It was brollies at the ready this morning as I headed in to town to meet my Dad early doors. One of the biggest events in the cities sporting calendar, it’s brilliant to see the streets of Glasgow given over to runners for the day and although the weather was miserable at best the sprinters definitely got the best of the day as conditions deteriorated in the early afternoon. Heading towards the river the buzz on the Broomielaw as the 10k runners hit the 9k mark certainly inspired me as I said my goodbyes and made my way towards George Square for the start of the half.
The Great Scottish Run had not been in my plans this year with cost a significant factor given the range of community / running club organised in many stunning parts of the country. Followers of the blog will know that that big city runs don’t feature too often but there’s something special about pounding the streets of your home town with larger numbers of spectators than normal. With a half price entry due to last’s years short course I decided to go for it and was determined to finally dip under the 90 minute mark this morning after narrowly missing out on a number of very challenging courses earlier in the season.
It was great to see so many Runbetweeners taking on the challenge this morning and people were in good spirits before the start. Everyone was confident following a good period of training and keen to round of the summer season in style. In my own head (after a pep talk by The Claw) I was aiming for a race plan of:
Goal A – sub 85 minutes
Goal B – 87.5 minutes
Goal C – Sub 90 minutes
Setting multiple goals is something I have picked up from listening to the Marathon Talk podcasts and it’s something I wish I had been capable of doing earlier in my running journey.
Heading off from St Vincent Street I stuck with David from the Harriers who was pacing the 90 minute runners. A relatively gentle but prolonged uphill drag it’s important not to get too carried away here and on the climb up the Kingston Bridge if you are to run well on the flat later on. I was deliberately holding something in reserve and between the 1 and 2 mile mark I started to move away from the 90 minute group.
The section between Scotland Street School and Pollok park ticks off a lot of miles and I was pleased to see a huge Harriers and Runbetweener support crew at the end of St Andrews Drive including both my wife and The Boy. This meant I would see them again 3km later when exiting the park. Feeling spurred on by their support I picked up the pace a little and started passing other runners regularly. The uphill reverse parkrun climb is part of the Harriers Time Trial route and I was able to put local knowledge to good effect. I know the number of paces, every pot hole and inch of this section of the route and through gritted teeth I maintained a sub 6-30 minute mile pace before picking up to a quicker split at the brow of the hill.
Exiting the park and spurred on by my support crew for the last time I knew the toughest miles lay ahead. Bellahouston Park is a tough little section as you pass through the middle miles of the course and switchback a number of times. I was feeling confident though a bit concerned that the field was getting a bit strung out. On the two small Bella climbs I managed to pass a few other runners bringing me into contact with a group of about 4 runners for the pass down Paisley Road West.
A watch check showed I was about 18 seconds outside Goal A around the 9 mile mark but on track for Goal B. A quick body MOT told me I was in good nick although the ball of my foot was burning badly – this has happened in my last few runs in racing flats. Turns in particular were painful but more the grin and bear it than slow down sort of pain. Most importantly my legs still felt good and my breathing was controlled, even on the climbs. I was definitely on for a crack at Goal A so I decided to try and pick up the pace rather than leave it too late and regret it later on.
Miles 10-12 passed comfortably as I clocked 6-20s. Crossing the Squinty Bridge I knew the finish was approx 1.5 miles away and I decided to kick again along the flat drag. The road quality improves here and it was nice not to feel every small crack and bump in the road in my racers as the ball of my foot continued to burn badly in my new shoes.
As I neared the final 1k it was head down and dig deep time for the first time in the race as a combination of the distance and quick miles caught up on me. Seeing the big screen and a motivating message from my number 1 fan gave me the oomph heading into the final 400 metres. I could see the White Wave clock ticking closer and closer to Goal A with each passing stride but was delighted to cross the line just under 1:25:00 and in a chip time of 1:24:42. Officially a PB of 5mins 27seconds. Not bad.
This is definitely one of my top 3 performances alongside my stand out 10 mile races of 2017. 2018 is going to be about the Marathon and 5k and 10k and I need to take confidence from recent performances. This was a great end to a brilliant week after The Boy and I received news that The Runbetweeners has been nominated in the category of Best JogScotland group.
It was great to shelter under the umbrella in The Clutha’s beer garden as the wind picked up and rain got heavier cheering on Harriers, Runbetweeners and familiar faces. Most looked pleased with their efforts and are hopefully resting up and reliving the day on catch up TV. Well done to everyone and I’ll maybe even see you next year.
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