Saturday 30th May and it was back to racing. Pollok parkrun #327 was part of the Bellahouston Harriers Championship and also had the advantage of having pacers. However, unusual for me, I had a night out on Friday. Late nights and alcohol are, unfortunately, not training aids. So I had decided to use the parkrun as an easy 5k run, as part of my 10k recovery.
After a short warm up, that confirmed that my legs were still sore and tired from Thursday, I joined in with the other 399 runners outside the Burrell. As the Run Director made the pre race announcements, I and a couple of friends decided to move forward and place ourselves behind Al MacLachlan, the 20 minute pacer. Of course, there was no way that, even in a good day, I could run the undulating course in 20 minutes. However my course PB, set four and a half years ago, is 20:50. My recent improved form, saw me completing the, two lap, course in April in a time of 21:17. So maybe, just maybe, I could squeeze out a PB today. I changed my plan, ditching my easy run for a PB attempt.
We set off at 9:30am and, after the usual madness, the race settled down and I tucked in a few places behind Al. Graeme Gemmell was on his shoulder and Cath Ferry just behind him. There were a few other runners and then me, with Jacqui Thomson just behind me. Of course, all of these runners are in a different class from me but I was happy to stick with them for the first mile or so. As I failed to maintain the early pace, Jacqui overtook me and the gap on Al and the others started to widen.
I didn’t get disheartened, knowing that my target was a good bit behind their 20:00. I just kept working as hard as I could. In form, club mate, Derek Shand, overtook me and, again, I tried to keep him in sight for as long as possible. I found myself playing leapfrog with Garscube’s Craig Brown, who has run 19:31 on this course. Craig commented on how well I was running and encouraged me to keep up the good work.
I finished strongly, giving it hell for leather as I sprinted down the final downhill section and across the Finish line in 55th place, just one place and one second behind Craig with a time of 20:52, two seconds outside of my PB. It took me a moment to regain my composure and appreciate how close I’d come to setting a new PB.
It would have been great to have got another PB but I let myself go a bit on Friday. However I now know that a new course PB is possible at Pollok, something which I didn’t believe before.
I had run my 168th parkrun, to end a great month of racing, which had seen one fine performance, followed by another. My handicap had tumbled down to it’s lowest, at 8.1, whilst my wava had risen to it’s highest level at 78+%.
Cambuslang’s Stephen Wylie won the race, with an amazing course PB of 16:16, with Bellahouston Harrier, Jack Arnold next in 16:43, with Stephen’s club mate, Charles Thomson, third in 16:57.
Al MacLachlan’s pacing was spot on and he crossed the line in 20:00, Graeme kept his place on Al’s shoulder and timed 20:01, Cath placed first woman in 20:06, just ahead of Jacqui in 20:15. The third women placed 50th overall, with a time of 20:45 but had no barcode.
Derek, who had set a course PB of 20:53 two weeks ago, smashed that, crossing the line in 20:24.
Thanks to all the volunteers who ensure that parkrun takes place every week but special thanks this week to all the pacemakers who gave up their own race this week to help their fellow runners, not least of all Al MacLachlan.