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

Making Waves at the Troon 10k

After a brief but thorough downpour earlier in the afternoon, the skies cleared and the stage was set for a fast evening of running at the Troon 10k on Wednesday night. Among the eager runners lining the seafront stood several Runbetweeners, many of whom were anxiously preparing for their first 10k of the season. This was not an event that I would be participating in myself, instead I had the troublesome task of cheering from the sidelines and patiently awaiting the famous fish and chips while the runners got battered (sorry!) by the increasingly noticeable wind.

As we stood at the start line, I was amazed at the number of participants that this race attracts – I always forget the size of the event and it is a testament to the Troon Tortoises that it runs so smoothly every year. I did not realise until I was informed on the evening that members of the club are not allowed to enter the event themselves and are instead expected to assist in its running. It is on a separate night later in the week that the members then run the route themselves in a more private race after which they bestow upon themselves (quite rightly) the race day t-shirt. The impressive organisation of the Troon Tortoises was a stark contrast to the pre-race preparation of Kenny Taylor, who realised two minutes before the start of the race that he was wearing the wrong trainers and was forced to dash back to his bag, moving faster than Gillian Glass when a new race appears on the calendar!

Trainers switched, Kenny made it back to join the masses and moments later they were off. The runners weaved along the seafront as wave after wave they were released from their pens. A bold start from Michael Deason in the blue and yellow vest of Shettleston Harriers made his intentions clear and he led the charge with Richard Mair of Kilmarnock and David Millar of Irvine Running Club in pursuit. Hundreds of smiling faces followed the lead pack away from the sand and around the golf course as the wind guided them gently away from the start line.

The chief support squad of Vicki, Finola and I, made our way to a point at roughly 4miles where we would be able to see the runners pass before making our way back to the start. Here we watched as the lead group passed, with daylight between each of them, looking strong into the final stages. Many familiar faces passed by with runners from a vast number of local clubs making the effort to attend this event. Mark Porter of Bellahouston Harriers flew by on his way to smashing his PB shortly before Kenny came bounding around the corner on track for a fast time of his own. Following in Kenny’s wake were fellow Harriers Neil Nairn and Mikey Gowans who both went on to absolutely annihilate their own PBs – surely a great sign for both with Neil having recently run the London Marathon and Mikey closing in on his race in the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of the month.

Leading the charge for the Runbetweeners were Paul Burningham (running for Bella Harriers) and Jenny Brown. This was a huge race for both runners as Paul succeeded in dipping under 40minutes for the first time and Jenny managed to finish as 13th female on her debut over the distance in an impressive time of 43:22.

There were great performances all round from the Runbetweeners with a bucketload of PBs from Gillian Glass, Kirstin Campbell, Karen Rosling, June McLeod and Clare Taylor. Jacqueline Glass also put in a great performance and managed to equal her PB which suggests it’s only a matter of time before that barrier is crossed!

As the race drew to a close, the rain decided to make an appearance and we disappeared swiftly into the local chippy for a feed. Annoyingly, were too late for fish but we left with a steaming bag of chips in hand and made our way back home feeling pretty pleased with our little mid-week trip to the seaside!

Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to the members of the Troon Tortoises for putting on such a great event – The Runbetweeners will definitely be back!

The Jimmy Irvine 10k

This was my first stab at the legendary Jimmy Irvine which is somewhat surprising given how popular the event is among the Glasgow running scene. A really interesting article about Jimmy is hyperlinked below. 

A normally flat route traversing the inside of Bellahouston park and Mosspark Boulevard this years route stuck mainly to the inside of the park with a trip to the highest point thrown in for good measure. A nice touch for those pining the loss of the Southside Six and flagpole bagging this year.

 

 

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Thankfully There Was a Lead Bike for The Boy to Follow

 

Inspired by Laura Muir and Mo Farah I decided to double up and run both the Short Course X-Country at Kirkcaldy and the Jimmy 10k this weekend. For me racing, within reason, has never been detrimental to my performance as long as I am careful with my training load (this does not take much persuading on my part). I have certainly lived by that mantle in the last 6 weeks, limiting myself to one or two sessions a week with a splatter of iconic races thrown in to the mix. Racing brings a joy that training can’t quite match and gorging on them is easy at this time of year. 

Feeling in good form the target was to break 39 minutes for the first time after carding 39-08 twice already this year. My 5k and half marathon times in recent weeks meant bar disaster this was a realistic goal. 

