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 🙂 
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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.

 

 

 

 

Great Scottish Run – Kirstin

Regular Runbetweener Kirstin has written us a fantastic guest review of last week’s Great Scottish Run…

Having joined the Runbetweeners over two years ago, and strangely turned into someone who can run and enjoys running, the GSR Half seemed like the ideal challenge to take myself to the next level. I’d completed one half marathon before – on holiday in Amsterdam in Oct 2017 with no training behind me other than the GSR 10k – and after months struggling to train for an eventually cancelled Alloa Half, I decided I was finally going to conquer this distance. The timing of this race was perfect, as I could take advantage of the lovely summer weather and long daylight hours to actually put in the significant training that had always been lacking from my race efforts.

My training officially started with the Run the Blades 10k– from then on I added a mile a week to my long runs. I knew there were some issues with my general fitness, so I also joined a 10 week strength and conditioning class, and I know this has had a huge impact on my stamina. The training was tough at points, but I knew it was necessary, and on the morning of the run, I knew I was able to run the distance, and run it well.

Race day arrived. The train journey in to the city centre was very busy with runners, and it was great to be able to see the 10k runners along the Clyde as we approached Central Station. I had downloaded the app on my phone, so I knew my fellow Runbetweeners including Kirsty Cunningham and Susan Redpath were well into their 10k efforts and I vainly tried to spot them. A short jog later, and I was at the start. I had a target time in my head, based on my Kyles 10 Miles effort, and on the week of the race slowly started vocalising this, slipping out to people that “I’m really keeping it a secret, but I want sub 2:15”. However, something funny happens to me when I’m on the start line of any run though – I get competitive. And as soon as I found myself in the green wave – front and centre – I knew I wanted 2:10. I couldn’t see anyone I knew around me that I could run with to help me secure this target, or even a pacer (short people problems), but I decided I should push myself and before I could question things further it was time for a cheesy choreographed mass warm-up and then we were off!

The run starts by following the same route as the 10k, with an incline up St Vincent street, a quick jog round trendy Finnieston, and then the highlight of running over the Kingston Bridge! My pace was fairly fast for the first three miles – I decided I needed to make this time at the start to give me a shot at 2:10, but then I steadied myself out and settled in for the long haul. I didn’t know the next part of the route too well, but I soon found myself on familiar territory as many of my training runs had been around Pollokshields, leading into Pollok Park. Knowing where I was going really helped, as I could set myself clear targets. There was also great support from Runbetweeners spectators Donna Gillon, Jenny Brown and Blythe Lindsay.

Running through the park was lovely as always, but when we came out and made our way to Bellahouston we found ourselves in a very cold, heavy shower and running into a headwind. This mile wasn’t pleasant. Soon though we were out of Bellahouston and on to the home straight. I really couldn’t believe how quickly the race was passing and how strong I felt. I checked my watch at every mile and my pacing was really steady. I knew I could make 2:10, and unbelievably I saw I could get home sooner than that! From miles nine to twelve, my mantra became “maintain”. I was so scared of running out of steam, and this part of the race was hard work – but I wasn’t giving up! Running over the Squinty Bridge I got another boost, with great encouragement from Ian McBain of GFR. From then on, it was straight alongside the river to the finish. This is such a fantastic part of the course – everyone has given their all, and it really putting in their best efforts. Unbelievably, as I hit about 12 and a half miles I spotted June MacLeod ahead of me. This is how I knew I had just run the race of my life, as June is a much faster runner than me. In June’s defence, she was on her twentieth mile of the day, as part of her Bamburgh Marathon training. I chased June to the finish and was absolutely delighted to finish in 2:08:28.

This race really is a special one. The huge number of participants across the 10k and Half Marathon events, and the family mile and races for young people the day before gives Glasgow a huge buzz. A huge number of Runbetweeners not yet mentioned in this report participated including Gillian Glass, Karen Rosling, Anne Williamson, Jill Mair, Paul Burningham, and Jacqueline Glass. (Jack and Kenny ran too of course). The event is wholly inclusive, but also provides the ideal challenge and I can’t wait to return next year.

