As we set off through the second exit of a roundabout then up a gradual incline past the train station, Neil immediately took the bull by the horns. I attempted to follow him but by 1km it was clear he was taking no prisoners and, by the time we joined the cycle path which formed much of the route, I found myself gradually becoming cut off. I resigned myself to a long, hard effort, all the while focussing on sustaining my own pace in the hope Neil's would drop off. I went through 5km in 16:20. Not great but better than Dundonald. By the turn between 5km and 6km, I got a glimpse of Neil. He was tucked in behind the lead bike and moving well.
Nevertheless, I stuck to my task. At one point, I lost sight of Neil, had no-one behind me and no other car on the road so went through a strange experience of running as hard as I could along an empty road in pouring rain completely by myself. The isolation ended as I approached the Magnum Centre at the Harbourside with 2km to go and got some encouragement from my Mum. Even though 2nd place was secure, I tried not to slacken off and maintained the effort to the finish line which I reached in 32:30. A good improvement on 2 weeks earlier. I had therefore run the next 5km slightly quicker, in 16:10.
Finally, as hinted at, this is one of two races organised by Irvine AC. The other is a 5 miler in mid July run over a similar course though with a different start and finish. I thoroughly recommend both.