 

Heading to the Jimmy I was buoyed by the news that the course was only a little hillier than previous years and likely to be only marginally slower. This news came from the Oracle Matt via The Boy so in running terms was indisputable after being crushed through super computers, cross referenced and studied in depth. On top of this it was a crisp, clear morning, perfect for racing.

 

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I decided to jog to the start rather than cycle or get a lift and the 2 mile warm up loosened the legs and cleared the head. The midday start was ideal allowing the paths to clear of any ice after one of the first big freezes of the year. It was great to see so many Bella vests and Runbetweeners both racing and supporting as I made my way to the start line.

 

Starting pretty close to the front of the pack I anxiously questioned whether I had positioned myself too close to the rapid guys so I set off at a comfortable pace over the first 600 metres or so rising slowly towards the farthest reach of the course. The new route heads out towards the Nithsdale Road exit before turning 180 around a cone giving the rare opportunity to eyeball the opposition both in front and behind. The next 400 metres then climbs to legendary Southside Sticker Stop number 5, thankfully up the gentler path rather than the steps. Sadistically this was one of my favoured parts of the course as the field thinned and I took a few scalps. Working hard on the climb I maintained my sub 4min km pace on what I knew would be the tougest section of the course hoping I hadn’t expended valuable energy this early in the run.

 

Reaching the summit I enjoyed opening up my gait through the long downhill drag towards Paisley Road West and the 2km marker. This was a cracking section to pick up the pace and let loose. The route then follows the outermost path in the park past the sports centre before heading for Mosspark Boulevard. Flat and fast it’s important to keep on top of your effort levels in the middle section of this run.

 

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Exiting the park briefly the route reenters the park before turning back on itself brutally into a previously unnoticed headwind. Gritting the teeth you head towards the second of the three laps (I am not sure this is an accurate description of the route as you only cover some parts of the course twice) where I was immediately spurred on by The Runbetweeners Support Squad who had placed themselves brilliantly on a section of the course that was to become very familiar over the next few km.

 

Approaching the cone for the 2nd time a quick body check told me I was in good shape and heading for a new pb (a pretty big one at that) if I could maintain the pace. Giving The Claw the eyes I felt strong as others around me started to fall back as i tried to corner the cone at race speed. Forcing me much wider than turn 1 I focused on the pack ahead and set about catching as many runners as I could. 
Heading towards the 5k mark we passed the support team again and the encouragement spurred me back out towards the furthest reach of the course, this time running the outermost path past the sports centre in the opposite direction. Around this point I got detached from other runners, noting as he passed in the opposite direction that this had happened to The Boy too. After lauding the benefits of pack running earlier in the year this spurred me to kick again to reach the group in front.

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 20.54.33

 

Passing the sports centre around the 7.5km mark I was starting to struggle although the terrain was dead flat. It was therefore nice to get some shouts of encouragement as runners passed in the opposite direction. I really liked this about the New course and spent a large part of the switchback sections exchanging words of support with friends out on the course over the final few km. It was such a sunny day it was hard not to feel inspired and upbeat amongst so many friends. 

 

Heading back to the Boulevard the relatively small incline felt worse than the trip to the summit of Mount Flagpole this time around. With the knowledge that I was nearing the head wind again, and on ever-tiring legs, this was the point in the race when you just need to get the job done. 
The strategy now was to pick up some places over the final 2km, this would ensure I had the best chance of maintaining the pace I had set throughout. It was great therefore to head back into the heart of the park and receive such an incredible amount of support for a third time. At the same time the Boy was approaching the finish and looked to be running well despite being isolated on his way to an incredible 4th place just a little outside his own pb. 

 

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With just over 1km to go the route heads out to the cone for a third time before heading back to the start / finish zone giving a fourth opportunity to pass through the wall of noise in an area of the park that should surely be named ‘Runbetweeners Racket’. Spurred on by cheers and the buzz of my watch indicating 6 miles I kicked for home only spotting the clock at the final second clicking to 38:00 as I crossed the line.

 

With a previous pb of 39-08 and a race target of 38-30 I was delighted to see the time but slightlt gutted that I had missed a landmark time of sub 38 after apparently coming so close. The way a runner’s mind works sometimes is pretty cruel.  
It was therefore with great relief that on checking my garmin and chip time I clocked in at 37-55. A pb of 1minute 13 seconds. 

