The Troon 10k – A Tribute…

Thanks again to Runbetweener Paul Killen for this fantastic review of the very popular Troon 10k!

 

It’s Wednesday night

It’s like we’re on vacation

It’s Troon 10k time,

The Joy, the Elation

 

Through sand dunes and streets

And a country park

Past the golf course and houses

Before it gets dark

 

As some may know,

I’ve a demon to slay

T’was last year

Almost to the day

 

My race fell apart

In a horrible way

I’m not happy

People OFTEN heard me say

 

I’d got three K in

And felt really rotten

But thankfully nothing,

To do with my bottom

 

The legs were heavy

The brain was a mess

I considered quitting

I must confess

 

Plodding on like a Tortoise

Back to the shorefront

I was ****** by now

I have to be blunt!

 

But past the dunes

The wind did blow

I walked a bit

Just 400 to go

 

I got there, just

But mentally scarred

An awful experience

The race was marred

 

But now we come

To twenty nineteen

And I entered the race

To make the slate clean

 

So it’s Wednesday night

It’s half past seven

We’re off down the promenade

A good race, not a given

 

At the sand dunes it narrows

So there’s bumping and jostling

But it’s a friendly race

So not much squabbling

 

Round the bend

And over the hill

The pace is good

I feel the thrill

 

Now into the park

No piper is playing

I’m not dwelling on that

I’m not delaying

 

Through the park

And into the houses

No need to be

Quiet as mouses

 

There’s folk in the street

Both young and old

And some inbetween

So I’m told

 

The kids look for high-fives

And they’re given gladly

Coz not to do so

Would reflect on me badly

 

As I said

It’s a friendly race

And we accept their big cheers

With utmost good grace

 

Bypassing the water

I’m feeling okay

And as for the legs

The don’t disobey

 

Round the back of the golf course

There’s now a long straight

3K to go

Past gate after gate

 

The final hill

With a cop at the top

Stopping the traffic

So off we can pop

 

Down the hill

And back to the dunes

I’m thinking now

I wish I had some tunes

 

I’m digging deep

The end is in sight

And we pass the point

Where it went wrong that night

 

The Demon is slain

Hurrah we all cheer

But wait a minute

What have we here?

 

The wind is a blowing

There’s a spanner in the works

Can I get there in one piece

Disaster lurks

 

The wind did change

There’s some seeds of doubt

It’s still in my face

As it was on the way out

 

Using runners as windbreaks

I head to the end

Pulling out to pass

As we round the final bend

 

I huff and puff

But no houses to blow down

There’s the finish line

No need to frown

 

I’ve done it, Yippee

The Demon is slain

It’s worth the effort

It wasn’t in vain

 

But it’s not just the training

Sometimes it’s the mind

Take care, fellow runners

And always be kind

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Tom Scott Memorial 10M

A huge thank you to Runbetweeners Kirstin and Paul for this fantastic write up of the Tom Scott Memorial 10M race. This has been one of our top races for the last few years and is always a great event…

The Warm Up

Strathy

View of from the finish line – the Loch at Strathclyde Park – a beautiful day (photo credit: Finola Ashe)

Kirstin: 31st March, first day of spring when the clocks go forward, and Mother’s Day. So naturally I was up at six to eat my porridge before going to collect Paul, and head to Strathclyde Park for the Tom Scott Memorial 10 mile road race. After a brief journey in which t-shirts/gloves/base layers and sunglasses were debated as racing options, we met Finola and were good to go.

Paul: An absolutely smashing day for a race; not too warm, hardly a breath (in the main) and glorious sunshine.  It was time for my first crack at a 10 mile race.  I’m definitely of the opinion that the weather helped lift me for this one.  Training had been good after the rigours of Strathaven, but I’d been a bit lazy the last couple of weeks.  I’d three targets in mind, but the middle one (a 1:25) was the realistic target (and had been for some time).

 

The Start Line

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Partaking in a leisurely warm-up, though we’d like to say we always look this at ease when running (Photo credit: Alan@allsport-images)

Kirstin: It’s funny how as a runner you can find such a sense of camaraderie standing in car parks and toilet queues. Personally, I was very excited to spot Mark Gallagher of Running Friends Scotland blogging fame. I didn’t fan-girl, but it was close. It was clear this was an impressive field, and over 700 runners, completing the 6k and 10 mile option set off together, making for a very impressive site to behold spread out across the loch in the park.

Paul: As Kirstin said, a hectic start (as anyone that’s done Parkrun up there will know) with both races starting at the same time.  Based on previous times, I’d positioned myself after the middle but hadn’t taken account of the 6K runners, but no harm was done. I went off at, I thought, a reasonable pace, but mile marker one passed in 7:34, and I forced myself to calm down.  The flat course didn’t help, I wanted to push, but once beyond the Parkrun bit it gets a bit undulating and we were soon turning on the main road towards M&Ds.  A long, steady, uphill, then downhill took me to 4 miles.

