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.

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!

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:

 

https://membership.jogscotland.org.uk

 

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

 

 

A Newbies Guide to The Runbetweeners

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The Slow One and The Boy Post Race at MokRun 2015

 

Great to see a surge in people following the page this week. This provides a good opportunity to tell (or remind) everyone what we are all about. Fundamentally we are a couple of pals who enjoy running, talking about running and participating in truly runner friendly races in iconic locations. We are Jack (aka The Boy) and Kenny (aka The Slow One).

 

Since our friends and family got bored of listening to us talking about running we naturally gravitated towards one another as our paths crossed while working together several years ago. Fast forward 4 years and we are trying to share our passion with as many people as possible. We’ve got so much out of running and we’d like to give a little back.

 

The page started to share stories of daft running challenges (my personal highlight and lo-light rolled into one can be found here – CLYDE AND SEEK) but has evolved into a page to share our experiences of races, kit and general views on running. We’ve even made some virtual friends and we’ve got plenty more daft challenges up our sleeves for 2016.

 

So why do we love running? Well a real positive ethos seems to be shared with pretty much every runner we’ve met – casual runner, ultra-runner, park-runner, pb hunter, charity runner, club runner etc. An ethos you don’t get in many other sports. The other great thing about running, everyone can do it. There’s a huge variety of people but you rarely meet someone you don’t get along with. And there’s so many inspirational stories – these often get better the further back in the field you go. And we’re all about everyone in the race including the army of volunteers who allow us all to do what we love. In particular we’re big advocates of ParkRun and keen to support other great events in and around Glasgow, Central Scotland and beyond.

 

Our most recent development, and the one that has probably brought you to our page, is that we’ve set up our own running group. Ideally we would like to encourage people to become runners and to help existing runners achieve personal goals whether that be to run further, faster, to get race ready or even just to spend time outdoors and make new friends. So we went along to a Jog Scotland Jog Leader Course and approached Run4It and we’ve been going for about 8 weeks.

 

The group is open to anyone but specifically aimed at people who’ve never ran or who have dropped out of running for whatever reason. But please come along if you are a regular runner looking for something different in your weekly schedule. We often get asked if people are fit enough to come along to running club. Well talk to us and we’ll probably find the answer is yes if you’re ready to make the commitment to get out the door. Even if you are a complete beginner we hope we would be able to offer you something. In fact we’d be keen to offer a dedicated beginners group if there was the demand for it and this is something we might look at in a couple of months. JogScotland have a great 10 week programme to introduce people to running. All we ask is that people come about 15 minutes early on their first week to complete a confidential health questionnaire and to have a quick chat with The Boy or me.

 

If you’re interested in finding out a bit more about us check out the other posts on our blog. We’ve been going for about a year.

 

In the meantime if you have any questions about TheRunbetweeners Run Group or suggestions for running challenges you know how to get in touch 😉 We’d love to hear from you and look forward to meeting more of you in person soon.

 

Kenny and Jack

@runbetweeners

Becoming Official…

Yesterday morning I sacrificed the usual ‘Sunday Long Run’ – invariably followed by a large coffee and a bacon and cream cheese bagel from D’Nisi  – in order to pile into Kenny’s car for a drive out to Livingstone. The reason for our road trip? To spend the day learning how to be ‘Jog Leaders’. Kenny and I had established our ‘Runbetweeners Run Group’ a couple of weeks ago but had experienced a few difficulties actually finding a JogScotland course with spaces available for us – hence the trip out of Glasgow – and so had not been able to affiliate to Jog Scotland. While this delayed our ability to really promote the group prior to its maiden outing, it did give us an opportunity to experiment with a couple of sessions aimed primarily at a group of mates (and wives!) who we had managed to rope into attending. These proved invaluable and we learned some important lessons which I am sure will serve us well in the future – mainly that everyone definitely LOVES hill sessions. And so it was that we found ourselves two weeks later journeying down to Livingstone to learn how to become the leaders of an official Jog Scotland group.

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The course itself was very insightful and full of interesting characters. It was fascinating hearing the different stories of the hopeful Jog Leaders and the different aims which they had for their own groups. Some attendees were from well established groups and others were, like ourselves, looking at starting their own. Our instructors for the day, Laura and Jaz, kept the session entertaining and relevant which definitely helped to keep the information digestable as a full day in a classroom could have been intolerable – just ask one of my pupils! As the course meandered through the basics of group organisation, planning and promotion it was clear that there was lots to think about when running a group such as ours but also that we had been working on the right lines with our current set up – a few tweaks and things would be grand! A morning spent in the classroom was followed by some more practical tasks in the afternoon before we concluded the session by constructing ‘6-week training plans’ in our groups of four (or was it six?!). We were provided with lots of practical information and left the course happy that we were equipped to move forward and get things underway! We also met lots of people who will undoubtedly be useful contacts over the coming months.

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And so we now find ourselves as qualified ‘Jog Leaders’ with an official, affiliated group! As things move forward I am sure we will have plenty of lessons still to learn and unforeseen obstacles to overcome however I am really excited to see how things progress. Our group will be based out of the new Run4it store in Giffnock and will meet on Monday evenings at 6pm. Anyone who fancies joining us can get in touch via this blog, Twitter (@therunbetweeners) or on Facebook. See you there!