 

In conclusion then I won’t have a bad word said about this excellent pb potential course. Superbly marshalled, excellently supported and diligently organised this is one I will definitely be back for next year. Just the right amount of elevation to make it interesting this creative route made the most of the limited space and road restrictions to deliver a great race experience.

 

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https://www.strava.com/activities/1272453181/overview

 

There were great performances right through the field with The Boy leading the Harriers to team prize alongside strong runs from Harriers and Runbetweeners on a tougher than anticipated course – sorry Oracle Matt 😉

 

Thanks to Kenny Phillips and Claire Fitzsimmons for the awesome race shots and to everyone from the Bellahouston Road Runners for their efforts in organising a great event. 
Article on Jimmy Irvine – http://www.scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot/jim-irvine/

#Paisley10k Race Review

This morning I took part in my first Paisley 10k. I’m not quite sure how I’ve avoided this one which is always a popular date in the running calendar. I’d been looking forward to this one since entering a few months back as it meant getting back to my old stomping ground after teaching in the town for 6 years. By complete coincidence I’d spent the night before being absolutely blown away by an ex-Paisley Grammar pupil in the lead role in the stage adaptation of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. And so it was cycling past The Grammar on my way to the start line that I made my mind up to try and give a season’s best performance.

 

The 6.5 mile cycle warm up has worked well in the past for me as a leg loosener and I arrived in what I thought was good time in the centre of Paisley around 30 minutes before the start of the race. Despite this I got stuck in the bag drop queue for a while meaning I missed my chance of getting close the front of the start pen. I tried to wriggle my way through but with a record breaking field of runners I accepted my fate and positioned myself on the edge of the start pen hoping to at least avoid getting boxed in.

 

However with a few minutes to go the crowd surged forward and I managed to navigate a path closer to the front. This was still a long way off my regular competition but gave me a fighting chance of catching them. Determined not to let this put me off I took a wide route over the first km which encompasses a small loop past two of Paisley’s most iconic landmarks – The Town Hall and Paisley Abbey. By now I had caught Billy from the Harriers who would surely have given me more of a ribbing about my poor pacing yet again following the Mens 10k if he’d seen me coming.

 

Heading around the back of Gilmour Street station the route settles into a reasonably flat and fast one on wide roads. Around 2km I caught Janine, Donald and Mark from the Harriers. A quick scan of my vitals told me that I had run the first mile in close to 6:20, too fast given how much weaving I had done and how slow the first 400m had been. Despite this I felt pretty comfortable. With a sensible head on this would have been a good spot for me to sit in as part of a pack and regroup but I felt strong and decided to try and maintain the pace as long as possible passing the guys and exchanging pleasantries.

 

Between 3 and 4km I caught sight of Paul B. and Neil from the Harriers on the horizon and I tried to reel them in over the next few kms. I was sure I would have settled into a good rhythm by now but my second mile split was 6:12. I was getting faster. Pleased to be holding a pace that could put me on for a new pb and feeling good I was still regularly passing other runners due to my delayed start giving me confidence in my fitness, speed and potential on the day. Passing Paul I gave him the shout to try and keep Neil, who seemed to be maintaining the distance between us, in sight for as long as possible.

 

Approaching the half way stage the route switches to the pavement before dropping down slightly to an underpass giving you a view of those ahead on the other side of the busy road. This meant only one thing – after the turn there would be a climb. Turning the corner into the underpass I was pleased to get a shout of ‘Mon Mr Taylor’ given that there can only be a small number of pupils left at Paisley Grammar who I actually taught.

 

Cresting the small climb I was still feeling strong and enjoying the relative speed at which the miles (and the kms even more so) pass off in the middle distance events. The next km sees you approach the canal section of the race. A switchback onto the main path and you can really start to open up the legs if you still have the energy. Around this point I was slowing slightly as much due to the small climbs in these miles as the fast start and this would be where I lost precious seconds and my concentration lapsed. With about 2km to go I contemplated picking up the pace but I could still see Neil from and Mark from Motherwell A.C. ahead giving me two good benchmarks that a good time was on. If I could close the gap slightly, coupled with my slow start, my chip time would be good and I could smell a sub 39 minute pb. Sadly for Neil as I almost got within shouting distance he took a wasp in mouth situation and had to stop to clear his throat.

 

The route exits the canal path at the 9km flag giving a clear indication that it is time to put the foot down if you have still got anything left in the tank. Although I was still feeling strong I was continuing to slow coming off the canal path. Unfortunately there is also a small rise up to the Coat’s Memorial Church so you’re doing well to maintain pace at this point.