 

Running Hard

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Kirstin: I had also set off at a fast pace (we all were there for a PB), and enjoyed the first half of the race. However, at mile 5, as you run back along to the Watersports Centre, I was overtaken by scores of faster club runners on their final sprint home. This should have been inspirational but was just demoralising as I knew had to go round the loch again at this point. Paul was significantly ahead of me at this point, so his view was slightly different…

Paul: Past 5 miles and heading towards the Watersports Centre was the long straight, and a wee bit of wind.  Comfortable at this point I was approaching the Centre for the first time (we were to head round the back) when the lead out cyclist past and announced the lead runners were coming through.  The leader passed me about 50 metres before the turn off point.  I don’t know why, but I wasn’t really happy with that. (Kirstin: I would take being half as slow as the winner any day of the week!)

 

The Long Road Home

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Kirstin: At mile seven I caught the lovely Terry Nimmo from the Bellahouston Roadrunners (also a Runbetweener), and she was absolutely my saviour in the final stretch. I’d pushed myself way too hard in the first half. Every inch of my body hurt and I was so ready to quit, but Terry expertly coached and coaxed me round to a personal best at this distance of 1:37:15. I can’t thank Terry enough.

Paul: I’d settled into a rhythm, enjoying the scenery, avoiding (or failing, as it turns out) the midges with one full lap of the lake (6K) to do.  I was feeling it a bit, but knew there was only one more up and down section to go.  I decided to assess the situation at 8 miles.  At 8 miles I was looking to be almost bang-on a 1:20 time.  That was my top target and was outstanding in its own right, but I was feeling it.  But I’m stubborn, so Go Hard or Go Home. 800 metres to go the Low Battery warning came on obscuring all timings on my watch – but I didn’t want to press the button for fear of pressing the wrong one.  Lets be honest, we can’t have Strava having incorrect data!!  Crossed the line in 1:19:14.  Delighted, I was.  Nowhere near the front, over 30 minutes behind the winner, and I couldn’t have cared less as under 1:20 hadn’t really felt realistic.

 

The Finish Line

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Amazing how quickly you can recover with a medal and mars bar in hand! Paul, Terry, Kirstin and Finola from left to right (photo credit: Finola Ashe)

Kirstin: At the finish I met with Paul and Finola again, who had blasted their races and came out with amazing PBs. Paul looked like a car windshield, covered in the midges which has plagued us the whole way round, which was testament to his speed. A caramel log and a mars bar later, and suddenly I was feeling great again. Funny that. On the whole I enjoyed the race (though nobody warned me about the hills or the midges). I recognise that this is a fast course for fast runners but it pushed me to a PB, and was another race I am proud to say I’ve completed.

Paul: I had a medal, a mars bar and a midge beard…and a smile.

Inverness Half Marathon

Thanks to Runbetweener Finola Ashe for her excellent race report. Japes is a fantastic organisation and always on the lookout for pilots.

 

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(Warning, pop the kettle on before you settle down to this)

I came across a group called Japes about 18 months ago, and when word got out back in January that there was going to be an outing to the Inverness half, the word ‘No’ just wasn’t in my vocabulary and as it turns out, this was to be my 11th run with this lovely crowd of people!

Japes is a donation funded inclusion project, imagined and brought to fruition by the unstoppable Nelson Liddle. Japes allows people that for whatever reason are not able, to be involved in events and experience things that they wouldn’t normally do. Japes has 2 customised purpose built wheelchairs that are called joelette’s.

Japes is basically a group of like-minded runners (crew) that escort a Pilot (person in the chair) around courses, up hills, you name it and Japes have done it! Everything from parkrun, 5km, Santa dashes, 10km, half marathon, full marathon and even scaled Ben Lomond and Mount Snowden recently, Japes has achieved it all.

So I got all packed up and set off on Saturday morning as I was staying in a hotel the night before the main event and we had arranged to meet our pilot David Munn at Cheshire House in Inverness (where he lives) on Saturday. Japes do a ‘Meet the pilot’ before any outing to let the pilot see and experience the joelette so that there are no surprises on race day, we were using the twin-wheeled joelette.

This joelette is specifically designed for road events.

After meeting David and one of the carers Jason at Cheshire House, it was off for a half mile trial run round the block to ensure everyone was happy. Then for me, it was off for a quick walk around town before meeting some of the crew later for dinner and a catch up.

Race Day!

After breakfast in the hotel, it was off to registration to pick up my number and meet the crew for a cup of tea before heading back to Cheshire house to get David and then it was off to the start line for us all. Due to 2cm of snow and high winds being forecast throughout the race, it was not 1, not 2 but 3 changes of clothing later before I was as ready as I would ever be.

I should at this point say, that we always try and make sure that the pilot has the best, most comfortable and enjoyable experience we can provide. We had heard in advance that David likes 80’s pop and so with Kylie, Wham, Spandau Ballet and a bit of Queen on Nelson’s homemade sound system, off we set blaring towards the event area. On the jog round to the start, the reaction and support was amazing and this makes it even more special for the pilot.

