Vive le tour!

For those that don’t know, the Tour of Clydeside is a race over five consecutive nights in five separate locations.  It covers a mixture of distances and surfaces and while it’s peppered with some (very) good club (and non-club) runners there is definitely a mix of abilities.  Overall the distance should be 40k, but it’s a self-styled low-key event so distances are not necessarily as important as the event itself.  It is run by a few hard working individuals one of which, Stuart Irvine, is stepping down as lead coordinator after 14 years.  Supporting the organisers on some of the days are a number of volunteers and local clubs.  Two stalwarts, Garscube and Bellahouston Harriers, host two of the nights with new boys Dumbarton AAC taking the Thursday slot this year.  This was my second tilt at Le Tour, having previously taken part in 2016, and I felt much better prepared and aware of what was to come.

Generally the race is the first full week in August but with the European Championships gobbling up all the first aid support it was moved back two weeks this year, and that played right into my hands.

My summer plan had been the Arran Half Marathon, my first attempt on this ‘undulating ‘course.  This was at the beginning of July but, given I was then on holiday for two weeks my training was a bit delayed.  So, with Run The Blades looming on the Friday I came back my holidays, I began four weeks of training that was a bit more intensive than it should have been.  Had the ToC been at its normal date I wouldn’t have made it.  I had to increase the frequency of runs to 4/5 a week although, to be fair, the majority were under the 10k mark; the idea being to get used to the repetition.  I don’t know if this is the correct approach or not, but it works for me.

Le Tour is, for me, quite unique.  Individually the races are, relatively, short.  Only 1 is 10k, and the others less.  The issue is the frequency.  Unlike a Half (the furthest I have to compare it to) you’ll be tired when you’re finished, but you know you’ve got to go again the following night.  You’re also running at a faster pace.  40k is just short of a marathon distance, but you’re trying to run each night at 10k (or faster) pace.  It’s a different mindset to a ‘normal’ race.

The Sunday before Le Tour starts is your usual pre-race mess of ensuring all the kit is ready.  I also wanted one small run as I found it tough taking two consecutive days off, and I’d had Saturday off as I was through at the Fringe with the family.  I had a few problems though, the main one being kit.  I only have two pairs of shorts with pockets (for my car keys) which meant a bit of planning as to what was being worn when.  I was also trying to plan as much for the week ahead, looking at the weather and terrain, as I still had work (and the usual cycle commute) to contend with.

Monday evening arrived and it was off down to Lochwinnoch; the venue was Castle Semple visitors centre overlooking the Loch.  Sun was out (ish) and it was warm with little, if any, breeze.  Warm-up, a proper one, done and the whistle went for us to move to the start line.  The first race, the Lochwinnoch Loosener, is an 8k out and back along the cycle path.  It’s about as flat as a route can be with Strava recording a massive 13 metres of elevation over the whole course.  The plan for this one was a gentle start to the week, around the 5 minute per km mark, specifically conserving some energy for Tuesday – we’ll get to that in a minute.  The plan was swiftly out of the window.

There was a large field for a low-key race.  Ultimately 86 Tourers (folk running the whole week) and 31 Tourists (those doing individual races) were at the start line.  I’d positioned myself behind the majority of the club runners (from previous experience) and off went the gun, and I mean a proper starting pistol.  A few gasps and jumps and we were running.  The adrenalin was going and I was caught in a pack so the first 3k were run at a 4:40 average.  There didn’t seem much point in backing off now so, literally, I ran with it.  It was about that time, 2 miles to be exact, that I was passed by the first runner coming the other way.  The ultimate winner, Kieran Cooper, went flying past in the opposite direction at Jack Arnold pace.

The downside to this route is that there’s not really a lot to look at so once you’re settled there’s little to do.  I do, on occasion, play little games in my head to keep me amused in these circumstances so I started to count my position.  It helps remove the focus from the mundane actions of putting one foot in front of the other.  Not long after I’d reached the marshal, was round his back, and on the way home.  The pace slipped only slightly towards the end and I finished 71st – the same as my bib number.  A decent time, and quicker than my 2016 attempt.

Contrary to my Runbetweener of the Month entry, I followed Jack’s sage advice and did a proper warm down and stretch before a bit of pasta and home for the night, satisfied with the first day.

The second race is hosted by Garscube Harriers and is run within Dawsholm Park, the Garscube Gallop.  There are some tarmac sections but it is predominantly a trail race.  And it’s hard.  Feeling comfortable with my starting point from the previous night I lined up again behind the club runner, mainly Garscube as it was their ‘home’ race.  I had no plan for this one save getting round.