 

A watch check would definitely have helped me at this point in knowing a. How much further was to go, and b. How close I was to my pb.

 

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Hitting the Final Climb With Less Than 1km To Go – Photo Courtesy of Coach Tony Coyne

 

Route experience would definitely have helped me at this stage as I was concerned that the finish might take us around the back of Gilmour St. again. As I was beginning to struggle with the pace I definitely took my eye of the ball at the most important stage. As it turns out the final 600m is a racer’s dream with a gentle downhill sprint to the finish line. I picked up the pace from about 500m to go after a strong show of encouragement from the al fresco dining Harriers but dropped off this pace slightly with what turned out to be about 200m to go worried that we’d be directed to do a loop of the town square before seeing the finish line. As it turned out it’s a straight run down the main street before a sharp left turn into the main square.

 

I crossed the line in 39:11 in position 100 (a few places higher on chip time). A PB equaling effort and a result I am pretty pleased with all things considering as I’ve only had a couple of weeks of solid training under the belt since returning from Japan. It’s definitely given me confidence for the next couple of months with some exciting new and old challenges to look forward to.

 

It was great to see such a strong turnout from the Harriers at this one and to catch up with so many others who seemed pleased with their runs in the main. This is definitely a race I would do again and I am confident that if I run as well next year course knowledge would definitely see me dipping under my current pb.

 

As always thanks to all of the marshals and race organisers – particularly those that gave their time for free.

 

https://www.strava.com/activities/1142748902/overview

 

 

The Runbetweeners Review 2016

At this time of year (well we’re a week late but most of you will be used to us being late by now) folks normally sit down, reflect on the previous 12 months and plan for the year ahead. It’s been a pretty phenomenal year running wise both on the track (and road, trail and hill) and off it with visits to old and new races near and far including some international excursions, the growth of our own running group and the launch of Rouken Glen Junior parkrun. A year of pb’s for both of us but what have been the highlights?

Between us we have raced a lot in the last year making it hard to narrow down the list to just 10. Therefore we went for 12 So here follows the countdown of our best 12 races from 2016.

Look out for next week’s blog post as we pick 12 races for 2017.

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  1. Springburn parkrun (Kenny) – 14th of May 2016

This one makes the list as I managed to break 19 minutes for the 5k for the first time in a shiny new pb of 18-47 (gaining qualification to the elite sub 19 minute pack at the Harriers). Jack, in the middle of a heavy training schedule, decided to pace on this one allowing me to shadow him around the two loop course. Running in a small pack is something that I’ve learned this year can be extremely effective in pursuit of personal best times. An added bonus on this one was gate-crashing Springburn’s 2nd birthday celebrations meaning there was cake aplenty at the finish.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/happy-birthday-springburn-parkrun/

    11. Polaroid Clydebank 10k (Jack) – 19th May 2017.

The Polaroid series has been a staple of my running calendar for the last few years and in 2016 I approached it in a slightly different way. In the past I had entered all four events but this year I decided to enter just one and to target it for a personal best. I was over the moon to break 33minutes for the first time here and this made it a highlight of the year for me!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/polaroid-clydebank-10k-2016/

  1.  Brian Goodwin 10k (Kenny) – 17th of June 2017

Another pb for me on a brilliant evening in Pollok Park. After dipping under 40 minutes for the first time at Troon a few weeks before, I was delighted to take a good chunk off  my 10k time finishing in 39-30. An annual event, the race is organised by our club – Bellahouston Harriers. Knowing I was pacing the Men’s 10k a couple of days later, I decided to take this one easy but felt good from the start and again used similar runners to pull me along. Moral of the story: if you are feeling in the zone just go for it. A two lap course, the route takes in many of the flatter parts of the park and Haggs Road. To top it off entry includes a beer and a burger. What more could you ask for?

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/brian-goodwin-10k-2/

     9. parkrun du Bois de Bolougne. (Jack) – 26th March 2017.