Last minute checks and the starting pistol went off, we were on our way and the sleet had started!

When we got just passed 1 mile marker, we had a quick stop for David to put on a rain poncho as it was becoming increasingly clear there wasn’t going to be a break in the weather and we didn’t want David ending up cold and soaked through for the duration. After this quick pit-stop, things were going well but by the time we got to the first water station at mile 3, it was clear that the T in the park flimsy freebie type poncho David had on, just wasn’t going to cut the mustard for the full event.

The wind and sleet were relentless at this point and so we pulled up, stopped to have a drink and get the big bad boy industrial waterproof cover on him. It just so happened at this water station there was a Red Cross Landrover and the first aid guys kindly gave us a blanket to help keep David all cosy and warm beneath the rain cover.

At this point of the course, we knew that the main uphill climb was just in front of us between miles 4 and 5.5. As we progressed on and got to the bottom of the hill, there was a left hand turn that took us up into woods, where there was thankfully a bit of protection from the wind. It was during this uphill section, that we had a slight malfunction with the joelette that brought us to a grinding halt (literally) twice. There was a location pin that stabilises the joelette that wouldn’t click into place properly but we quickly decided that this wouldn’t stop us or ruin David’s run and so we took the next couple of miles gingerly and slowly. There was even a break in the snow/sleet/wind (whatever it was) and the sun came out for at least a couple of minutes!

 

As we approached the next water station around the 6 mile marker, we decided to stop, get drinks, some much needed fuel on board (Jelly babies) and properly fix the joelette if we could. Ted (crew member) managed to expertly get us going again but after this 10 minute stop, the weather had turned yet again. We were rapidly getting cold and so upped our pace slightly over the next section to get us all warmed up again.

Miles 6-9 were through a residential area with a make shift band out playing (brilliant), lots of cars tooting and shouts of support, which were all met with big smiles and waves from the Japes gang. We were happily singing to Kylie and Wham the whole way, much to the entertainment of fellow runners who were around us. I always liken a Japes run to a kitchen party or I also call it ‘the party at the back’.

By mile 10 (just a parkrun to go!) although the weather had deteriorated even further, the crowds were starting to gather again and as we went over Ness Bridge at mile 11 we were then onto the finishing road home.

Runners who had already finished were cheering us on and we ran passed Cheshire House again with David’s co-residents all out shouting words of encouragement for him, it’s at this point that words are difficult to find to say thanks to these folk for making David’s journey all the better.

At last we had reached mile 13, it was down to a lap of the race track before the finish line which was in sight and the stadium was busy.

 

Over the finish line we went, medals, fruit, shortbread, t-shirts all taken on board, we were delighted to finish in one piece.

We made our way back to Cheshire House for some much needed tea and cake very kindly put on by the staff.

David had big smiles all over his face and this is what Japes is all about, showing off his medal and telling the stories of what happened out on the course but most importantly, giving him an experience and happiness of something that wouldn’t normally be possible.

Just look at David’s smile!

 

Whilst we had been running round, I said to Helena (crew member), I absolutely love running with Japes, it is teamwork at its best and the sense you get of helping others experience what able bodied runners can do is immense (I can’t actually think of a word that describes the feeling properly). I found this run particularly poignant, as David is roughly the same age as myself. It makes me feel very blessed in what I can physically do and what I can achieve on my own and as long as I am capable, I will be out running with Japes, it was an absolute pleasure and honour to run with David!

If you fancy reading a bit more about what Japes get up to, visit www.japes.scot or the Japes facebook page.

On a last note, I bet you are all wondering what our time was……well we normally measure Japes runs by the longer it takes us, the more fun we are having out on the course.

I was swithering whether to actually put this into the race report or not because it means absolutely nothing to me…..not a jot!

REMEMBER – Running is NOT all about times and personal bests, it’s so easy to forget about the fun side of it!

But to curb your curiosity, our moving time was 2.39.17 with our official time of 2.48.07….get in there!

FAQ’s

Q Is it fun? Yip

Q Is it harder than running a normal half marathon? Yip but you are on such a high with adrenaline that you don’t notice until you try and get out of bed the next day

Q How many crew does it take? With the twin wheel, I would say minimum 3 but we rarely do an event with less than 7 crew

Q Do all the crew run the full distance? Yes

Q Are you pushing the chair for the full distance? No, we purposely have more crew than are needed on the joelette at one time. This allows folk to swap out, rest your arms and recover before going back on.

Q What speed do you run at? Anything between 10-12 min miles if running but we have walking breaks if the terrain is difficult or if it’s a steep hill.

Q Would you recommend it? Yip, I think it should be mandatory that every runner does a Japes run.

Q Would do it again? Absolutely, r

ead paragraph 1 again, this was my 11th event as a Japester and it’s totally addictive!

