Polaroid Clydebank 10k 2016

The fast courses, excellent organisation and strong fields have always made the Polaroid 10k series an attractive set of events in my running calendar and since discovering them a couple of years ago, the four runs have consistently made it into my spring calendar. This year however I decided to take a different approach to my season and, rather than enter the series in its entirety, I decided to focus my attention on a single race: Clydebank.

Having experienced a decent run of training, I set my sights on a new PB. My time of 33:08 during this series last year gave me the confidence to aim to break the 33 minute barrier and secure a time in the 32 minute range. With only one race to aim for, I was able to focus my training on this particular event and even gave myself the luxury of two days off running in preparation for it.

My confidence took a slight knock on the way to the race as the heavens opened and the rain threatened to scupper any chance of a fast run. As the evening progressed however things eased up and by the time I was heading out for my warm up, the downpour had ceased completely. The poor weather had not put too many off and a large field of over 700 runners made their way to the start line.

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The race began with a bang I tucked in behind the leaders. I had noticed a couple of regular faces on the start line and made the decision to stick with them for the first section of the race. It was not far into the race that I realised that this had perhaps not been the wisest decision – I passed the first mile marker and glanced at my watch. 5mins 02secs. This was much quicker than I had intended to run and I knew that I would not be able to maintain this pace for the full distance. I made the decision therefore to allow the rest of the pack to get away from me and I found myself striding along with a single runner tucked in on my shoulder.


We remained together for the majority of the race as the miles ticked by at a more reasonable rate and I knew that things were going to be close. Approaching the final mile I had another glance at the watch. I realised that I would need to step up the pace in order to hit my target and so put in one final burst. As the finish line approached I was exhausted and struggled to make out the digits on the clock but knew that I could not afford to slow down – the knowledge that I was not racing in the remaining events of the series forced me to push on. There was no chance of easing up to ‘have another go’ next week; it was now or never. I crossed the line and was ecstatic to discover that I had finished in 32:48 – 20 seconds faster than my previous PB and comfortably within my target!

sprintfinish Cbank

Now that the race is over I will be looking through my diary for the next target. I am positive that my decision to enter only one event of the series was central to my succeeding and hitting my target. When things got really tough it was definitely the awareness that this was my only chance to hit my target that kept me pushing on – if I had been racing next week it may have been more difficult to dig deep and keep suffering! I look forward to attending the Dumbarton 10k next week as a spectator and will enjoy watching the rest of the Harriers push on.


Thanks to Kenny Phillips for the photos.

Happy Birthday Springburn parkrun

What a great morning for a run. Just in the door from Springburn parkrun which was celebrating it’s second birthday today. Seemed like a bumper crowd and the park was looking brilliant.


Always good to see familiar faces on a Saturday morning – one of the great things about parkrun and it was really interesting to talk to John S. of the Harriers before the start of the run. John was there training with his race walkng group and it was an eyeopener to learn a bit more about race walking. I’d always fancied my chances of glory in race walking but am now less convinced this would my sport of choice in pursuit of Olympic Gold as I was told the 50k winning time for a recent race walk was 3hrs 21mins. Quicker than I would have run it flat out 🙂


Onto the race and there was nice presentation for annual winners at the start. I’ve often wondered how parkrun points are awarded and worked out so it was good to see recognition for the speedy and committed.


The route has been changed slightly since my last official visit – starting at the pond (I didn’t even know Springburn had a big pond) before joining the usual route with the notorious steeplechase flooded section now removed. I wonder if this null and voids our recent glasgowparkrunsmashup given that we didn’t follow the official route. The Boy will be up for it again surely?


Anyway The Boy sacrificed his own run today to pace me round at a pb attempt. As with all elite athletes this was organised well in advance to allow professional preparation. Or rather we decided late last night after I’d been out for a heavy meal and couple of italian lagers 🙂  So target sub 19-24.


We ran side by side (very bromantic) throughout and I felt pretty comfortable to begin with, actually wondering if we were going too slowly. Up the first hill strong and round the back of the park until the mile marker beeped. I was shocked to see a 6 minute mile first split but glad to see my splits were now a sensible 6min30secs pace although this could lead to a nail biting finale on operation pb.


By now I was working hard and The Boy did well to keep quiet (he’s renowned for being a talker) and just drag me along. The second mile split was paced with pacing maths before the mile bleep brought me out of my puzzled trance. 6mins18secs leading to complex recalculations and a final mile spent completing even more complex time sums in my head.


Rounding the final bend The Boy shocked me by proclaiming we were on for a sub 19 if I pushed hard so I was delighted to cross the line in 18mins48 secs on my watch (18min46sec on his so I’ll wait for the official time).


Old PB 19-24 Victoria parkrun Spring 2014

New (unofficial) PB 18-48 Springburn parkrun Spring 2016


A proper parkrun smashup and delighted with it although in hindsight if I’d taken a bit less off I could have lived on gradual PBs for a few months.


