Renfrewshire AAA Road Race Champs

With the first phase of my training towards this year’s London Marathon being focused on consolidating speed over shorter distances, this morning’s 5Mile Renfrewshire Champs has been a target in my diary from the outset. Recent sessions have been going well and the consistency of my training since January meant that I felt pretty confident lacing up my flats this morning.

We were greeted by exceptional conditions upon arrival in Greenock and the smell of coffee and home baking at race registration provided ample motivation to get round the course at lightning pace. The Harriers were missing a few notable faces due to the previous days’ Master’s XC, however there were still plenty of saltires huddled around the start line and we knew that there were potential team prizes up for grabs.


As the starter pistol fired, the athletes burst into life and the narrow start created a fantastic atmosphere as people jostled for position in the early stages. I knew that I wanted to get tucked into a group early on in the race – the exposed middle section along the esplanade was in the back of my mind – and so I found myself in the middle of the chasing pack and ticking along at a pace that felt pretty comfortable.

As we left the park and made our way onto the promenade we had formed a clear group of half a dozen runners and were chasing a lead group of similar size. I was feeling great but decided that patience was the key and so stuck in behind the leaders of the group rather than trying to catch the leaders. On the approach to the half way point we closed the gap on a couple of runners who had dropped off the back of the lead group and, as we turned to head back to the park, we started to catch a few more.


I had no idea of my position as we re-entered the park but I was feeling great and realised that we were into the final mile. I knew that a few rivals were close behind me and didn’t fancy leaving things too late so I put my foot down and decided to kick for home. It was half way through the mile that I realised I was catching a couple of runners whom I recognised as being fantastic athletes. As I closed the gap, a small collection of Bella Supporters gave me a cheer and indicated that the guys in front were in 3rd and 4th position. These were runners who I have never been able to compete with in the past and as I saw them getting closer I realised that I would not necessarily get many chances to finish ahead of them. I gritted my teeth and slipped past the pair of them with about 500metres to go. Terrified to look behind me, I realised that it was all or nothing and so worked into a sprint (or as close to it as I could muster!). I crossed the finish line in 3rd place and was over the moon at the prospect of my first individual medal in a championship event. I was then informed that the race winner was not from a Renfrewshire club and so was not eligible for a prize in the championship – meaning that I would be awarded a silver medal! On top of this, Bella took the team silver prize in the men’s race and several medals in the ladies race also!


This was a massive result for me and is a medal that I am incredibly proud of. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!


John Corbett – Runbetweener of the Month

Our first featured runner John has been coming along to the Runbetweeners for close to a year. We first crossed paths at Junior parkrun and many of you will recognise him as a regular at both adult and junior events across the city and beyond.


John in his Runbetweeners kit and at Pollok parkrun (photo credit event Flickr page)






Name: John Corbett
Age: 73
Town of Birth: Glasgow
Running Club(s): un-attached The Runbetweeners (and parkrun)
Something interesting we don’t know about you: Interesting, Naah, not really! Worked at Rolls-Royce, Merchant Navy, a piper for many years in various pipe bands.

RUNNING (write as much as you want)

How and when did you start running? The personal decision taken in my early 40’s to run from our first house in Hillington to Renfrew Cross.
Why did you start running? To improve my cardiovascular workout and stamina, particularly so for when hill walking.
What is your favourite route to run? Why? Around the variety of paths and distances within Pollok Park. I’m a fan of the Heeland Coos!
What is your favourite race? Why? Pollok parkrun route. Following completion of the run, I am rewarded with a fruit scone and coffee.
Proudest running achievement? Why? Completing the City of Glasgow Great Scottish Half Marathon – twice. To be remaining upright after crossing the finish.
What are your current running goals / ambitions? To improve on my 5k and 10k running times.
One bit of advice you would give a new runner? Join a Jog Scotland running group or club and not to feel disheartened as the front runners disappear over the horizon.
What does your better half think about your running? I need to improve!

SPRINT FINISH (answer in less than 5 words)

What is your favourite Runbetweeners session? Reps around lighting columns (Newlands Park)
If you could run anywhere in the world? U.K. is okay by me.
Pollok parkrun personal best and seasons best? Personal and seasonal best: 27:48 minutes.
Favourite parkrun? Pollok
With 6 months injury free training how fast could you run Pollok parkrun in? At my age, is it possible to complete a 6-month injury free period? How fast – who knows? After a bit of prompting we managed to convince John he could run 26:48 🙂
Favourite distance? 5K
Who is your running hero? My wife Elizabeth – because she is always ahead of me.
Your best running habit? Keep it in the wardrobe for special occasions.
Your worst running habit? Gave that to a charity shop some time ago.
One for the guys – tights or shights? Tights? Nah, Tracksters – Yes. Shights – Bit of a mystery that one – so, I shall pass on it!
Kenny or Jack? Both equally affable and amusing. (My sitting on the fence has its sore points!)


Describe The Runbetweeners in your own words. A great sociable and welcoming body of runners.
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John crossing the finish line at Pollok parkrun en route to the scone shop – photo credit event Flickr page