Stathaven Striders Half Marathon

Thanks to Paul K. for his review of the Strathaven Half Marathon which was contested in tough conditions yesterday. Well done to everyone who took part and thanks to Paul for his excellent race report. First time we’ve heard of blogging as a race completion strategy.

 

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Well that’s the first race of the year for me under the belt, and what a way to start. I had a plan to run hopefully four or five half marathons this year and, both wanting to start early and keep some motivation over the winter, had signed up for the Strathaven Striders Half.

 

This had, pretty much, kept me going over winter and, with my trusty training partners Finola and Kirstin, helped me run some ridiculously early Sunday long runs. If I never see Stewarton Road again, I’ll be a happy man.

 

As everyone does, it’s weather watch time in the week running up to a big race. Last year had, apparently, been predominantly snow and there were multiple warnings about the conditions in the briefing emails. Given that it was a) February and b) in Strathaven going towards the windfarm, I was under no illusions; a sunny, balmy race this wasn’t going to be.

 

I dressed on race day with a short sleeved base layer, t-shirt and shorts, but had about three different outfits in a bag with me. Registration over, and the long-sleeved base layer was quickly donned. Training had been going well but looking at the conditions (and having had a sore throat last week) my approach was planned and a revised, conservative, time of under 2 hours was agreed on (I was, of course, arguing with myself in my head). There was a good Runbetweener turnout as well, although a few were masquerading as Bella Harriers!!!!
We set off, walking, from the school – behind the obligatory piper – and round to the start. Pre-race briefing had been held indoors. Overcast and blowy, it was a sign of things to come. The race was off promptly at 10:15 with a wee wriggle round some houses and side streets, and we were then out onto the country lanes.

 

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I’d talked to a few folk that had done this before and knew that the outward half of the loop was uphill, and that was true. I can think of only one proper downhill section in the first half of the race. Although appearing to be always on the up, there weren’t any significant hills to start with (I’m thinking of Stewarton Road again), but the problem was the wind. The race’s tagline was ‘Run With The Wind’ and they weren’t wrong. I’m told it was, in parts, around 20 mph gusting to 40 mph – and you felt every bit of it from about a mile out, until about four and a half miles. It blew into you, or across you; there was no respite or let-up – it was constant. I started writing this report in my head at this point to take my mind off it.

 

 

The weather made the view bleak and other than one family cheering on Carol (I hope she did well) the only other spectators were three horses and some sheep. I must mention the very patient cyclist who got caught up with us near the start. He graciously freewheeled until there was a clear space to pass, rather than weaving in and out. He also appeared open to bribes for a backie. Although bleak, there was a good bit of banter on the course, especially when the forecasted rain started. I felt my decision not to race hard was vindicated.

 

At four and half there was the first significant hill, but in the blink of a 90 degree turn, the wind died. Wow, I couldn’t believe the difference, and wasn’t bothered about the hill either, longish as it was taking us up to the water station at roughly halfway. I found it getting a bit busier on this hill, passing folk who’d started off too fast. However, in turn, I found a few passing me.

 

The water station also coincided with the top of a hill and a nice big downhill section followed. I fairly flew down this, and nearly paid for it later, bit it felt good. Downhill, over halfway, no real wind – what could go wrong? Plenty, as it turned out.

With the out part being uphill there is a reasonable assumption that the back part was predominantly down, but that didn’t feel like it was the case (Garmin & Strava will call me a liar though). I’m beginning to think of Arran last year which appeared to be 13 miles all uphill despite starting and finishing at the same point.

 

Country lanes had, momentarily, turned into farm tracks, but still flat. At just over 8 miles I took a gel to help with the final section. But half a mile later I was in trouble – the wind was back, with a vengeance, and so was the uphill nature of the course. One corner almost had me at a standstill, and a post race look at Garmin (eventually) showed that, albeit briefly, my pace had dropped to 10:53 a mile! It had been 6:35 a mile on the downhill at half way, and was roughly 2 minutes a mile slower than training pace. Iron Maiden’s ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’ popped into my head and I was acutely aware of the lack of support in terms of my training partners, or friendly faces. Race days are definitely different to training runs.

 

The wind so bad, directly into my face, that at this point I was questioning my own sanity, and post race discussions found out that I wasn’t the only one. It was also at this point in the race that I lost my target runner. I spent most of the first part about 20 to 30 metres behind her, but had overtaken her before half way. She passed me and was off, and I felt absolutely spent. The wind didn’t die again until about 11 and a half miles and, hand on heart, I can say that those three miles were some of the toughest I’ve run. The mantra of one foot in front of the other was so appropriate. Thankfully the course began to level/go down and allowed a measure of control to return.
The legs were heavy as we entered the last mile, but I knew that bit was downhill and I was determined to finish as strong as I could. Entering the park with 200 metres to go, all over thickish grass, it was hammer down and making the whole thing look like a breeze. You need to put a show on, after all my kids were watching.