Good to catch up briefly with race organisers at the end of the route who were prepping a delicious looking cake but had to fly off leaving The Boy to complete his own ‘proper training’ as I set off on a 5 mile recovery run home. Great company on the way back from Guiness World Record Marathon Holder – Harvey the Heart – to top off a successful morning.



Troon Tortoises 10k

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A great wee run down at Troon last Wednesday night albeit a bleak, cold and damp one. As you can see from the picture (several missing) there was a good turnout of Harriers huddled together more in the hope of a heat rather than team camaraderie ahead of the start line.


Buoyed by the words of those who had run before, ‘don’t wear a t-shirt ya big Jessie’ and ‘you can’t control the weather, that’s pb course material out there’, I reluctantly stripped off the layers and headed out for a warm up. That’s pretty much a first right there for me. I’m usually a line up on the start line and warm up in the first section of the course.


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Unsurprised by the weather I was shocked at the size of the field – over 1,000 runners – a real testament to the running community and event organisers. The number of marshals on the course was outstanding, each encouraging and giving of their time on a dreech evening so we could get a run.


Onto the race and I was edged into the sub 40 start group by eager Harriers keen to see me achieve a PB (or blow up at the half way point). I started far too slowly along the narrow coastal path but tucked into a group enjoying the relative shelter afforded by the pack from the blustery winds. As we turned away from the coast past Royal Troon the wind abated and I stretched the legs out to a pace slightly over 4minute kms. Arriving at the 3km marker I approached Calum who was running well. Calum then put the sub-40minute seed firmly back in my head and we took turns leading each other through the winding boulevards through to the 7km marker.


By this stage I was about 20 seconds off a 40minute time so I decided to push for home. Aside for a very short uphill section leading back to the main road I felt strong and approaching Royal Troon for the final km home straight I was buoyed by the strong and vocal Harriers support (I’m pretty much crediting Kirstie and her cheering abilities with what happened next). With a strong tailwind I even managed to pick off a couple of runners on the home straight (I also caught a flailing elbow from a runner who apologised as he thought he was preventing his son from overtaking him) to record a final km split close to 3:30.


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Troon has one of those clocks at the finish line you see on the back of the car that elite runners follow around London and it was perilously close to 40 minutes as I flew (relatively) along the prom. I really had to dig deep but crossing the line my watch read:


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A first ever sub 40 minute effort at the 10k distance. 🙂


Made even sweeter by the fact I’d had a horrible 16 mile marathon training run on the Monday and completed a tough training session (8x600m reps) the night before.


There were a number of great runs on the evening and lots of PBs in the team making for a great night of running. Official time for me and a shiny new PB of 39:54. I think I’ll stick by the watch – more dramatic.



RunBetweeners JogScotland Group FAQ

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Just a short note for any new followers / people considering joining us about the group and registration process for Monday night training. Hopefully this deals with most common questions we get.


Am I fit enough to come along to your group?

The group is aimed at intermediate runners and those returning to running. Most of our members are currently running or have run before – parkrun, a 5k or 10k race in the past. This is more important that being fast (see below).


Many of our members have had a long break without running. You might have been doing something else that to maintain your fitness – e.g. walking regularly or taking part in regular fitness classes. Don’t worry if you have lost this fitness it will soon come back.


If you are a complete beginner get in touch as we would be interested in running periodic beginners sessions (following a 10 week programme).


What would I be doing?

Typically we run a gradual 1k warm up at conversational pace followed by 6-12 intervals at a faster individual pace followed by a gradual 1k warm down. Don’t worry about the intervals we will tailor these to runners and you can walk / run as needed until you build up your fitness.


Would I be too slow / at the back of the group?

You might be but you’d be very welcome. Running a mile is running a mile. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you and the group is here to help people get faster or prepare for a race if that is what they are looking for. Similarly it is here for people who want to run in a social group and have no interest in racing.



Do I need any specialist kit?

During the winter months it is sensible to wear hi-vis clothing (a jacket or vest is ample) as we do run on the road and we want to make it as easy as possible for traffic to see us. Generally speaking layers are a good idea to keep you warm – you can take something off if you get too hot. If you are looking to run regularly you can get good advice from the staff in-store about specialist running clothing.


Do I have to do anything before I attend on the first week?

We are a jogscotland run group. As such all members must pre-register with jogscotland to ensure that proper insurance is in place. Registration is free. Registration also gets you 10% off in-store at Run4It.


Follow the link below to register:




You will be emailed confirmation which we need to see on your first night. This might go to your junk mail box. You can show us a print confirmation or the email on your phone. If you forget on your first week you are more than welcome to run with us at your own risk and we will help you register for the next week.


On the first night we will also ask you to complete a short health questionnaire. One of us will have a quick chat with you about your running experience and what you hope to get out of the group. We’ll introduce you to some of our established members / staff in-store and then we’ll be good to go.


The group is inclusive / supportive and good fun. Many of our runners attend other local groups so if you’re looking for something more regular they can help you out. We also meet sporadically on a Saturday (once a month approx) and are thinking about a longer Sunday run every so often.


Hopefully see you all soon.


Jack and Kenny