The Great Scottish Run 2018

We asked members of The Runbetweeners to reflect on the Great Scottish Run. All in we had 20 members across the two distances. It’s all there – PBs, injuries, camaraderie, family, friendship, struggles but most of all enjoyment. Without doubt the top highlight amongst The Runbetweeners seems to be Rock Choir 🙂 Quite apt given the coaches guilty pleasure for musical theatre.

 

So here it is – The Runbetweeners take on the Great Scottish Run. Thanks to all our contributors.

 

The 10k

 

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Clare and Dame Kelly Holmes

 

Clare T.

This year’s 10k at great Scottish run was my 9th such event and contrasts with last year’s, my second. It wasn’t just the more benevolent weather – who could forget the 2017 non stop rain – but an improvement in my running due to joining two different groups: The Runbetweeners and slimming world. One increased my fitness and the other meant there was 16% less of me to cart around Clydeside. Both contributing to a 12 minute drop in time to 1:00:28. There was one constant: the event is real fun – from that dread inducing view of the St Vincent St. start to the thrill of running on the Kingston bridge and all the time the great support from the public and other runners. Last year I was exhilarated but knackered and cleared off quickly at the end. This year we wandered round the tents, met Kelly Holmes and waited for the half. It was really exciting to see the half coming in before the cold wind forced us to find a pub.

 

 

Jennifer L.

This was the first time in a few years I had taken part in the GSR. I opted for the 10k route so I could be back in plenty time to watch my sister take part in the half marathon (her first). The weather was cool and clear – ideal run conditions but cold for hanging about at start (fortunately my friend Kirsty let us use her office facilities in George Square so we were nice and toasty!). I had no expectations of a PB (previous 10k PB 54.01, course PB 55.40) and decided just to enjoy the atmosphere of this great running event in my home town. Ever the professional I ran the whole course without looking at my running watch once () and was therefore shocked/delighted to smash my PB with a time of 51.20. A good running day!!!

 

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Jennifer and Kirsty

 

Kenny

Opting for the 10k after a short running hiatus I arrived at the start line of the Great Scottish Run not expecting much yet knowing I would be disappointed if I didn’t run hard and close to my season’s best of just outside 38 minutes. Thankfully (given I’d been off work for a week with a virus) I had a rare moment of sanity on the start line and decided to run Ian who was pacing the 40 minute pack. Racing up the hill I immediately felt off and allowed a short gap which never grew or closed for the remainder of the race. Ticking of sites, seeing friends out on the course and enjoying the brilliant weather I had a ball. I love seeing the streets being turned over to runners for the day and I enjoyed finishing in time to see friends and family over the line in both the 10k and Half. Not an easy course so I wasn’t too disheartened to finish just outside the 40 minute mark (note: everyone else has mentioned the perfect conditions – they must have been running in my draft as I felt like I spent the whole race running head on into a wind tunnel).

 

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Rock Choir – Photo Courtesy of Tony Coyne

 

Kirsty C

5 reasons why I love the Great Scottish Run!

  1. You get to run round the streets of your home city without watching for cars and erratic pedestrians. You run over the Kingston Bridge and the drivers toot their horns at you. You get to run up St Vincent Street!!
  2. Which is quite a big hill but the amazing Rock Choir will encourage you up to the top. It may also make you cry.
  3. The personalised vests and T-shirts of your fellow runners raising money for charity may also make you cry (but in a good way).
  4. The cheer buses for those charity runners will make you smile and they’ll cheer you even if you’re not running for them.
  5. Lots of my pals run, spectate and pace so it’s a very sociable run. It’s the biggest running event in Glasgow and it’s just really nice to be a part of it.

 

Paul B.

