 1hr 12mins 39secs. I ran this race two years ago in 1hr 09mins 57secs but to be honest this felt a better run. I ran a sensible pace the whole way and never felt in trouble.
After everyone had finished we had our prize giving and photos …
With Garry Rankin, the race winner
Group photo
So that’s 2010 finished as far as my running goes. Looking forward to 2011 already!
Let me wish you a great New Year and I hope you achieve all your goals.
10.56miles in 1hr 12mins 39secs (6.53pace)
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One Response to Donald Crawford 11mile Handicap race

  1. Thomas says:

    Happy New Year, John. I get your comment about off-road ultras. One of these days I will do one of these, quite possibly the Fling. Promise!

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