The first Great Run Local of December was fortunate enough to be held during a little respite from the heavy rain that we’ve endured throughout November. Although a little cold for us on marshal duties, conditions were almost perfect for the 39 racers and the handful of pacers and tail runners who accompanied them in the 2k and 5k events.
With the absence of regular volunteer, John Walker, I was asked to cover the ‘far away’ turning point. Which is 1k west of the Squinty Bridge along the Broomilaw and is the only turning point for the 2k race, the 5k runners turn there twice and is the furthest away point from my usual station.
Amongst the 5k runners were a few newbies, including Eddie and Anne Marie Carr, Hance Collison, Shauna McMullen and Kilmarnock’s Connell Drummond and Stewart McAllister but it was the absence of Stephen Morrison which had the biggest impact. Stephen has been the organiser/race director, head cook and bottle washer of the Great Run Local in Glasgow since its inception. It seems ironic that Stephen should step down when the event is attracting record numbers but he has his own reasons to do so. We will all miss his happy face, humour and enthusiasm on Wednesday nights and hope that he doesn’t become a stranger. The event will always owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
I could see how the 5k race was developing as the runners approached me for the first time. Whilst Connell Drummond had taken an early lead, by the time that they reached me it was Bellahouston Harrier pairing of Darren McQuade and Jack Heathwood who were out in front, with Connell in third spot.
In the Women’s Race, it was another Bellahouston Harrier, Erica Christie, who was in the lead, with Maria Doherty in hot pursuit with my training partner, Mags Hutchinson, surprising me by being not too far behind in third spot. All three are past winners of the race.
By the time that they reached me for the second time, with only the final kilometre to go, the first three placing, in both the men’s and women’s events had not changed. However, whilst teenager Jack, was still sitting on Darren’s shoulder, debutant Connell had dropped back a bit.
In the Women’s 5k Erica had increased her lead on Maria but was still in her sight, likewise although the gap between Maria and Mags had increased, she was still in Mags’s sight. I know just how good Erica and Maria are and realised that Mags was doing well to be in contact with her more experienced rivals. Whilst, I do my best to provide support and encouragement to all participants, there was no denying that my support for Mags tonight was more vociferous than that afforded to the others. It was clear, to me at least, that she was running the race of her life and I encouraged her to keep up the hard work in the final 1000m.
I was so pleased to find out that, not only had she kept up the hard work to secure third place but she had also ran a course PB and smashed the 23 minute and 70% wava barriers whilst doing so. I know just how hard she trains and I, and her other friends, were delighted for her. For her part, she was clearly ’super over the moon’ with her race. I just hope that I can keep up with her, when I return to training.
Young Jack had overtaken Darren in the final strait, to cross the line three seconds ahead of his Club Captain, with a great time of 17:18. Debutant Drummond, crossing the line in 17:50.
Erica crossed the line in 20:48, to place 14th overall, with Maria 17th overall, in 21:50 and Mags 19th with her course PB of 22:58.
Once again, thanks to my fellow volunteer, especially Emma O’Rourke, Rachel Goslan and the others who have stepped up to the plate to take over the organisation of the free weekly event. If you haven’t run it before, why not try it soon, who knows you might end up as happy as Mags.