As it had been in 2016 it had been raining all day and the ground was wet, and muddy.  There’s a short tarmac and grass section before you’re into the trees and the main downhill section. However, due to the conditions you don’t really get the benefit.  You’re then into a series of bends, single track paths, a short incline with some stones for help and you can throw in the odd log or two to hurdle.  Then the fun begins.  A short downhill into a sharp left turn and up the first set of wooden plank stairs – although these ones are at a nice height for bouncing up.  Another incline, with anther (wet) log to two-step over and then into the steeper incline and the second set of stairs.  This set are a step and a half long, and a step and a half high, i.e. really awkward.  You end up doing shorter steps in the middle, off to the side, but it really works the leg muscles and there’s another 50m hill at the top to content with.  It’s hard first time round, but knowing you’ve got to do it another three time is a mental exercise in itself.  There is a rest after that, on a tarmac section before you’re back to the main downhill section.

A very tough course, leaving very heavy legs.  I can’t really do it justice in words, you’d need to run it, but suffice to say I was quite happy it measured much shorter than the proposed 7k.  By way of an indication, the pace was 50 seconds per km slower than the day before.  However, it is very well marshalled.  Indeed all credit to the marshal at the first set of stairs giving very vocal encouragement, and tips, to help runners climb the stairs.

Wednesday took us out to Clydebank for the Canal Canter.  I don’t know a lot of people in the running community – it’s expanded significantly since joining the Runbetweeners, and it’s at this point in the week where you start to get nods of acknowledgement and to have conversations about tough nights, sore legs and the like.  I’ve mentioned the number of good club runners that take part, but there’s no elitism here.  There’s a camaraderie; a band of brothers-esque feel to the TOC, and is part of what makes it enjoyable.

The Canter is another 8k out and back, this time along the side of the Forth & Clyde canal.  Starting at the bridge next to McMonagles chippy (the boat shaped one next to the shopping centre) you head back towards Glasgow.  It’s slightly uphill on the way out, mainly at the lock gates, but nothing that provides any cause for concern.  In my, now usual, starting position my plan was to ease out the first wee bit, let the legs get going, and then find a good pace to settle into.  I was conscious of the effort I had put into my legs the night before, and that there were still two days to go.

It had been raining and the start was a mix of tarmac/gravelly paths so there were a few puddles and muddy bits, but again nothing to cause concern.  The rain had stopped earlier in the day though, and it was again warm.  It’s a fairly uneventful race but there’s more to look at than the Lochwinnoch race.  The path is also slightly busier with non-race people, so a wee bit more care is needed.  This was the first race where there had been distance markers – some spray paint on the ground.  Not that I’d missed them, GPS watches and all, but it got interesting at the turn.  I started to see the people coming back in the opposite direction (and been counting them again) and I’d also made it to nearly 2 and a quarter miles this time before being passed by Kieran coming the other way.

I knew I was approaching the turn and I felt good.  A big purple line across the path marked ‘turn here’ was the point.  However, the marshal was positioned some 100m further up the path.  She had made a mistake, but to her credit she apologised to everyone on the way past.  No real hardship, and it provided a bit of a chuckle.

Turning in 51st position I had an obvious goal for the back 4k.  Despite passing a couple of people, I was also passed by three others, so no joy. Surprisingly I wasn’t as ‘busted’ as I thought I would be – although I could feel the cumulative effect of the week building.  In 2016 I had again pegged this as a ‘rest’ race – but I had struggled quite badly on the flat course and finishing a shade under 40 minutes.  This year, however, I was more than happy with the outcome, the time and the pace which was slightly better than Monday night’s. Still being a good boy with my warm down, I headed home happy.

The penultimate night was a new race, with the course a bit of a mystery.  Previous incarnations of Le Tour had spent Thursday nights at Mugdock Park, but an issue with the council, specifically their charges, had prompted a change.  Had rained heavily in the afternoon, but the sun was out and it was a lovely evening for a run.  The Dumbarton Dream, hosted by Dumbarton AAC, took place in Levengrove Park, in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock.   The course was three and three-quarters laps of the inside/outside of the park.  While I know some of you don’t like the repetition of multiple laps, I was quite happy with this and I was able to gauge after the first three-quarter lap where my ‘rest’ points would be.

A good tarmac/gravel pavement & road surface to run on meant a good, consistent pace could be maintained.  Despite this being the fourth race in a row (and five consecutive days of running for me) I felt good and strong. I believe the hours put into the training in the weeks leading up to this had helped me significantly.  Nice and flat for the first 500m before the first, of four, climbs of the hill.  According to Strava it was 10m of elevation in 200m (between 5% and 10% gradient), but it felt steeper than that.  Short and sharp enough to power up, with a longer downhill at the top before re-entering the park.