The time had come, all the hard training under my belt and preparation complete. The Great Scottish Run was here at last and i was gunning for my 10k PB. The weather couldn’t have been better. It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Glasgow and the competitors and spectators were out in force. After a brief warm up i was ready. Lining up near the front of the white wave with my running friends from the Runbetweeners and Harriers and I was off. I kept a good steady pace up until 8k then i started to feel the pain. I wasn’t going to falter now. I pressed on through the pain and got my PB in a time of 39:44. I was so thrilled with my time and am really looking forward to next years Great Scottish Run.

 

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Photo Courtesy of Neil Nairn

 

Half

 

Gillian

 

The GSR Half Marathon was amazing and is one of my favourite runs every year. The support throughout the course is brilliant, as is the opportunity to run across the Kingston Bridge. The buzz of excitement at the start wave makes you forget any nerves you may have (I was trying to distract a nervous Karen Rosling and put her at ease). We were soon off and running up St Vincent Street, we were quickly at the top where we heard the uplifting voices of The Rock Choir. This is always one of my highlights. I was still with Karen as we headed to the Kingston Bridge but she was soon heading off into the distance. 4 miles in and I was on target for my finish time and felt good. Then it went wrong as I went through Pollok Park. My stomach was churning after taking a gel. The support through the park was great though and on exiting the park I was greeted to amazing cheers from my Bellahouston Harriers Club mates.

By this point I knew I would not get my target time but I was enjoying myself and savouring the atmosphere. I was also making a concentrated effort not to talk to anyone as everyone says I chat too much ! I had so much support throughout the route that a few runners commented…”does everyone know you Gillian?” 😂. I just said yes!! Running along the Broomielaw is always tough as it seems to go on forever but the crowds lift you and you always see a familiar face. As I approached the finish to many cheers, I also heard someone cheer on one of the Bellahouston Road runners, our friendly rival club. This was just what I needed for my sprint finish to ensure she didn’t pass me! I crossed the finish in a time of 2.04, just a bit faster than last year but 9 mins off my target. I will be back to do better next time and reassess my fuelling too.

 

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Jack

I felt fit as I stood tentatively in the start pen, however recent results did not indicate that I was quite as fit as I had been in for my last effort over the half-marathon distance earlier in the year. The goal was simple – head out for a PB and try to hang on. The plan however soon disappeared out the window. As the gun went, I exploded out of the start and found myself striding up St Vincent Street. I could see several faces ahead of me who I was confident I should be beating and so I kicked on – a little too hard. After three miles of sitting in behind the female leaders (and the BBC cameras – apparently they weren’t there for me!) I realised I had perhaps bitten off more than I could chew. I let them disappear and tried to get a grip on my pace. Fortunately, my club mate Gregor appeared at this point and was having similar thoughts. We had a quick assessment of things and decided to work together for as long as we could and we would try to stick to a pace that we were happy with. This strategy seemed to work and by the time we had left Pollok Park I was starting to regain my confidence. It was nice to be moving through the field at this stage and we claimed a few scalps over the middle section of the race. As we powered down Paisley Road West, Matt Brown appeared out of nowhere to yell that we were just a few seconds down on PB pace. I couldn’t believe it – I had all but accepted that a decent time had vanished in the first 5k! This was the spur that we needed and we both picked things up and headed for home. I couldn’t quite keep with Gregor in the final mile but was chuffed to cross the line in 70:40. It was not quite the time that I had planned for at the start of the training block, but a PB is a PB and I was just grateful to have salvaged something from a race that could have gone horribly wrong. The support was great, but it was definitely having a teammate (and friendly rival!) alongside that helped me to keep going when things were not feeling fantastic. I had not done this race since 2014 and it was awesome to see the same levels of enthusiastic support spread around the city as I remembered. Definitely one I would do again!