 

I’ll be honest to say that I found the race tough, as did many others. Brutal (in terms of the wind) was an often used, but apt, word. Without the wind, I’m sure that would be a different race, but it’s fair to say that the race is definitely a test. I was glad of my training – especially Stewarton Road, and would have struggled on this occasion without it.

 

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One final surprise, seven seconds off my PB. That’s my 5K and Half PBs broken this year already. Don’t know how I managed it, can’t explain why, but I’ll take it. Don’t know what that says, though, about either my performance or my previous PB, but I look forward to answering that question throughout the year.

 

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RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH – GILLIAN GLASS

If you have not spoken to Gillian Glass in the last 3 months then you are either:

 

a. not running enough; or

b. are avoiding her on your bank manager’s advice (she’s on commission with entrycentral and StuWeb)

 

What can we say about her. Gillian is a positive whirlwind of energy. Quite where she gets her energy from is still in doubt but climate change scientists are keen to hook her up to the National Grid.

 

Without Gillian it’s safe to say The Runbetweeners would still look like The Boy, Me and our respective wifes turning up sheepishly to Run4It every Monday. That all changed the moment Gillian walked through the door. In fact if we added a question to our pre-run questionnaire about how people heard about the Runbetweeners the options would be:

 

a. Gillian Glass told me to come

b. Jo Jingles told me to come at a children’s party

c. I am only here to buy a pair of socks

 

Gillian has inspired so many of our runners to sign up for what might be perceived as ‘club runners’ events. It’s safe to say she’s a major factor in the continued growth of running in the southside of Glasgow. Gillian is also the ladies captain of Glasgow running institution The Bellahouston Harriers where she encourages and inspires everyone to participate in everything 🙂

 

Gillian continues to make great progress in her own running progressing steadily through the distances and chipping away at her own personal and course records. There was a time at the end of 2018 when she was averaging 2-3 pbs a week 🙂 As she gains experience Gillian has also learned to listen to her body and pick events more conservatively – something we never thought we’d see. Impressively though Gillian is still at every event cheering from the sidelines, marshalling and encouraging even when she is not running herself.

 

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RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Gillian Glass
Age: 45
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners and Bellahouston Harriers
Something interesting we don’t know about you: My powers of persuasion know no bounds, but you probably do know that!! However, I managed to get into both Whitehall and Hyde Park Barracks and get a wee shot on the Queen’s horses! Thankfully this was in the days before social media (but I do have photos!)
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? I always played tennis so only started running when I joined the police years ago but thereafter it soon became treadmill running at lunchtime and I only ran the Women’s 10k once a year.
Why did you start running? I heard about parkrun, in 2014 went along to Pollok, with my children in tow as my comfort blanket. I loved it and soon became addicted to going every Saturday!

I joined the Runbetweeners in 2016 thinking I would only manage along to 2 sessions but actually ended up only missing 2 sessions a year due to being on holiday. I was there more than Kenny and Jack!

I then joined Bellahouston Harriers and it’s been the best thing I have done. I am grateful to have met so many lifelong friends through running.

What is your favourite route to run? Why? I just enjoy running anywhere really but love running in Arran as the scenery is stunning.
What is your favourite race? Why? Ooh, I love them all!!! Brian Goodwin – best 10k in the Southside!! It’s on Friday 21st June this year, Beer and a burger afterwards! Kyles 10 miles is another favourite though
Proudest running achievement? Why? Getting a sub 50min 10k…. in the Brian Goodwin of course! I just never thought it would be possible
What are your current running goals / ambitions? I hope to run Manchester marathon better than Stirling in 2017. Would also like to better my 10k time. Also hoping for a good time in The Glasgow Half this year. Love this run and the support along the way is brilliant. Last year a runner I was with asked me if I knew everyone in Glasgow as they were all shouting me on!
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Just enjoy it, try parkrun, join a JogScotland group or running club. Best thing I have ever done is join a running club
What does your better half / family think about your running? Oh they all think I am mad! I probably am though! But they are very encouraging and somehow I seem to have inspired my youngest to take up running too. Even persuaded him to do cross country!
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? I love them all but like the figure of 8 session in Newlands Park even although it’s hilly and I don’t like hills very much.   Oh and I like when we do shuttle runs too
If you could run anywhere in the world? No real desire as such but think a race abroad is appealing.
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 24.28
Favourite parkrun? Love them all! Pollok is my home run and love all the friends I have running there. I took part in the 10 x10 parkruns and enjoyed going to different ones. Drumchapel is the toughest I have done but so friendly and everyone finishes with a look of OMG!!! But they go back again!
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? Oooh well as it’s the new, hillier course, I would like to get somewhere near my course pb. Under it would be great but I need to be realistic here as it’s bit hilly so let’s say 24.45
Favourite distance? 10 K. Yeah I think 10k so no idea why I have entered another marathon! I love track sessions too
Who is your running hero? Everyone who I see out there running, fast or slow, young or old
Your best running habit? Encouraging people to sign up for races and cross country
Your worst running habit? Chatting in a race, trying to get them to sign up for parkrun and races etc. I don’t do this anymore though and find myself saying to people – I can’t chat today.   I feel a bit rude but it worked wonders for me last year and I had a wee run of 16 pbs in a row!
One for the guys – tights or shights?
Kenny or Jack? Love, love love them both!!!!
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. The Runbetweeners is a fantastic, friendly and encouraging group, made up of people of all ages and abilities and we are very lucky to have 2 amazing leaders in Jack and Kenny.

Runbetweener of the Month – Kirsty MacKenzie

Kirsty is one of our longest standing Monday night attendees. As our first featured runner of 2019 she was given the honour of casting the first vote in favourite race. Yet again We’ve another vote for Drumchapel parkrun which is by far and away the most popular Glasgow course according to our runners.

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Drumchapel parkrun
RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Kirsty MacKenzie
Age: 45
Town of Birth: Paisley
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners + East Renfrewshire Jogging Group
Something interesting we don’t know about you: I’ve just started climbing even though I have no head for heights!
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? Early 20’s. I started by walk/jogging in increasing loops around where I lived in Shawlands.
Why did you start running? I was working shifts and needed a form of exercise which was cheap and didn’t rely on a regular class
What is your favourite route to run? Why? New routes are good as my brain is distracted from the actual running. Ran every day on a Madrid long weekend.
What is your favourite race? Why? The Drumchapel park run –Hilly(Hell) but I got vegan cake and the marshalls were even more fab than usual.
Proudest running achievement? Why? I am still running! I used to break out into a walk at the thought of an 800m run!
What are your current running goals / ambitions? To keep running and never do the Tinto Hill race again.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Keep your head up-so that breathing is not restricted, you can see where you are going and everyone can see your smile
What does your better half / family think about your running? They think it is a good thing but my beloved husband thinks I should be running faster.
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? Summer run in Newlands park. Partner up and do alternate loops. Recover while your partner is running.
If you could run anywhere in the world? Next holiday will probably be snowboarding in Italy – will try to fit in a wee run there.
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 27.45
Favourite parkrun? Not sure – I haven’t done them all. Ruchill looked like a whale on the map…which is cool.
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? You are starting to sound like my husband…..
Favourite distance? 10K. Just right. I have run a few ½ marathons but I wouldn’t say I’d ever trained for one.
Who is your running hero? Laura Muir – winning medals in inspiring style!
Your best running habit? I don’t beat myself up if I miss a run – I just get out at the next opportunity.
Your worst running habit? If I run – I get to eat chocolate and crisps.
One for the guys – tights or shights?
Kenny or Jack? Hmm. Jack has good hats but Kenny can reliably find his way back to Run4It
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. Friendly running club that will sweep you along with them!

CLARE TAYLOR – RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

Clare Taylor has the running bug bad. An avid parkrunner she has travelled the length and breadth of Scotland to support new events and tick off exotic locations. The chances are high that Clare has cheered you around a Glasgow parkrun as a regular volunteer. It seems only right that she should feature on the day that parkrun turns 10 in Scotland.

 

Clare is also a keen student of running and eager to improve. It’s safe therefore to say that 2018 has been a massive success as Clare has achieved a number of running goals across a range of distances. Whether hanging out with Dame Kelly Holmes or completing a session at Newlands Park Clare will invariably be chatting about running with infectious enthusiasm. Enjoy learning more about December’s Runbetweener of the Month.

 

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Dame Kelly Holmes was over the moon to finally meet a Runbetweener

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Clare Fran Taylor
Age: 60
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners (and maybe next year …..)
Something interesting we don’t know about you: I had a black widow spider thrown at me ( & I caught it safely)
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? Two years ago the health promotion team at work started a lunchtime couch to 5k along the Clyde in the

city centre.

Why did you start running? To stop me spending money I didn’t have on city centre shops. It worked. Now I spend it on running gear.

 

Why I continued running was that it was a great break from work. It has became both an enjoyable experience as well as a good way to deal with stress.

 

Getting involved with parkrun was a major factor in maintaining a consistency in my running. Even when injured volunteering kept me in a running environment after a fall in Central Station.

What is your favourite route to run? Why? Rouken Glen is very beautiful and changeable and is about 8 minutes from my house so it’s terrific when I’m working at home just to take a break and head out there.
What is your favourite race? Why?  
Proudest running achievement? Why? Aviemore 10k some weeks back as I was trying to get under the hour and managed by 3.5 minutes.
What are your current running goals / ambitions? I want to continue this year’s progress as a number of different strands have been coming together: the training at Runbetweeners (though I’m by far the slowest), the progression to 10k where I feel much happier at the end than I did a year ago and underlying it all a 2 stone weight loss due Slimming world following advice on power to weight ratio from a Pollok stalwart.

 

I want to improve my performance at 5 & 10 ks next year. I’m really impressed by what others my age and older can do and I want to be like them.

One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Just keep going – it’s harder at the beginning & take it one step at a time. Oh and join The Runbetweeners.

