Well I did it, I really did, honestly I never thought I would. I always wanted to do it but I just thought that I’d never be good enough. A few of my friends were more confident that I would do it than I was. I didn’t even have it marked down as an achievable goal until last week, when I ran the Great Run Local at Glasgow Quays and improved my course time from 20:54 to 20:06. Twelve seconds off of my PB ! This week, I went one better and achieved the holy grail of us twenty something 5k runners, a sub 20minute 5k!
Conditions on the night weren’t perfect, A lot of delegates from the SECC conference added to the usual congestion of walkers, runners, cyclists and skate boarders who all make use of the Clyde walkway along the Broomilaw. My fitness wasn’t perfect either, with my sore hamstring still causing concern. However the weather was favourable, a bit cooler than lately and no discernible wind to battle against. Furthermore there were a few targets for me to chase after, within the 33 runners in the 5k event.
Keith Gibb was there and although he managed a time of 20:06 at the Greenock parkrun, last year, and used to give me strong competition. That was in the past. I’ve now had a run of successes against the Bellahouston Road Runner and was confident that I’d beat him.
Alan Hair, was there too and I think he’s beaten me every time we’ve raced the event together. He also clocked up a PB of 20:12 at Victoria parkrun a couple of weeks ago and was my main target for the night.
With regular Race Director, Stephen Morrison, in London, the responsibility of ensuring that the race took place fell on his, more than capable, assistant Emma O’Rourke. The, well known, Monopoly cheat sent us on our way at 6:30pm and a few seconds later, last week’s winner, Conor McEriean, joined us. As we reached him, making his way belatedly along to the start line.
I wasn’t sure how I would perform this evening but there was no chance of repeating last week’s second place, with my speedy Bellahouston Harriers’ club mates Darren McQuade and Paul Clawson in attendance. The two of them shot off, taking an early lead with four others behind them and then Keith! Perhaps foolishly, I chased after him but as we turned right to cross the Squinty Bridge for the first time, I had to let him go. His early pace was just too fast for me. However I knew that there was a long way to go and hadn’t given up on beaten him yet!
Over the bridge we ran and turned left, along the south side of the river. Just before the turn point, Alan overtook me but I held off the challenge from Conor. That was how it remained for most of the race, the three of us running as a pack.
As expected, we caught Keith and then we concentrated on the runners ahead, with a couple of them falling behind.
I did try to break away from Alan and Conor but I didn’t hold the lead for too long, although I wasn’t really too upset when Alan reclaimed his lead and took the pressure off of me.
Cheered on by my club mates, the volunteers and Al MacLachlan, I sat in right behind Alan with Conor on my shoulder. We caught a runner who had dropped off of the chasing pack. After the final turning point, I felt that I could take Alan, he was beginning to slow down but the walkway was too busy and there was no room to pass him,
With 800m to go, the pathway cleared and Conor made his move, closely followed by me. It was hurting now. I had to did deep both physically and mentally to keep working hard. I knew that Conor had beaten me last week by around 30 seconds, so I figured that I must be on for a decent time. I just had to finish as close to him as possible, easier said than done! I was hurting badly but the finish line was getting closer and closer. We caught another runner before we reached the line.
I crossed the line a few seconds behind of Conor and heard the time checker say 19:41. I was still trying to fathom out what she meant, as I raised my arm for my wrist band to be scanned.
I congratulated Conor on his run and then sat down on the wall for a, much needed, rest. I was shattered and I thought my mind must have been playing games but as I congratulated Alan Hair, he told me that he was thrilled to have run a PB of 19:56 and reckoned that I was around ten seconds ahead of him. It now started to sink in, Conor had ran the 5k in 19:41 and I had ran it in 19:43 or 44. Not only had I ran my first ever sub 20 minute 5k but I had, well and truly, smashed it. I had taken around 22 seconds off of my PB run only last week.
I received loads of congratulations from my fellow runners, some of whom had a look of surprise on their face as I told them my estimated time. I don’t blame them one bit, in fact my facial expression was probably one of shock!
My text from the GRL stated my time was 19:43, whilst the web results has it as 19:44 but either will do me nicely. I am now a very proud member of the sub 20 club. My task is to repeat the performance on a regular basis.
Many, many thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me. I’ve been overwhelmed by the congratulations that I’ve received since smashing through the 20 min barrier. Thank you one and all, it really is much appreciated.
Although, I was somewhat brought down to Earth, when Emma O’Rourke congratulated me and then said “you know my dad”!
1st k 3:58; 2nd 4:00; 3rd 4:02; 4th 4:04; 5th 3:40 !