What better way to spend my birthday that by striding around a Parisian park – they even let me cross the line first (there’s no winning in parkrun, apparently). This was my first international parkrun and was followed with cake and champagne under the Eiffel Tower. An awesome day and a birthday I will never forget!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/a-parisian-parkrun/

  1. #Glasgowparkrunsmashup (Both) – 15th of April 2016

2016’s answer to the Clyde Trail this was the one that was meant to send us trending worldwide. Unfortunately while we were up before dawn the rest of the running world was asleep, uninterested or both. The idea was simple – run each of Glasgow’s 5 parkrun routes in one go arriving at Pollok in time for the 9-30 start. As usual planning a sensible route was almost the undoing of this challenge as we cycled between each of the parks. Much harder than anticipated when the idea was hatched over a beer or two – 15.5 miles of running, more on the bike and very little enthusiasm, interest or support for a daft idea making this everything a good runbetweeners challenge should be Surely still a record? parkrun UK we are still waiting on official notice…

https://twitter.com/search?q=glasgowparkrunsmashup&src=typd

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/glasgow-parkrun-smash-up/

     7. Bushy parkrun (Jack) – 25th December 2016

This Christmas I decided to head back to where it all began and took part in Bushy parkrun. Lining up alongside 1200 other parkrunners for a free 5k run on Christmas morning was incredible and the atmosphere was even better than I had expected. I will definitely be back!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/bushy-parkrun-a-christmas-cracker/

  1. Dunoon Ride and Run (Kenny) – 2nd of April 2016

A momentous day as I topped the podium at this event in my hometown. Put together by the team at No Fuss Events the concept of this one is to bring the cycling enduro concept to running. Basically there are four timed stages and you can walk / jog or sprint between each. A 5k out along the prom is stage 1. Stage 2 is a gentle uphill trail section of around a mile. Stage 3 is two laps of the ash track at the local stadium. The final stage is a trail and road downhill smash up finishing on the newly restored pier. Total times from all four stages are added together and the lowest time wins. Simple. In this case the winner was shocked – especially since I’d taken a wrong turn on the first 5k section. My first and likely only victory – hopefully the event never happens again and I can lay claim to the title for the rest of my running days!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/dunoon-ride-run/

     5. Tom Scott Memorial 10Miler (Jack) – 10th April 2016.

This was a favourite of mine in 2015 also. There is a huge field at this event and there is always an abundance of fast runners. This means that there is usually a good pack to run in. At this year’s event I felt great and managed to run with a brilliant group of good mates who were all hitting good levels at fitness at the same time. The result was a fantastic pack run with a train of Harriers and a big PB for myself.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/tom-scott-memorial-10miler/

  1. The SouthSide Six (SS6) Kenny – 6th of November 2016

One of our absolute favourite races of the year and a Glasgow institution. The only reason the SS6 is not at the top of the list is that it’s been there before. This year Jack gave the run a pass leaving me to join the others toeing the line in this challenging 16-mile course. For those who’ve not done the race before it’s a 6 park tour of the south side painfully climbing to the highest peak in the two hilliest collecting stickers along the way. A brutal finish up the stairs and slopes of Queens Park, this one is always worth it for the excellent feed alone. This route sells out quickly so register for facebook updates to ensure you don’t miss out in 2017.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/southside-six-2016-ss6/

     3. MOKrun 1/2 Marathon (Jack) – 29th May 2016.

Our third visit to the Mull of Kintyre and, despite not coming home with the trophy, we still loved the experience of the weekend. A friendly, well organised event with a fantastic route and a brilliant post-run Ceilidh. Magic.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/running-a-mok-in-campbeltown/

      2. TCS Amsterdam Marathon 2016 (Jack) – 16th October 2016.

After four months of focused training, I finally made my way over to Amsterdam in an attempt at a new pb. A brilliant weekend and my first international Marathon – I’m sure it wont be the last!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/amsterdam-marathon-2016/
And the number 1 race of 2016 in our humble opinion….

  1. Kyles 10 Miles (Both) – 10th of September 2016

This was our second visit to the Kyles of Bute and this race did not disappoint. A challenging and hilly route the 10 mile distance is a good marker to test out speed endurance. Guaranteed good weather (we’ve been twice and it’s been sunny both times), unbelievable scenery, beer on tap at the end and a BBQ followed by a ceilidh in the evening. A cracking race; low key, excellently marshalled, reasonably priced and growing in popularity year on year. A worthy winner of the title of 2016 Runbetweeners Race of the Year.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/kyles-10-miles-2/

 

Finally, a short footnote to those races that didn’t quite go to plan in 2016. No prizes for guessing which race ends up in the number 1 slot. Bang goes the idea that the runbetweeners will ever make our fortune Stateside…

 

  1. Toward for a Tenner (Kenny) – 6th of August 2016

Before I go on – Jack won this race, it was brilliantly and cheerfully marshaled, well organised and positively reviewed by local and visiting runners. I’ll be going back in 2017 and this race offers excellent value relative to other similar half marathons.  The addition of a 10k race makes this an inclusive running festival. Any negative feedback that follows is down to my own race naivety. On a positive note I suppose you learn more from the nightmare races than the ones that go well but this was everything that could go wrong in one race for me.