 

I asked Kelly Holmes what advice she would have for a late starter and she said same as for anyone else; always do a warm up run then no matter the distance use the first 20% to ease yourself into the run, then go for it.

 

What does your better half / family think about your running? My 3 sons are really proud of me and my sister thinks I’ve gone a bit strange.
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? I love the variety and it’s made me change my own runs to incorporate some of the activities rather

than just running at same old safe pace.

If you could run anywhere in the world? The Trans Canada Great Trail
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? Pollok pb is 30:06 & that’s this season. Perth is my overall parkrun pb at 28:37
Favourite parkrun? Aviemore, Drunchapel, Lanark Moor & of course Pollok. It seems I like hills.
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? You’re having a laugh – I’m still 6 seconds away from getting under 30 minutes.
Favourite distance? 5k but that might be changing to 10k
Who is your running hero? The running community whether its at runbetweeners, the 5k parkrun or junior volunteers or at work – it’s open, encouraging & welcoming to all abilities and there’s loads of charity stuff going on.
Your best running habit? Eating buns afterwards.
Your worst running habit? Eating buns afterwards.
One for the guys – tights or shights?  
Kenny or Jack? How can I possibly choose ? First one to buy me a pint 😊
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. A cross section of running enthusiasts with a wide range of abilities and ages who are very welcoming to newbies. The training by Kenny & Jack helps to improve performance.

 

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Clare in her natural habitat – parkrun 🙂 

Jackie Calderwood – Runbetweener of the Month

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Jackie during Glasgow’s Summer 🙂

 

Jackie has been an almost ever-present with the Runbetweeners over the last two plus years. On occasion she has even been known to drag along family and friends on occasion to share in her love of running. Jackie trains hard and following a consistent training block has seen significant improvements in her running across a range of distances. In recent weeks Jackie has moved up her age-category at Pollok parkrun giving her a renewed motivation and desire to kick on again. We are sure Jackie has many more great performances on the horizon in the coming months.

 

RUNBETWEENER OF THE MONTH

 

THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Jackie Calderwood
Age: 56
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners
Something interesting we don’t know about you: Toured the UK with Junction 25 for 3 years. Played a role and wrote my lines with my daughter Fern who was in to drama, won £50,000 funding due to success of the play.
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? I have been running for years but didn’t run on a consistent basis until 2 years ago.
Why did you start running? Good for the body, soul and mind.
What is your favourite route to run? Why? Dams to Darnley because of the scenery and peacefulness.
What is your favourite race? Why? parkrun at Pollok Park because you have a chance to meet folk.
Proudest running achievement? Why? PB at parkrun which was first in my age category because its my bet ever.
What are your current running goals / ambitions? Be the best version of myself.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Each step takes you closer to your goal.
What does your better half / family think about your running? My children think I’m a good example.
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? Hill Sprints.
If you could run anywhere in the world? Arran
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 28 minutes and 20 seconds – nothing special but it is good for me
Favourite parkrun? Pollok
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? 24 mins.
Favourite distance? 13 miles.
Who is your running hero? Everyone who puts in the effort.
Your best running habit? Consistent tempo.
Your worst running habit? Too much partying.
One for the guys – tights or shights? N/A
Kenny or Jack? Love them both
COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. Helpful, knowledgeable and rewarding.

Marathon Fatigue

In the 8 weeks since I completed the Reykjavik Marathon I’ve run 5 times. Rewind through the years and it’s a familiar story; after completing the London Marathon (4 times), in the months after Glencoe, the autumn after Orkney. Seven times now I’ve started and finished a marathon yet after each marathon I’ve hit the wall with my own training in the immediate months that follow.

 

As running has become more important in my life I’ve ensured that I maintain contact with the community by coaching, spectating or volunteering in the months following a marathon but it’s taken a long time to return to a regular routine with my own training. So what’s going on?

 

Before I get going on to the main thrust of this blog it’s worth pointing out I’ve loved every one of the marathons I’ve done. The distance made me a runner, it introduced me to running clubs and therefore lots of my current friends. 26.2 miles gives me a sense of personal achievement which completing other distances can’t come close to. I enjoy the adulation from non-runners which only seems to be afforded to marathon runners. I love the history of the distance. I love training consistently, motivated by a looming goal. I enjoy listening to podcasts on long runs, something I rarely make time for otherwise. I enjoy having an easy go-to topic of conversation with other runners. I’ve loved the intimacy of events like Orkney and Glencoe, the unique atmosphere of London and running through phenomenal backdrops such as Reykjavik. I wouldn’t change those memories for anything.

 

Some of you will already be thinking; ‘It’s ok’, ‘ You should take a break’. It’s true, a break is well earned and necessary post-Marathon to allow the body to recover. Depending on the rule you go by this usually involves somewhere around 3 to 4 weeks of inactivity. One day per mile raced seemed to be to be the most fashionable recovery mantra around the time of my first marathon (although does this apply to all distances? If so why does nobody stick to it?). Why though do I fall out of good habits so easily and for so long after a marathon? This is not an anti-marathon blog. However after each one completed I’ve totally fallen off the rails running wise and it’s taken a marathon effort to get back into the routine of running regularly.

