After resting my leg for a couple of days, I decided to test it on Friday with an easy cycle. I rode for almost an hour with no adverse reaction and things were starting to look a bit more positive. I decided to give it another test on Saturday morning and run my 167th parkrun but which one to do? The hills at Tollcross and Pollok might be too severe on the muscle, so I decided to go to Springburn, Strathclyde or Victoria Park. I was confident that I’d get below the 21min barrier if I returned to Springburn, Strathclyde had the psychological advantage of being out and back (so no dropping out) whilst Victoria Park was the opposite with three laps of the park. I checked my PB at Victoria Park 20:44 and thought that if my leg was OK then I could beat that. Decision made! Next, what to wear, if the leg played up and I reverted to a slow run, I wouldn’t want to wear my Bellahouston Harriers vest, so I decided to wear my Scottish Vets one instead. I guess I figured that it wasn’t quite as bad for an old runner to struggle around a parkrun.
I arrived at the west end of Glasgow park in plenty of time to catch up with some friends and do my warm up. It was a pleasant surprise to see Simon and Lynsey Lennox from Dumbarton AAC there. Simon was also testing out an injury, whilst, the heavily pregnant, Lynsey is taking an enforced break from running. The presence of a couple of Strathclyde parkrun regulars reminded me that the Lanarkshire event had been cancelled this weekend, due to a 10k and triathlon taking place. I was glad that I had made the correct decision, not to travel down the M74.
It was a beautiful summer morning in Glasgow and, although still a little cool, the sun was shining brightly, so I decided to race with my sunglasses on, which also gives the impression that you are focussed on the race.
After the usual announcements,the race director sent the 285 of us on our way along the, mostly flat, 5k course. I started just behind Garscube’s, recent recruit, Paddy Gibbons.
I knew that the forty year old had run a sub 39 minute 10k PB, at Dumbarton on Thursday, and thought that it would be good if I could keep him in sight during the race. However within 300m he had decided that the pace was a bit slow for him and set off, on the grass to avoid the runners in front. I was stuck in the pack but the pace seemed fast enough for me and the 1st k took 4:02. I had changed my tactics and was now trying to keep Norman Groves in sight, Norman’s Dumbarton time, of 41:35, made him a, slightly,more realistic target. I could also see Gus Cairney ahead and was confident of catching him, he usually beats me but I had beaten him at Helensburgh and was out to show that it wasn’t a one off.
As I ran around the pond for the second time, I was working hard to keep the two MV50s in sight, when I realised that Ballymoney youngster, Jo Patterson, was on my shoulder.
I managed to keep her at bay, whilst we ran down towards the Fossil Grove and along the narrow path which runs parallel with the dual carriageway. We turned right, up the slight incline and then turned right along the main tree lined avenue. At this point she flew past me and I wondered how far there was to go. A quick look at my Garmin, which said 2.86k and I knew that I had another lap to race.
I kept plugging away, managing to pass Gus but falling further behind Norman and Jo. I had to dig deep and I thought of how shattered the first runners had looked when they crossed the Finish line at Dumbarton, how hard Mags had been working when I’ve been pacing her and a couple of tips that Lachie Stewart had share with me on Thursday. I raised my game and treated every second as a prisoner. I caught a couple of runners before heading left towards the final strait. At this point Steven Hill passed me, I didn’t have enough in reserve to catch him but I stuck to my task and crossed the line in 41st place, with a time of 20:18!!
Not only had I taken 26 seconds off of my course PB but I had also beaten my all time 5k PB of 20:29, set at Strathclyde parkrun on 2nd October 2010, by eleven seconds. My WAVA registered above 77% for the first time ever.
After having my barcode scanned, I found a place on the grass to recover for a few minutes before declining an invitation to join Simon in a warm down and driving back over to the south side to share my joy with the Pollok parkrun regulars in the Burrell Cafe.
Cambuslang’s Thomson placed first in 16:50;; Tyne Bridge Harrier, second in 16:57 and Bellahouston Harrier, Darren McQuade, third, in 17:00..
In the women’s event, Claire Kennedy placed first, with a time of 18:32, ahead of Fusion Triathlon Club’s Suzannah Drummond, with 19:38 and Melbourne based Cheryl Martin taking the opportunity of a visit to her home city, placing third in 19:45.
Simon Lennox placed 12th in 18:23; Paddy Gibbons had run a course PB of 18:54, to place 20th; Norman Groves placed 33rd in 19:53; Jo Patterson 34th and fourth woman in 19:54; Steven Hill had run a PB of 20:14 to pip me for 40th place and Gus Cairney 46th with his time of 20:26.
Once again many thanks to all the volunteers at Victoria parkrun, without whom there would be no run and to my friends and running buddies for all their support in helping me to achieve a PB within a few days of my 58th birthday. As luck would have it, Barry Davie was at the event with his camera, the remainder of his photos are here,