3k on the Green, John’s 250th and the Paisley 10k

3k on the Green

Due to a Dentist appointment, it was always going to be highly unlikely that I made it to Glasgow Green on Friday in time for the August edition of the 3k on the Green. However I did get there in time to join women’s record holder Lyndsay Morrison to cheer the runners as they reached the 1k spot.

It was clear that the ‘best wee race in Scotland’s’ popularity has continued unabated, as 106 runners passed us, heading eastward alongside the River Clyde.  Lyndsay continued on her office lunch trip, to the local Greggs, and I ran along towards the Finish, to cheer the racers across the line.

Scott MacAulay

Scott MacAulay

First home was Kilbarchan’s Scott McAulay, making his debut and taking a slight detour but still managing to complete the 3k in a time of 9:20. In the women’s race it was Bellahouston Harriers’ President, Erica Christie to the fore, crossing the line in a time of 12:00. Although the new finish filter system, put in place in order to manage the increased participation, confused at least one runner, the organisers coped well with the large numbers and deserve huge respect from all the runners. In a personal point, it was good to see Motherwell’s Clare Barr make her return to the race, after far too long an absence.

Full results here

Kenyan John’s 250th 

Kenyan and some of his entourage

Kenyan and some of his entourage

Someone who hardly misses the event was John Softley, who is also a regular at many other races across the west of Scotland, not least of all the parkrun and I and other club mates joined him at Pollok Park on Saturday as he clocked up his 250th parkrun. It was good to see the mild mannered, recently retired, ‘Kenyan John’ being congratulated so warmly by his fellow runners. Of course, there was cake and coffee to celebrate in the Burrell Cafe too.

250th cake

250th cake

Parkrun results here

Paisley 10k

In his third race, in as many days, John joined in with a large Bellahouston Harrier contingent in Paisley’s County Square as 33 of us lined up, with 1249 others to run the local 10k. A further 255 would take part in the later 3k fun run.

Having answered a late call to take photos at the previous night’s Ruff Dugger kid’s and adult’s races, I wasn’t sure how I would fare but set myself a target of 42:30.

After my warm up and catching up with loads of friends and running buddies, I joined the mass ranks and wished my contemporaries ‘good luck’, before the 10,00 am Start.

As it begins...it shall end

As it begins…it shall end

Most of those around me shot off very fast but, following my last outing, when I faded badly in the last kilometre of the Bella Belter 10k, I decided to take a more cautious approach. I found myself running just behind Giffnock North’s Sheila Lewis, through the Paisley streets, as locals and non runners cheered us on.

Sheila Lewis

Sheila Lewis

Despite my ‘more cautious’ approach, I was shocked to see that the first kilometre had only taken me 3:48. Much faster than my planned 4:12 pace. I stuck behind Sheila for the next kilmometre and our pace slowed slightly, taking us 4:06. The sun was beating down on us and, even at this early stage, I was beginning to feel sick and having thoughts about pulling out. I told myself that 2.5k would be half way to 5k and once I reached the half way point, I wouldn’t give up. The 3rd k took me 4:14, which was OK by me but I was starting to slip back behind Sheila. I grabbed some water both to cool myself down and to wet my lips at the first of the water stations but the 4th k still continued the pattern, this time slowing to 4:19. No real cause for concern though as I could now see both Erica Christie and, fellow blogger, Steven Hill of Kilbarchan AAC ahead of me and was confident that, if I kept up the pace, I would catch one, or both, of them by the 5k mark.

However it wasn’t to be. Not only did I miss the 5k marker but I was feeling sick and struggling badly, unknown to me, the 5th k had taken me 4:24.  20:51 for the first 5k!

I had forgotten how long it would take us to get onto the cycle path and by the 6th k, we still hadn’t reached it. The 6th k had taken me 4:30, I had lost sight of Erica and Sheila’s gap on me was increasing but I was getting closer to Steven, he must be struggling even more than me, I thought, and I set out to catch him. I had forgotten about the climb up to the cycle path and that must have added to my slowing  pace, with 7th k taken me 4:44. Any thoughts of chucking in the towel were binned now and I set off to have as strong a finish as I could.

After ‘encouraging’ a runner with headphones on to move aside, I managed to catch Steven and hoped to build a lead on him. The 8th k, had taken, a much better, 4:15. It was no surprise, that seeing me overtake him, gave Steven exactly the fillip he required to up his game and he reutrned the favour, by overtaking me.  We slogged it out together to the end of the canal path. Steven was still in the lead as we turned left and headed down Camphill but I hadn’t given up hope and, with a number of Bellahouston Harrier supporters shouting me on from the road side, I made my move and overtook Steven ,again, before racing up Loan Lane trying to build a lead on him. The 9th k had also taken 4:15.

Battling it out on Camphill

Battling it out on Camphill

I had been aware of the steps of a female runner close behind me for much of the race. This had also provided an incentive for me to keep working hard, especially when the going got tough. I had thought it might be clubmate Kristina Greig, who’s in the form of her life, having completed the recent Bute 10k in 42:30.  I was therefore a bit surprised when she overtook me to see that it was, in fact, Giffnock North’s Yvonne McNairn (nee Hamilton). Yvonne has a 10k PB of 40:07 and finished the Clydebank 10k earlier this year in 41:12. So, I wasn’t too disappointed, that said, I still did my best to chase after her.  With the crowd, including Kirsten Cochran, supporting me, I sprinted down the final strait.

I also had visions of Steven outsprinting me, again, so I pushed as hard as I could, crossing the line in what I thought was 42:30:04. Only four seconds behind Yvonne.

After regaining my composure, I exhanged congratulations with Yvonne and Steven, who had finished six seconds behind me, before collecting my medal etc and making my way back to join Kirstie in cheering the others along the final section. As well as the Bellahouston Harriers and other running buddies, these also included Scott McCue who crossed the line in 48:25 and my training partner Mags Hutchinson, who had a good run, finishing in a time of 48:39.

Mags has a good run

Mags has a good run

It was only after learning from Erica that her time had been 42:24 that I checked my Garmin, to learn that I had actually taken 43:04. I was initially dissapointed with this but then others told me that they had also found it tough going, this was reflected in RunBritain rating the race as a 1.1 (and awarding my performance with a 0.4). Which, is a technical way, of saying that I outperformed most on the day.

It was handy having the Last Post pub at the Start/Finish of the race, providing secure left luggage, toilets and limited changing facilities as well as four cups of coffee for around £4.  There were also plenty of water stations on the route and plenty of support.

Prize Girl

Prize Girl

3k Fun Run

I later joined in with the other Harriers as we cheered Kirstie and Declan Houston in the 3k run. With Kirstie winning third place in her age category and Erica and Steven Prentice doing the same in the 10k, it had been a good end to a good weekend of races for the Harriers.

Full results here

Photos by Iain Burke, Bernie O’Neil, Kenny Phillips, Caroline Cochran and Ian Goudie Photography.

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