I enjoyed this run, but must admit that I was clearly feeling the effects of the week at the end.  The wind down the Clyde meant you cooled very quickly, but there was the pleasant surprise of a t-shirt.  Not a TOC momento, but a Dumbarton to Clydebank Half Marathon t-shirt, in XL.  One of the Dumbarton boys had found a couple of boxes in the back of his garage and while it was more of a dress, it kept out the chill.  All the talk at the end was good race, the hill and the finale the following night.  It was the most lethargic warm down of the week, and I slept soundly that night dreaming peacefully of the cold beer that was waiting for me at 8:30 the following night.

And we’d reached Friday, the final race.  Hosted by the Bellahouston Harriers, within Pollok Park, the Bella Belter is a 10k race with the pack being swelling by a number of tourists.  As well as it being a Friday night 10k in Glasgow, it also forms part of the Harriers club championships so there were a number of additional Bella vests to be seen.  As with the Brian Goodwin the start was at Cartha and headed out towards Pollok House, past the Highland cows before taking a left before the cricket club up towards the Parkrun start.  Following the longer Parkrun hill, instead of turning left at the bottom and onto the ‘trail’ section, you went back up the hill (used in the Great Scottish Run Half) and round the back to come out at Pollok House again.  Once more round that loop then you’re back towards Cartha and the finish.

I went off like a rocket, not necessarily planned, but not discounted either.  I knew if I started slow, I’d only get slower so I thought I’d aim to blast through as much as possible before easing off when I simply couldn’t push any further.  As a tactic, I’m not sure how effective, or wise, it is, but it was Friday and my brain slightly foggy.  In my previous Tour I had three of four runners who were within 10 seconds of me in the overall standings, so it made an interesting mini-race on the Friday, but that wasn’t the case this year.  I was about 45 seconds behind the guy in front (who’d been just in front of me all week) and about the same to the guy behind, so I aimed really just to do my own thing.  Overcast and with a heavy does of misty rain was actually welcome for it was, again, quite warm.

The opening pace I’d mentioned, just over 4:30 a km, last for 3 and a bit kilometres.  The next one had edged out to 4:50, and had coincided with the first climb of the Parkrun hill.  That was, as they say, the beginning of the end.  There was never any doubt about finishing or, barring injury, my pace completely collapsing.  I was sore, but comfortable, but my body was telling me that I’d had my fun and it was time to downshift.  There was plenty of Runbetweeners in support on the road and to gee me along with Gillian, Jacqueline, Paul and Susan all marshalling.  They kept me going, and smiling.  As did a somewhat bemused Anne who was on a training run and heading in the opposite direction.

I’d finished the laps and was heading home with about 2k to go.  I’d dropped a bit more pace, going over the 5 min km for the first time that week (Tuesday aside), but by that point I’d stopped checking/caring.  I felt though, that I had to push for home. My legs, by this time, were vehemently protesting, but they responded – they knew it was flat from here in.  Passing the horses for the final time I mustered all I had for that final straight and the turn into the rugby club.  I crossed the line in 46:52, delighted with this and my overall performance throughout the week.  I couldn’t express my feelings – I wasn’t really able to talk to anyone – but I had that buzz inside.  A seat, and a change of clothes later, and that bottle of beer was sitting right in front of me.  It didn’t last long.

It’s a tough week, and the most common question is “why do it?”.  There’s no bling, no goody bag and no t-shirt (although sometimes you can buy them if there’s enough interest to make it worthwhile).  All you get is a time and a bottle of water.  For me, it’s different to any other race and it provides a buzz and a rush that I’ve found difficult to match.  I’m under no illusions that I was out to challenge for the win (I was 43rd out of the 71 finishers) so ultimately it’s about finishing and doing my best.  I know I’m not even racing for my category (I came 17th out of 19).  However, unlike a normal race – where you only really race yourself – Le Tour can provide some chances to race against those of a similar level with that ‘competition’ being over a number of nights.  Also, as I said earlier, there’s a people element to it as well which is both enjoyable and helpful throughout the week.

It’s a commitment, both in terms of training and for the actual week, but I’d highly recommend it.  Vive Le Tour!

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OutRun Race Report

Thanks to Kirsty C. for her guest piece on last month’s OutRun organised by Glasgow Frontrunners and held in Kelvingrove Park. Brilliantly coordinated to fall on Kirsty’s birthday it sounds like she had a ball. A great review and by the sounds of it one to pencil in the diary for next year. 

 

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The Boy, Jennifer, Kirsty and Sarah

 

The morning of 18 August dawned grey and drizzly but that could not dampen the excitement Jennifer Laskey, Sarah Grant and myself as we prepared to take on the undulating course of OUTRun organised by the Glasgow Frontrunners.

 

We headed to the leafy West End and parked easily on Kelvin Way 45 minutes before the 930am start time. Making our way to the bandstand to collect our numbers and hand our baking into the cake stall (you can’t go wrong with a race with a cake stall). (I’m signing up tomorrow).