 

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Jacqueline

This was my 4th half marathon this year and my 1st at this event. It didn’t beat Run Mhor in the scenery stakes but the electric atmosphere, entertainment and support of the crowds all along the route was superb! Its my favourite so far! Starting from George Square to the strains of the Proclaimers 500 miles I followed the bunny bobtail of the 2.20 pacer up the dreaded St Vincent Street hill where we were serenaded by the wonderful Rock Choir.  We crossed the Clyde on the Kingston Bridge and headed out to Pollok Country Park & Bellahouston Park where bagpipers and supporters aplenty cheered us on.  Onwards to Festival Park, across the Clyde again on the Squinty Bridge and then at mile 12 on the Broomielaw I got a second wind and ran my fastest mile of the route to the finish at Glasgow Green resulting in a PB! Iconic landmarks, live music, bagpipes and amazing Weegie supporters – I cant wait to do it all over again in 2019!

 

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Jill

The great Scottish half is my favourite race! It holds a special place in my heart as it was the first half I ever did. The route is brilliant and the support is amazing. Running down St Andrews Drive towards Pollock Park the noise of the crowd is immense. My family tend to stand there each year and It makes me so excited to see everyone. Special mention to fellow Runbetweener Claire Lamont running about with her bell screaming ‘Go Jill!’ It made me chuckle as I ran past. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone thinking of giving it a go. This was my fourth attempt and I managed to knock a minute off last years time, so a new PB. Yay!

 

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June

This was my first attempt at this event and I had been looking forward to it for ages, hoping the weather would be kind to us. As it turned out the weather was perfect, apart from one tiny blip, which I will mention later. The morning started with a chill in the air and I was suitably attired in my best bin bag in an attempt to keep warm. Meeting up with the other Runbetweeners, there was unmistakable excitement, chat, laughter and the need to retie my shoes. After our visit to the bag drop we all started heading to our starting areas with a final hug and good luck wishes, I found myself on my own, a strange feeling when in amongst thousands of people all with a common purpose. I made my way through the throng hoping to find anyone I knew, but soon gave up to join in the warm up. It was at this point I was found by one of The Runbetweeners. The obligatory selfie got taken and we were off. Not wanting to make things easy for participants, the run starts with an uphill section. I had already instructed myself to take this part at a steady pace, and not fall into the trap of keeping up with others around my. There were a few bobbers and weavers, but I stuck with my plan. I felt good running through the centre of Glasgow being part of the sea of people running up St Vincent Street. The support was magnificent, cheers, a choir, majorettes, bagpipes, spectators calling my name. I felt special being part of it. Fast forward to Bellahouston Park and mile 8. Now the experience had changed, it started with the clouds, then rain, wind, sleet and perhaps even a bit of snow. It was all there, designed to distract me from my pleasant experience and remind me of the following, my neck was sore, my hip ached, my knee had a niggle, but worst of all my toes were squashed. I should have retied the laces one last time before I set off! Going along Paisley Rd West I was giving myself a firm talking to, it was less than 4 miles to go, about 40 – 45 minutes of running, just a parkrun to go. Well I did keep going, the sun came back out, the crowd thickened, everyone seemed to know my name, then I remembered, it was on my bib. One final push and I was heading for the Big G within Glasgow Green and the finish was in sight. A great feeling of relief, then meeting another Runbetweener who finished beside me I was very happy. Unlike my toes who reminded me, they were still feeling squashed. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

 

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Jenny Brown – Runbetweener of the Month

This month’s featured runner is Jenny Brown. Too modest to mention her prize winning exploits Jenny is a regular podium topper at parkrun and has picked up multiple prizes at prestigious 10k events over the last 12 months. Not content with pushing herself during reps Jenny also runs to and from our sessions and includes regular training on her own during the week alongside football training.

This is a great read with an unexpected and incredible revelation. We’ll say no more…. enjoy and we look forward to seeing further progress from Jenny in the months ahead.

 

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THE WARM UP WHEN THIS SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA

ABOUT YOU

Name: Jenny Brown
Age: 41
Town of Birth: Edinburgh
Running Club(s): The Runbetweeners
Something interesting we don’t know about you: When I was a teenager I ran for Scotland at cross country and on the track.
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 joined my local athletics club when I was 8 years old, and ran regularly up until the age of 20 when I kind of fell out of love with the sport.