Starting far too fast and thinking I was in much better shape than I was, I decided to launch an attack on a near 5 minute pb on this one. There is no excuse really as this is my neck of the woods therefore I should have anticipated the wind factor which made running out in the first half a much more demanding effort than it would otherwise have been. Struggling badly the group I was in gradually put some serious distance between me and them as a stream of runners gradually passed me with words of genuine encouragement.

 

However I couldn’t help but slow to a near standstill by mile 7 reaching a point of exhaustion usually associated with a heavy session of sprint intervals or hill reps. Burned out by half way I managed to drag myself home thanks to the support and encouragement of my friends from Dunoon Hill Runners who were out in force (plus the fact is was an out and back course and all my gear was back at the start line). The first race I’ve run/walked in a long time and a massive positive split on the second half of the race. Meeting a friend who suffered an underwear malfunction and was running pantless for the final miles perked my spirits at mile 10 giving me the last ounce of strength to jog home the final 3 miles. The closest I’ve come to DNF’ing yet.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/toward-for-a-tenner/

  1. Nationals – Short Course X Country (Kenny) – 5th of November 2016

Not a bad run – in fact I ran pretty well. Also not down do my hatred for the terrain as I’ve enjoyed the x-country much more this year. Perhaps I’m developing a love for the grass and mud as I become more experienced, fitter or maybe it was just down to the fact the weather has been much better than equivalent events in 2015.

This had all the ingredients to be a good one – I’d been training well, top athletes such as Laura Muir were competing and the event was reasonably close by meaning we could get there early enough to see some of the top junior and female races.

However the choice of venue was a strange one. The route was a two lap, pancake flat circuit around a playing field. Single file around the park perimeter the route lacked imagination or the challenge you would normally associate with such a prestigious race in the Scottish Athletics’ calendar. As a result it didn’t get a look in on the blog. Shame.

The worst race of 2016 award goes to…

1. Sommer Sports Florida Clermont 5k (Jack) – July 2016

You will have heard me rant about this one before I am sure but what kind of race doesn’t set up the finish line! Having got up early on my honeymoon to go and race this 5k in Florida, I was loving leading the pack for the whole race. I built myself up a nice lead and kept running for the finish – only to find that the finish line wasn’t there yet! I kept running down the road until I realised there was a problem and when I turned back the finish line had been constructed behind me! Witnesses at the end of the race spoke to the organisers and it was decided that I would still get the trophy but an angry competitor (relegated to second place) kick up a fuss and I did not get it. The organisers then ignored my email (I know I got petty!) and refused to respond to my questions on Twitter. I’m going to stop writing about it now because it’s getting me angry again haha -for more info read the review 😉

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2016/07/23/there-is-no-finish-line/

 

 

Brian Goodwin 10k

Just in from a great night – perfect mix of a cracking run, good company with lots of familiar faces topped off by burgers and beer at the finish line. Delighted with a 25 second pb given that I was planning to run easy. Updated 10k pb of 39:30.

 

Even more delighted to see a good few runbetweeners there and rumours of pbs tbc. Anne for definite – think that’s two weekends on the bounce. Gillian?

 

Onwards to the mens 10k and pacing duties this Sunday.

 

https://www.strava.com/activities/612314605

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.

cBank start2

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.

midrace

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.

IMG_3033

Thanks to Kenny Phillips for the photos.

Troon Tortoises 10k

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 22.08.30.png

 

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.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 22.08.09

 

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.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 22.07.30

 

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:

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 22.07.42

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.

 

https://www.strava.com/activities/565574515

Nigel Barge Memorial 10k

This afternoon I enjoyed taking a step back to watch Kenny and some of the other Harriers complete the Nigel Barge Memorial 10k. I decided to take the opportunity to experiment a little with my GoPro and got a fair bit of footage of the race. The race yielded some fantastic results on an undulating course and, most importantly, the coffee and cake selection was excellent!

Check out my video below: