An old man learns to race.

It was a good weekend for the MAC athletes with British masters medals, Duathlon victories, Marathon race places so well done to all those athletes. But this is my blog, so the emphasis today is on the Strathclyde parkrun which was the first race in the (keep that drum roll going) 2015 Motherwell Athletics Club Road Racers Championship and Leagues. I didn’t win obviously, I also didn’t get a PB and didn’t expect to. But I ran, what was for me (and it IS my blog after all), a good and very pleasing race.

The forecast was for wild wind and rain. I had overdone it on the Thursday and was feeling very niggly. I got to Strathclyde Park early to get a thorough warm up done as my back, hip and groin were playing up something rotten. The rain was coming down but not too heavily. The wind was coming and going. Not as bad as I had feared but still not ideal conditions. The night before had left a lot of flooded areas, and the course was to be run on an alternate route as part of it was too flooded for runners. I got a good 30 minute jog in but was still in a bit of discomfort. The same as on Tuesday for time trial so hoping that once I started running hard it would fade somewhat. The Motherwell vests all started appearing, 32 of us ended up running which is a remarkable turn out. My first bit of luck was that the 33rd vest didn’t come, Ross Burton deciding that the warmth of his duvet was more appealing than the Strathclyde Park run. To be fair he had worked a hefty shift the night before, and Scott’s comments that he was running scared of the boy Dickson I feel were harsh and unjustified. The starting and finishing areas are on a stretch of grass and these were unfortunately flooded and getting muddier by the minute and when the gun went it was a melee to attempt to get to the path first. Elbows were flying, I dished out a couple myself, I was slipping in that mud, by the time I got to the path I was pretty boxed in and unable to attempt my usual relatively fast start. This was maybe beneficial to me later. I saw Craig Mackenzie get off to a flyer, pursued by a former Motherwell , and very good, runner Davie Gardiner. Nick Hughes and Gerry Seenan weren’t far off the pace. I was toiling. My back was excruciating and I couldn’t get motoring. Clare Hughes went past, Deborah Comer went past me. Scott Dickson went past me. All good runners, but all also in my league division. The 20 minute pacer was getting further away from me. I felt terrible. I have to be 100 % honest and say that before the first kilometre was done that I was ready to drop out. I was 95% to chuck it, but that 5% kept me going.

Kilometer 2 was a case of trying not to let people get too far away from me and I felt like I was plodding. I had to try and not let any other MAC runners pass me, at the turn I took my only glance over my shoulder of the race and could see Ross Sinclair. I knew that Jim White and Stuart Gray were right on me. Got to the 2k to go and it was time to do or die. Deborah was probably about 50 meters ahead with Clare and Scott maybe a further 50 or so ahead. There is always the doubt of chasing people down with that far to go as they have time to respond, but I knew with every step that Jim etc were closing down on me so I had to do something now. With about 1 1/2k to go I managed to get past Deborah. We were running into the wind but I felt strong. I may not have much speed but the XC training has made me stronger. Next was Clare maybe 20 or so meters ahead, a great battle between her and Deborah for first female, and Scott about 20 further ahead looked dead on his feet. I had the bit between my teeth now but knew if I went past them then I had to commit. They are fast runners, they will finish well. I was basically, at 1k to go, going to have to wind it up and head for home against the wind. I really felt strong. I can’t emphasise that enough. I would not have beaten anyone in a sprint finish, but in that last 1 – 1.5k I went past 6 people including the 20 pacer and my 3 club mates to finish in 11th place, my best ever, only one place behind Brian McLinden who I have never been near before. I slipped as I tried to cross the line in the mud but kept on my feet. I was only 4 seconds outside my best in a time of 19.34 and I had run the last k into the wind in 3 mins 40. From what I thought was going to be my worst “run” at the start into what was probably my best “race” since I started back. I ignored my watch. I ignored what was happening behind me. And I overcame the self doubt that permeates my every run. I was 6th MAC Runner out of the 32, and was the first League 2 finisher. Top of the League. You know come the end of the year I don’t expect to be anywhere near there but it’s really nice to be there even if it’s just for one month until the next race. And I did it the hard way. Despite my never ending niggles, and they really are getting me down just now, I am developing a bit of mental toughness, and a bit of strength. I was pleased with myself.

The MAC results were as follows:

Pos parkrunner Time
1 Craig MACKENZIE 17:20
3 Nicholas HUGHES 18:01
4 Gerry SEENAN 18:24
7 Andrew BUCHANAN 18:54
10 Brian MCLINDEN 19:24
11 Mark GALLACHER 19:34
13 Clare Elizabeth HUGHES 19:47
14 Scott DICKSON 19:58
15 Deborah COMER 20:00
18 Jim WHITE 20:09
19 Stuart GRAY 20:16
23 Paulo LEITE 20:36
28 Ross SINCLAIR 20:55
32 Emma STEVENSON 21:14
34 John MCPARLAND 21:32
44 Ewen Robert CAMERON 22:13
45 Kevin DURNIAN 22:15
50 Peter BLACKMORE 22:48
53 Andy KNOX 22:51
58 Thomas SNEDDON 23:13
59 Elaine JAMIESON 23:16
61 Susan STEWART 23:23
62 Andrew A SCOTT 23:26
66 James PROFFITT 23:36
72 Gary WOOD 23:55
79 Dougie WADDELL 24:26:00
83 Pamela MURPHY 24:47:00
95 Jim TRACEY 26:00:00
97 Lesley ROSS 26:21:00
111 Patricia ALLEN 27:52:00
129 Leigh MATHIESON 30:17:00
130 Mae MCISAAC 30:18:00

Too many good results to go into details in touch conditions so well done everyone. A huge thank you to the organisers and volunteers at Strathclyde parkrun, who week in and week out ensure there is a run on for us all, no matter the weather.

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One thought on “An old man learns to race.

  1. Pingback: Wouldn’t it be nice | markgallmac

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