A last minute decision to give the expected crowds at Pollok Park, for the 400th edition of my local parkrun, saw me heading back to Linwood for the second time in five weeks. I had managed a PB of 20:08 on my last outing there, and with my improved form, I had set myself a target of achieving that elusive sub-20 minute parkrun.
I had raced below the 20 minute barrier twice before, once, a while back, at a club time trial and more recently last year at the Great Run Local Glasgow Quays. I was well aware though that neither of these performances were recognised by UK Athletics, but parkruns are.
I was expecting the numbers to be a bit lower at Linwood parkrun #14 than the 119 which had participated in event #9, as Strathclyde parkrun had been cancelled that day and quite a few of them, including a healthy turnout from Motherwell AC, had helped to swell the ranks. I didn’t need to worry though as word of the Linwood event is spreading and some 103 took part in Saturday’s event, including some 25 first timers.
I seemed to know around half of the runners and volunteers too and had a wee chat with some of them before the 9:30 start, including Kerry Lang, the ex professional triathlete, Scottish Duathlon Champion and British Triathlon Vice Champion and Scottish Road Race (Bike) Champion who said that I should beat her today. No pressure there then. To be fair, Kerry Filliol, to use her married name, is just coming back from having her second child..
Harnessed up to my faithful hound (Jack), I lined up at the very front of the masses and Norman Groves set us on our way around the two lap course. I was a wee bit concerned to find myself leading the pack for a while but thankfully it wasn’t too long before Dumbarton AAC’s Alan Heron and Greenock Glenpark’s Sean Marshall overtook me. Whilst the both of them had disappeared into the distance before I reached the 1k point, they had been replaced by Bellahouston Harrier, Andrew Heathwood and David McNulty.
Andrew Heathwood checks his pace at 1k
Although the two of them also opened up a gap on me I managed to catch David in the next kilometre and kept Andrew in sight for the rest of the race. I try not to look at my Garmin during short races and so it was today. I knew that I was working damn hard didn’t think knowing my pace would help, that said, I did hope the he was checking to make sure that he was on pace for a sub-twenty.
I couldn’t hear anyone behind me and I was beginning to hurt but I knew that all I had to do was follow Andrew in front. My mind was playing games and I was wondering how far there was to go to the end, was it 1k or 2k, when much to my relieve i saw the 600m pole, which is about 800m from the Finish line.
I knew that every second was vital and I gave it my all and then with 300m to go, at the lap 2 turn off point, someone’s dog strayed onto the path. I didn’t have time to adjust my stride and I tripped over the little canine but somehow I managed to stay on my feet. My pace increased from around 4min/k to just under 3min/k as I overtook Jack in the final strait and crossed the line to the cheers of the volunteers. I stopped my Garmin but my heart was pumping away ten to the dozen and my legs gave way as I collapsed onto the grass.I took a moment to calm my heart beat and to recover my breath, as Norman kindly collected my finish token. I then looked at my Garmin ….. 19:55! You beauty! I had done it! I knew that it wouldn’t be easy and I was right but it was worth it. I’m now officially a sub 20 athlete. It’s taken a long, long time but I’ve now achieved my target.
It was with a broad smile that I showed my barcode to one of the volunteers before catching up with the other runners and cheering the slower ones over the line. Just for good measure I was the first in my age group and also achieved the highest Age Graded Result with a WAVA of 79.83%.
Unusual for me but I did have a cake with my coffee at the On-X Cafe as I joined with others for post run chat and to lend a hand in sorting out the finish tokens.
Many thanks to everyone involved at Linwood parkrun #14 for helping to make my day so special. Thanks also to Linwood parkrun Facebook page for the use of their photos.
Dumbarton’s Alan Heron continued his great form, which saw him clock 2:47 at last week’s Chester Marathon, to earn gold, with a time of 17:17, more than one minute ahead of Sean Marshall (18:30). Andrew Heathwood placed third with 19:45 and I was fourth with 19:55.
In the women’s event.it was Elizabeth Kerr to the fore, The Aberdeen Metro athlete placing first with a time of 20:20. Kerry Filliol (nee Lang) secured second with 20:34 and Garscube Harrier, Linda Kennedy earned bronze with her time of 22:52
Elizabeth Kerr with Kerry Lang in the background
Age Graded Results
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Ian GOUDIE (VM55-59) was graded 79.83% for the time 19:55 (4th overall).
Alistair KERR (VM70-74) was graded 78.57% for the time 23:01 (22nd overall).
Alan HERON (VM35-39) was graded 75.51% for the time 17:17 (first overall).
Clippens and Me
Whilst most Linwood parkrunners may notice the name of Clippens being used for a local roundabout or even the local inn, it means a lot more to me. Merry & Cunninghame (iron and coal masters with substantial mineral interests throughout the West of Scotland), established coal and ironstone workings at Clippens during the late 1850’s. Worker’s housing was built by the company at Clippens Square, known locally as Balaclava following the victory in the Crimean war. It was there at 21 Clippens Square that my Great Grand Mother Robina McMath was born on the 24th May 1862 to Andrew and Robina McMath (nee Speirs). Andrew, my Great Great Grand Father was recorded as being a ploughman at the time.
Robina had a difficult time of it but eventually moved to Ayr and married a bricklayer by the name of John Park. They had a daughter Robina Park in 1902, my Grand Mother. She married James Connell Goudie in Ayr in 1921 and had three boys. Robin McMath Goudie, Samuel Park Goudie and James Goudie. I was born to Sam and Mary McDade in Ayr in 1957. Clippens will always be a part of who I am.
I’m heading down to the Isle of Wight soon to do some more running and family research, this time on my mother’s side. Wish me luck.