I loved the Tour of Clydeside this year, the camaraderie which builds up between the runners is superb and I like to think that I played a small part in that by taking photos at the first four races. However when Friday night came along, it was back to running for me. The Bella Belter 10k is not only the final race in the series but a decent event, in its own right, attracting some top class athletes.
With my own club, Bellahouston Harriers, hosting the race, I was assured of good support from the marshals, throughout the two lap course.
After a decent warm up, along the busier than usual road through Pollok Park, with an event at Lochinch and a game at Ibrox Park, causing major congestion, which, thankfully, died down just before the 7:30 Start.
I was feeling good and was hoping to build on my decent 10k performances at Troon and the Polaroids Series which saw me running consistently under 43 minutes, including a PB of 41:35 at Clydebank.
To beat that, I reckoned I should be aiming for a pace of 4:09 min/k. I failed in my attempt to get a friend to pace me but there would be plenty of targets to pull me round. However I was surprised to see that Steven Hill’s PB was slowly than mine, so he was ruled out. Neil Nairn had recently run a sub 20 minute parkrun in Cleethorpes, Keith Gibb had ran a decent Pollok parkrun recently and Emma Kay was having a decent run of form. I knew that if I was in with them, I’d be doing OK.
I reached the first kilometre sign in front of all of them and was surprised to see that my Garmin indicated 3:50, a few metres further on and my Garmin vibrated to inform me that I had ran 1k and indicated that my pace was 4:08. That was much better and I was in target.
I thought I ran well in the first lap, keeping Pamela McCrossan and Brian Hughes in sight and the others behind me. The sun was beating down on us and I decided to take a quick drink and cool myself with some water at the midpoint. As I did, I noticed Neil Nairn trying to overtake me. Refreshed, I managed to hold off his challenge and increased my pace to build up a gap. However after a further 2k, I was starting to struggle and gave myself a few choice words to keep up the hard work. A tall, blond Central AAC female passed me as we headed towards Pollokshaws Road and the 8k point. I managed to maintain my place for the penultimate kilometre but I was now dying on my feet and feeling as if I was going to be sick.
“Less than six minutes of hard work to go”, I told myself, and then “only four” but I was really struggling to maintain the pace and it came as no great surprise when Neil and another runner passed me with 200m to go, I tried in vain to hang onto them and but Motherwell runner caught me just before the final bend.
I crossed over the line in a time of 42:23 and immediately found a piece of ground to recover on, unfortunately it was a bed of nestles but I was too shattered to care. Shortly after, the rapidly improving, Kristina Greig joined me, after having run the race of her life.
Once I had recovered, I grabbed a bottle of water and exchanged congratulations with my running buddies. Although I was desperately disappointed with my time, I knew that I had given my all. So how am I ever going to be able to take a further minute off of my performance? I tried to remember my Troon 10k time, for comparison, but I couldn’t. It didn’t help much to learn that some of my friends had also failed to reach their target times.
I put my disappointment to one side as I chatted with my running buddies, as we waited for the final tour results and the associated awards ceremony.
It was great to see so many friends, both old and new, being recognised for their achievements over the week and it was a nice touch for Women’s winner, Fiona Ramsay, to give the organisers a vote of thanks and present them all with a small gift, as a token of her appreciation. She kindly gave me a gift as well for taken photos of her Cani fit team throughout the week.
It was only after I got home, that I checked my previous results to discover that my performance had actually been my second best 10k of all time and more than 90 seconds quicker than my time at the same event last year. Suddenly that minute, that I hope to reduce my time by, became possible and my mood raised.
Thanks again to everyone associated with the Tour and the five individual races, it was great to play a small part in it.
Giffnock North’s Luke Traynor won the race in a time of 31:09, with Central AC’s Lyndsay Morrison winning the Women’s Race in 35:47.
Tour of Clydeside
Helensburgh AAC’s Chris Moses won this year’s Tour, with Cani Fit’s Fiona Ramsay winning the women’s title and also succeeding in her aim of raising the profile of the running club for dogs and their owners.
pics by Kenny Phillips and Ian Goudie Photography