 

The bandstand was full of runners and volunteers mingling and chatting with many sporting rainbow face paint. Our favourites were the Unit 4 Cross Fit contingent in gold lame (short) shorts and vests with the logo “A place for everyone, their dug and their unicorn”. We were proudly sporting our rainbow shoelaces kindly provided by Coach Jack Arnold, who came along to support us, but regretted not having worn our own gold lame shorts.

 

It was a good chance to spot the runners from other Frontrunner groups around the country. Newcastle, Manchester and London were all represented. The Frontrunners are Scotland’s largest LGBTQ+ club so there is an LGBTQ+ focus to the event but it’s very much open to all and we found it a very welcoming and inclusive event.

 

At 920ish the group warm-up led by a man in a cape on the bandstand stage started and runners joined in enthusiastically (some more so than others). The rain was off and it was a lovely cool morning as we were then piped round to the start line just outside the bandstand.

 

At 930 over 370 of us set off to tackle the 5 mile course. The route is entirely within Kelvingrove Park and starts off fairly flat before climbing for half a mile or so. Before getting up the hill we were well supported by June MacLeod and Kirstin Campbell who had kindly given up their mornings to marshal and were in fine voice. We were encouraged up the hill by the sound of a steel band at the top and lots of friendly volunteers and supporters.

 

The course is an out and back and runs by the side of the river. It flattens out after the hill and then you head north through the park. At around 2.5 miles the faster runners started to come towards us on their way back and we enjoyed seeing their pace and determination. The hill at the first mile has to be done in reverse on the way back and seemed much tougher but again, steel band and marshals provided lots of encouragement.

 

It was then more or less downhill all the way to the finish. We ran past June and Kirstin again and then onto the home strait where Jack, Jennifer and Sarah were there to cheer me across the line. Disappointingly, I hadn’t practised my cartwheels so was unable to finish in style and claim a prize but we enjoyed seeing others do so.

 

We made our way back to the bandstand for our finishers’ bags and one of the nicest race T shirts we’ve ever had and got ourselves in line for the cake stall (did we already mention the cake stall?). Bakes are donated and are free to runners but donations to SAMH were welcomed.

 

The race was won by Jonathan Roebuck in 27:31 and the first woman was Toni Mcintosh in 31:07. Sarah and Jennifer finished in a pacey 43:23 and 43:58 respectively and were happy with that. I was a good bit behind them in 49:28 but my time was irrelevant for this one . I’d never run a timed 5 mile race before so had no benchmark and my running had not been my priority over the summer. I ran this one with no pressure and it was much more about enjoying the atmosphere and spending time with my friends on my birthday. It’s a cracker of an event – I found it very joyful and uplifting and that, and a good laugh with friends, did wonders for my mood and sometimes that’s all you need from your running.

 

So Runbetweeners, would we recommend this one? The answer is a an emphatic yes. If you like Moira’s Run (and don’t mind hills) then you’ll like this one too. Lovely route, lovely people, lovely cake, cheap to enter, an excellent T-shirt and a prize for the biggest team which we think the Runbetweeners could claim next year (not to mention the prize for best bake). We’ll see you there!

Irene Zingone – Runbetweener of The Month

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Irene is the very definition of a well kent face amongst the southside running community. An age-graded superstar she is a regular podium topper at races up and down the distances, boasting an impressive set of personal and season best times. Irene regularly volunteers at Rouken Glen Junior parkrun inspiring younger runners to develop good habits and a love for running. On Monday evenings she is generous in sharing her experience, good humour and zest for running with other members of the group making her a valuable member of our running tribe.

 

 

RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Irene Zingone
Age: 69 nearly 70!!!!!!!!!!
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners
Something interesting we don’t know about you: I was runner up in a Beauty Contest, (at the age of 9) all downhill since!
THE LONG HARD MILES WHEN YOU WONDER WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS

RUNNING (write as much as you want)