 

I’ve spent a long time pondering this and still can’t quite put my finger on it;

 

Being brutally honest I just couldn’t really be bothered running over the past 8 weeks. This can go on for several months (6 after my first marathon). I know I have gotten frustrated that my times over other distances have tailed off and it can seem like a long road back (the irony being the road back gets longer with each passing week).  As a result I get more and more frustrated with myself as well as losing the positive wellbeing and mental health benefits of running.

 

Is it the frustration of not quite hitting a target in an event where you invest so much time but only get one chance to perform? Unlike other distances where you can pencil in another effort in a matter of days whilst allowing your body a good amount of recovery. Certainly in my last two marathons this isn’t the case as I’ve dropped my time significantly.

 

Is it physical fatigue? I’m not so sure on this one as I see people running ultras and long runs on a much more regular basis than I do with no ill effects. I’ve run decent times soon after a marathon where I’ve signed up to races and gone along just to see how I feel.

 

Is it sour grapes that I haven’t quite reached a level of performance which I have in other distances? My 5k, 10k, 10 Mile and Half Marathon times should put me on course for a time just outside the 3 hour mark but I’ve never even come close.

 

I’m not sure what the answer is. I do know running is great for me in so many ways though and I don’t like it when I am not in that regular routine. Hard to break, difficult to pick up.

 

What do others think? For every amateur runner churning out brilliant personal bests over the marathon distance, for every runner ticking the distance off their bucket list…… there’s a more silent minority steering well clear of the distance. Not everyone reckons you should complete a marathon to be classed a runner despite what you might think. There are several vocal proponents of complete abstinence. There are coaches who tell you not to bother. Yet the lure of the distance, the kudos lavished on marathon completers by non-runners, the prestige of participating in the majors keeps drawing us in. This is despite the marathon often being an anti-climax for those, like myself, who become time obsessed.

 

It’s a split decision amongst amateur runners.

 

In summary this blog is not so much about what is the right recovery but about the growing feeling that marathon running might be having a negative impact on my running performance. It’s hopefully something that will spark some thought and debate. It’s aimed at anyone thinking about or who has recently completed a marathon. Seven marathons in I find myself contemplating retirement from the big distance – the perceived holy grail of running. At least for the time being.

 

With so much pressure (from myself) to perform it’s quite literally all your eggs in one basket hoping everything (weather, course, guts, fuelling and health) aligns perfectly on one day of the year. The reality is everything is not going to align unless you spread the risk and enter a lot of events. The trade off is not worth it for me – you’re going to be training a lot more on your own and your performance in more club friendly and social events is likely going to suffer. That’s not to say I’ve not hit great 5k and 10k times during my training blocks but these have tended to come around the middle third of a training block when runs of around 12-14 miles are common.

 

So one week back in to training what’s next? Well I’d like to replicate the same consistency and commitment I’ve proven I can over several marathon training blocks to other distances for the 2019 season. I hope to get back close to my 5k and 10k pb times in the near future and work hard over the x-country season. I have the endurance in my legs from a marathon training block that will undoubtedly help. I have arranged some middle distance runs with a group of guys from the Harriers on a Sunday as this is a type of training I’ve only really focused on when completing a marathon block.

 

Could it be that the marathon just isn’t my distance? Maybe I should focus on the 5k through Half Marathon range where I am happy with my performance level. Perhaps as runners we don’t often think about what discipline is our strongest and work on that. We simply see running as running when some of us are built for speed and others for endurance.

 

As I develop my coaching skill set and look in from the outside I guess I am looking at year on year progress as I move from one training block to the next. This was sacrificed in the second half of 2018 as I concentrated my efforts on the marathon which was never part of my grand plan and this is perhaps behind my current frustrations.

 

Non-runners might not be as impressed if I drop below 18 minutes for the 5k or get closer to 1 hour 20 for the half but I know these will be greater achievements than running another marathon. That can wait for now. I’m just glad to be back running.

 

Hopefully this doesn’t put anyone off the marathon. Just take your time though and consider if it is right for you – do you want to get faster over shorter distances first? If you go for it remember completing it really is the goal and the achievement. Times are for seasoned marathon runners. Tell people that when they ask how it went / or if you have a goal time in mind. (Remember our previous blog on First Time Marathon Running). Look after yourself. Increase incrementally and build in easier weeks to allow your body to adapt and recover.

 

On a side note. I actually fatigued during training prior to Reykjavik. I only did about 60% of my planned long runs and dropped out of regular hard sessions in the crucial 12 weeks leading up to race day. Despite this I ran well (11 seconds inside my pb although the course was later measured as 200 metres short). Maybe something for a future blog but I actually think I could run the same time tomorrow as I think it’s much more a mental test than a physical one.