 

I started running again last year when I joined the Runbetweeners.

Why did you start running? I started running again mainly to improve my fitness and joined the Runbetweeners after some persistent encouragement from my friend Jennifer! I am also very competitive and was keen to see how fast I could run.
What is your favourite route to run? Why? Anywhere except the treadmill.
What is your favourite race? Why? Moira’s run.

 

It’s a local race that supports Moira’s Fund – a very worthwhile cause. The course itself is challenging but I really enjoyed it. Last year I found the atmosphere very friendly and with a good turnout from the Runbetweeners, it was a great social occasion. The post-run hospitality and bacon rolls were also fab!

Proudest running achievement? Why? Winning the British Universities 2000m steeplechase title – 21 years ago! We had to jump over the 3-foot barriers used in the men’s race.
What are your current running goals / ambitions? To have fun, stay fit and healthy, and to try and keep improving.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Join a jogscotland running group.
What does your better half / family think about your running? I think they are impressed that I now get up early every Saturday morning for parkrun (as I used to always have a long lie).
THAT BIT WHEN THE SMILE RETURNS TO YOUR FACE

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? The time trial
If you could run anywhere in the world? Scotland is fine for me – I struggle to run when the temperature is above 18oC.
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? 20.41 set on the new course a few weeks ago.
Favourite parkrun? Springburn – as that is where I set my overall PB.
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? Would love to go sub-20 for 5k, but unlikely on the Pollok course.
Favourite distance? 5km
Who is your running hero? Paula Radcliffe
Your best running habit? I always give 100%.
Your worst running habit? I sometimes start too fast.
One for the guys – tights or shights? n/a
Kenny or Jack? Good question….

 

COOL DOWN

WELL EARNED CAKES

Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. A very friendly, welcoming jogscotland group that has helped me enjoy running again. Kenny and Jack make the training sessions challenging, whilst suitable for all abilities and most of all fun. There is also the added bonus of the occasional post-run cake.

 

Getting over your run – A physio’s guide.

A huge thanks to Eilidh Dorrian of Phyzz.ED for putting together this guide to recovery to help our runners get over their Great Scottish Run! For more tips and advice, Eilidh can be found on Facebook @Phyzz.EDphysiotherapy .

 

So you have decided to do the Great Scottish Run. For some of you it would have been an easy decision but for others, this might have been one of the most challenging things ever. Weeks of training, sweating, chaffing and blisters and it’s finally here. But then what?

Here are a few simple tips to help you recover.

1. Hydrate

After you finish, a wee celebratory drink might be the first thing you think of, however your muscles and the surrounding tissue need to be hydrated. Drinking water will help the blood circulate round the body, flushing out the lactic acid and helping lubricate the synovial fluid in your joints. Drinking a sports isotonic drink will also benefit muscle recovery and stop night cramps.

2. Drain the lactic.

If your legs have been feeling the burn in the final stages of the run it means lactic acid is saturating the muscle. As soon as you can, use gravity to drain the lactic out.

Find a wall, lie on your back with your legs straight up the wall.

Draining your legs helps get the lactic back to your kidneys to be processed.

3. Ice Bath

I know the last thing your going to want to do is dive feet first onto a bath of ice but trust me, it’s for your own good.

If you can’t face a bath, then why not try the cold water in the shower. Run it over your legs. 7 mins if you can but anything is a bonus.

4. Protein

Help your body rebuild and refuel. A good balanced meal with a good balance of carbs and protein will help muscle recover.

5. Massage and Rolling

Hmmmmmm. Massage is often mistaken as a great way to get lactic out your legs as you cross the finish line.

Both massage and rolling should be put off for at least 24 hours following the finish of the run. Massage will release more toxins into your blood and can have the opposite effect, overloading your wee bod and hampering it’s recovery!

6. Physiotherapy.

If in doubt and you’ve tried everything and still feel sore, get it checked.

Enjoy and good luck to all.

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!

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!