How and when did you start running? Started running at 55 years of age, my daughter nagged me into it. She took me to Rouken Glen and I jogged a minute then walked a minute for 2.5K, I thought I was going to going to DIE, but I persevered and soon became hooked!!!!!!!!!!
Why did you start running? A friend was looking for someone to run the ladies 10k for the British Heart Foundation. This gave me a goal which made the pain all worthwhile!!!!!
What is your favourite route to run? Why? From my house up Stewarton Rd, Barrhead Rd, up right onto Ayr Rd (A77) to the dump and back home which is 8 miles. It’s a good route for building stamina
What is your favourite race? Why? Troon 10K, for the past 3 years I have come first in my age category and a lovely cheque for £50 comes in handy to buy new trainers!
Proudest running achievement? Why? Finishing my first Marathon in Manchester supported by all my family!
What are your current running goals / ambitions? Just to keep running and try to achieve a new PB for a 10K race
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Enjoy your running and build up gradually and don’t be too hard on yourself you WILL get Better!
What does your better half / family think about your running? My husband thinks I’m crazy especially when I go out in the pouring rain, the rest of my family are proud of me…I think!!!!
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? The HILL session!!!!
If you could run anywhere in the world? New York Marathon
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 25.19
Favourite parkrun? Linwood
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? Sub 25
Favourite distance? Half Marathon
Who is your running hero? Dame Kelly Holmes
Your best running habit? Keeping Hydrated
Your worst running habit? Hunching my shoulders!
One for the guys – tights or shights?  
Kenny or Jack? Impossible to choose!!!!
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. The Runbetweeners is a very friendly group of mixed ability runners who encourage each other. It is well organised by Kenny & Jack who do a great job in motivating everyone. I look forward to the sessions on a Monday night.

 

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Chris Smith – Runbetweener of the Month

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They say they apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well Chris Smith may well be the exception that proves the rule. Born and bred in Glasgow, Chris is also an international playboy frequenting the Middle East and Asia on flamboyant business trips whilst spending winters in the sunnier climes of Oz. As well as this Chris is a keen runner, he’s been single handily keeping knee strap suppliers in business since we’ve known him.

 

We chose Chris as Runbetweener of the Month for August as he’s spent most of the year out injured. There is nothing more frustrating for a runner than not being able to run. This has been a blow to Chris after getting the running bug and lowering his times. Despite this Chris continues to be a regular attender and back up coach (he perfected the shouts of ‘good effort’ and ‘well done guys’ in record time) at Monday night sessions and days away.

 

Chris is good fun and has a great sense of humour, often at his own expense. This adds to the fun and welcoming environment. As well as this Chris regularly volunteers at Rouken Glen Junior parkrun as well as 5k parkrun events ensuring he gets his little running fix.

 

We hope to see Chris running again, injury free, relatively soon.

 

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RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Chris Smith
Age: Actual 51, mental 15
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners
Something interesting we don’t know about you: I was once a qualified lifeguard.
THE LONG HARD MILES WHEN YOU WONDER WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS

RUNNING (write as much as you want)

How and when did you start running? A few years ago. Fed up supporting Lorraine (my partner) at parkrun.
Why did you start running? I needed to get fit and lose weight.
What is your favourite route to run? Why? I enjoyed a loop: Start at the Giffnock Everest up Ayr Road then Lethington Road onto Mearns Road, Eastwood Mains Road and back towards the house. I enjoyed checking my times against previous runs.
What is your favourite race? Why? I enjoyed last years Kilmaurs 5k and got a new PB.
Proudest running achievement? Why? Completing the Glasgow Half in 2017 smashing the previous years’ time (and it was a longer route).
What are your current running goals / ambitions? To get back out running (I’ve been injured for the last 7 months) with no knee pain afterwards.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Take it easy and build up over time.
What does your better half / family think about your running? I’m too competitive, hence why I’m injured.
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? Time trial
If you could run anywhere in the world? The Ancient Olympics in Olympia
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 25:17
Favourite parkrun? Albert Park Melbourne
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? Sub 25
Favourite distance? 10K
Who is your running hero? Has to the Bolt, mans a legend
Your best running habit? No chatting
Your worst running habit? Heavy breathing (Lorraine says dragging my feet through the leaves in autumn)
One for the guys – tights or shights? Shights
Kenny or Jack? I couldn’t choose so had to combine – Janny
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. The Runbetweeners is a great group of mixed ability runners that make everyone regardless of age or gender feel welcome. The motivation from the group is contagious and drives you to want to be a better runner: I have missed a few sessions due to injury lately and have always been made to feel part of the group when I have turned up.

Paul Killen – Runbetweener of The Month

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Paul parkrun touring in Florida

 

Paul is one of our more regular runners. Like many of our members Paul started running by training for the Great Scottish Run several years ago but has now decided to make it a year round pursCommitting to more consistent and regular training over the last two years he has seen real benefits in his own endurance and performance levels.

 

Paul loves participating in races, is an avid park runner (when he’s not coaching his boy’s football team), lover of cake and a really positive person to run with. Calm, up for a laugh but with a steely determination to improve we are confident Paul has many more running goals left to achieve.

 

RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Paul Killen
Age: 43
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners
Something interesting we don’t know about you: I organised my wedding to ensure there was no clash with any of the knockout games at Euro 2004 just in case Scotland made it through the group stages. (They ultimately failed to qualify!)
THE LONG HARD MILES WHEN YOU WONDER WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS

RUNNING 

How and when did you start running? Great Scottish Run 2013 was my first race
Why did you start running? Like all stupid things men do, it started in the pub with my best man daring me to do it because he’d been press-ganged into it at work – and he didn’t think I could do it.   I’ve been at it ever since.
What is your favourite route to run? Why? I have no particular favourite routes. I like variety and take different twists and turns on most of my runs. I do like running through parks though, despite my hayfever.
What is your favourite race? Why? There’s three I’d like to mention, for different reasons.

Troon 10K, for the quality of the local support that come out and clap you on.

Brian Goodwin 10K for the post race goodies.

Skye Half Marathon for the hospitality.

Proudest running achievement? Why? Tough one. Taking 13 minutes of my PB at Skye was up there, but probably going through the whole of 2016 with all my 10ks under 50 minutes was the best. It was the first year I’d really ‘done’ running races properly. I ran the Tour of Clydeside that year which has a 10k on day 5, as well as 4 races in 3 weeks (including a Half), so the schedule was tough.
What are your current running goals / ambitions? I’d love to get a sub 45 10k and a sub 22 5k.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? I know it’s been said before, but having running companions has really helped me. I ran on my own for a long time, and was happy doing so, but I’ve got so much more out of it, and much better, since joining The Runbetweeners.
What does your better half / family think about your running? My wife’s supportive, although I do get some strange looks when I’m heading out at 8pm on a Sunday for a long one. Kids, can get excited and bored with it, all inside the space of 5 minutes.
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH 

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? Gotta love the Time Trial
If you could run anywhere in the world? Boston Marathon
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? Pollok PB 22:53   Season PB 23:37
Favourite parkrun? Victoria Park
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? I’d like to think sub 22 training properly
Favourite distance? 10k, but I’m beginning to think it may be Halfs
Who is your running hero? Michael Johnson – he just made it look effortless
Your best running habit? Remembering to put my shoes on
Your worst running habit? Like a lot of folks, a proper cool down.
One for the guys – tights or shights? Tights. Always.
Kenny or Jack? Kenny for his directional sense, Jack for the celebrity cast-offs
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. The Runbetweeners has been a great source of inspiration for me. I had reached about as far as I could go on my own.

 

Having been with the group for a year and half now I’m faster and better and I’ve met lots of new pals. I no longer get to a race and stand talking to myself in a corner.

 

Jack and Kenny are always helpful and forthcoming with tips, and there is a great camaraderie within the group.

 

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Paul being chased down Paisley High Street. Photo Credit – https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/results-well-done-runners-paisley-11025999 

June MacLeod – Runbetweener of the Month

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July’s Runbetweener of the Month is sure to be a popular choice as we get to know more about one of our bubbliest members, the ever-smiling June MacLeod. Fresh from completing an Ultra Marathon she has completed a number of 3k, 2 Mile, 5k and 10k races in the last few weeks and has well and truly caught the running bug.

 

In the pursuit of speed June has even been seen ‘sans cap’ in recent weeks in an effort to shave precious seconds off her personal bests. As a result she has been smashing her times across the distances in no small measure due to the brutal winter training she undertook in preparation for the Three Lochs Way.

 

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June is a fantastic asset to the Runbetweeners family. Energetic, relentlessly chatty, willing to try anything and a great friend to the rest of the group.

 

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June @ Bellahouston Harriers 2 Mile Time Trial 31st of May 2018

 

RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: June MacLeod
Age: 59yrs 11 months
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners and Bellahouston Harriers
Something interesting we don’t know about you: I was part of a team who won an award for innovation in building design.
THE LONG HARD MILES WHEN YOU WONDER WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS

RUNNING (write as much as you want)

How and when did you start running? 6/12/14, I completed my first parkrun, I had only done hillsprints at bootcamp prior to the this.
Why did you start running? I had been doing bootcamp on a Saturday morning in Bellahouston Park. One of the group sometimes went to parkrun before it. I ungraciously thought ‘if she can do it, so can I’. I had never done any running because my knees were sometimes sore. After my first attempt at parkrun, I realised that I needed a different sort of fitness to run successfully. I went along to an introductory course, on treadmill over 4 weeks, which helped improve my running fitness. As they say, the rest is history….
What is your favourite route to run? Why? I’ve only been running routes since joining the runbetweeners in June 2016, so I don’t have a lot of options to consider. I like the route around Queens Park, and another which goes across the squinty bridge then through Kelvingrove Park. I like running where there are trees and water.
What is your favourite race? Why? I started running races after joining the Bellahouston Harriers. I never thought I could do that, races were for real runners, I didn’t race, I just went for a run. Then while out running with Gillian Glass, doing 7 miles, the furthest I had ever run, I was convinced to run the Alloa Half 2017. Well you know what she’s like! Despite the horror stories people tell you, this is an ok run; not my favourite though, that’s the Kyles 10 miles, just because it’s beautiful scenery, even the smelly farm bit is ok.
Proudest running achievement? Why? I think my proudest moment is telling people I run (I like the look on their face, mostly horror) and being able to talk about the great people I have met because I chose to join a couple of clubs. Oh, and my pb, did I mention Helensburgh 53:14.
What are your current running goals / ambitions? My previous goal was to run 60 parkruns before I was 60. I’ve done that. I’ve run, well run, walked, climbed, and slithered my way around a 34 mile ultra marathon. My ambitions for the next 12 months are, run a marathon, reach 100 parkruns, get below 50 minutes for 10k, and below 25 minutes for 5k at parkrun and to volunteer as often as I can. I think the most difficult one is the 5k as I don’t get into a good stride until a couple of miles have passed.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Join a club and get some running buddies.
What does your better half / family think about your running? They think I’m a bit daft, especially when I’m out in the rain and snow. My husband is the proud owner of a Running Widow t-shirt.
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? Hills within Newlands Park.
If you could run anywhere in the world? Vancouver Marathon.
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 26:06 / 27:30
Favourite parkrun? Drumchapel
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? 25:50
Favourite distance? 10k
Who is your running hero? Forrest Gump, because he just went out and did it!
Your best running habit? Warm up and dynamic stretching
Your worst running habit? Not stretching at the end
One for the guys – tights or shights? Colourful patterned tights
Kenny or Jack? Yes.
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. The runbetweeners is a small run group associated with jogscotland. It is coached by 2 thoroughly pleasant and sociable young men, Jack and Kenny, supported via Run4it by Jordan. The membership is diverse, friendly, funny and a pleasure to know.

 

Hackney Marshes parkrun

There’s something quite exciting about visiting a parkrun for the first time. The consistency of the parkrun model ensures that each event shares the same comforting familiarity yet it is always intriguing to discover the subtle variations that each has to offer. This could be a difference in size, terrain, route type or even simply the accents emerging from the masses. Regardless, these nuances are what give each event its identity and are precisely what makes parkrun tourism such an appealing prospect.

Last weekend I found myself visiting my brother in London and so, naturally, Vicki and I spent some time researching the local parkrun options. After much deliberation, we settled on Hackney Marshes. I had enjoyed hearing about this event on the ‘Running Commentary’ podcast (well worth a listen on a long run!) and fancied the sweeping, flat route through the woods that surround the mass of football pitches. Unfortunately, due to her injury, Vicki was unable to run this time so she contacted the event team and offered to volunteer as Timekeeper for the morning. She got a bit of a fright when she realised the size of the field but manage to keep her cool and record an accurate set of results (although she could definitely have stopped the watch a few seconds early for me!!)

The morning of the run was stunning; the sun was shining and the park was buzzing with runners, footballers, cricketers and dog walkers all taking advantage of the weather. I managed a quick warmup loop without getting lost (a bonus!) and then took my place on the start line. After a brief introduction from the Run Director we were off. The route winds gently away from the start on a long, flat path through the trees between the pitches and the River Lea and the shade was welcome as we made our way along the course. I took the lead and felt quite good as I hit the 2km point which was marked with a 180 degree turn. Heading back the way we had came, it was great to get some friendly shouts of encouragement from the runners coming the other way and the path was wide enough to accommodate traffic in both directions.

Shortly before reaching the ‘start line’ I found myself directed off on a side-path for a 250m detour before another 180 degree turn and a final push to the finish. I felt OK but the legs were definitely lacking the spring that they had enjoyed pre-marathon. Today would not be a day for PBs but certainly served as a good wake up call. I made my way through the finish funnel to the cheers of my 18 month old nephew and claimed the first finisher token in a time of 16:02. I was fairly pleased with the time as I knew I wouldn’t be in prime 5k shape having been focused on the marathon for the last 3 months, however it was a little annoying to be so close to 16minute mark and not dip under – there’s always something!

The morning was complete when I returned home to a fantastic bacon roll and mug of coffee before spending the day celebrating with family and swapping my trainers for my dancing shoes in Shoreditch that night. This was a great parkrun experience and it all comes back to the volunteers without whom these events would not be possible. Thank you!

Skid Row Marathon

 

Tonight we ditched the trainers and swapped the tarmac, trails and 10ks for the movies for a special one off screening of the critically acclaimed running documentary Skid Row Marathon. Intrigued after several spotlight features on the ever excellent Marathon Talk we mustered a small gang of like minded runners and made a night of it.

 

‘Health Snacks’ in Abundance

 

Meeting in the foyer we caught up with familiar faces. Most, surprised to see The Boy fully clothed and decent (no short shorts in sight), were still keen to talk through his minor celebrity appearance on the national news two weeks prior. How long is he going to dine out on this one? #iknowjackarnold

 

Settling in to our seats we were treated to messers Yelling and Audenshaw on the big screen in a short film about the compelling holistic benefits of running and the excellent work of The UK Running Charity. This feature, alongside the powerful running poem, set the scene perfectly for the main event. Tony’s honesty in particular, ‘running is sometimes not that much fun’, drew the first laugh of the night and thankfully there were no Yelling budgie smugglers in sight in full cinematic glory.

 

Skid Row Marathon follows the inspirational voluntary work of Judge Craig Mitchell. Sentencing criminals to life imprisonment by day Judge Mitchell wakes early to lead residents of the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles on dawn training runs. These homeless and often vulnerable participants use running as a part of their rehabilitation and are living proof that structured activity and social interaction are crucial ingredients in getting back on track. Through these sessions and Judge Mitchell’s encouragement their  lives are transformed. Participants are encouraged to stick at it with the lure of participating in an international marathon and through months of training genuine, heart warming and beautifully unexpected friendships develop between Judge Mitchell and participants.

 

 

At times funny (a highlight definitely being the monkey chat) and poignant the incredible work done by Judge Mitchell to help those often forgotten by their own communities is set against the contrasting landscapes of Los Angeles, Accra and Rome. The premise is simple and humbling in equal measure. Put on some trainers and run. With others. Run a little further each time. Support each other. Stick at it. Commit and improve.

 

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Although a one off screening we hope others will get to see Skid Row Marathon whether on the big or small screen. Thanks to Marathon Talk for the recommendation.

 

Making Waves at the Troon 10k

After a brief but thorough downpour earlier in the afternoon, the skies cleared and the stage was set for a fast evening of running at the Troon 10k on Wednesday night. Among the eager runners lining the seafront stood several Runbetweeners, many of whom were anxiously preparing for their first 10k of the season. This was not an event that I would be participating in myself, instead I had the troublesome task of cheering from the sidelines and patiently awaiting the famous fish and chips while the runners got battered (sorry!) by the increasingly noticeable wind.

As we stood at the start line, I was amazed at the number of participants that this race attracts – I always forget the size of the event and it is a testament to the Troon Tortoises that it runs so smoothly every year. I did not realise until I was informed on the evening that members of the club are not allowed to enter the event themselves and are instead expected to assist in its running. It is on a separate night later in the week that the members then run the route themselves in a more private race after which they bestow upon themselves (quite rightly) the race day t-shirt. The impressive organisation of the Troon Tortoises was a stark contrast to the pre-race preparation of Kenny Taylor, who realised two minutes before the start of the race that he was wearing the wrong trainers and was forced to dash back to his bag, moving faster than Gillian Glass when a new race appears on the calendar!

Trainers switched, Kenny made it back to join the masses and moments later they were off. The runners weaved along the seafront as wave after wave they were released from their pens. A bold start from Michael Deason in the blue and yellow vest of Shettleston Harriers made his intentions clear and he led the charge with Richard Mair of Kilmarnock and David Millar of Irvine Running Club in pursuit. Hundreds of smiling faces followed the lead pack away from the sand and around the golf course as the wind guided them gently away from the start line.

The chief support squad of Vicki, Finola and I, made our way to a point at roughly 4miles where we would be able to see the runners pass before making our way back to the start. Here we watched as the lead group passed, with daylight between each of them, looking strong into the final stages. Many familiar faces passed by with runners from a vast number of local clubs making the effort to attend this event. Mark Porter of Bellahouston Harriers flew by on his way to smashing his PB shortly before Kenny came bounding around the corner on track for a fast time of his own. Following in Kenny’s wake were fellow Harriers Neil Nairn and Mikey Gowans who both went on to absolutely annihilate their own PBs – surely a great sign for both with Neil having recently run the London Marathon and Mikey closing in on his race in the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of the month.

Leading the charge for the Runbetweeners were Paul Burningham (running for Bella Harriers) and Jenny Brown. This was a huge race for both runners as Paul succeeded in dipping under 40minutes for the first time and Jenny managed to finish as 13th female on her debut over the distance in an impressive time of 43:22.

There were great performances all round from the Runbetweeners with a bucketload of PBs from Gillian Glass, Kirstin Campbell, Karen Rosling, June McLeod and Clare Taylor. Jacqueline Glass also put in a great performance and managed to equal her PB which suggests it’s only a matter of time before that barrier is crossed!

As the race drew to a close, the rain decided to make an appearance and we disappeared swiftly into the local chippy for a feed. Annoyingly, were too late for fish but we left with a steaming bag of chips in hand and made our way back home feeling pretty pleased with our little mid-week trip to the seaside!

Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to the members of the Troon Tortoises for putting on such a great event – The Runbetweeners will definitely be back!