Well folks, that day finally rolled around. On Sunday I found myself getting up at the unearthly hour of six o’clock to travel through to Glasgow for the Great Scottish Run. We arrived with what we thought was bags of time to spare but by the time we had located the bag drop off situated at Glasgow Green the race was already kicking off. We made it back to George Square with just enough time to join the last group of runners setting off.
So there we were, with the bulk of the 7770 runners ahead of us. I hadn’t appreciated until race day how slow the start would be. Before Sunday I had assumed I would have to hold myself back to avoid getting caught up trying to match the “proper” runners and blow my stack before the finish. Instead I spend most of the first couple of kilometers weaving my way through the pack. Luckily, the start of the route was up quite a long hill which soon spread people out.
Since I was running with a couple of friends I had decided to forgo using my iphone to listen to music and the mapmyrun+ app which has been helping me track my training runs. Initially this made it slightly awkward to settle into a comfortable rhythm and I was worried that I was either too fast or too slow. When we hit the 5k mark just under 30 minutes I decided we were doing ok and relaxed a bit.
By this stage I was enjoying the run. The cars beeping their horns at us, crowds lining the street calling out encouragement – it was quite a feeling and I couldn’t help but slap palms with some kids as I ran past. There was even a moment of comedy at one point when a cheeky pigeon let loose its bowels as it flew past and managed to get me on my hand forcing me to find a bush to run past and wipe it off.
The moment I’d been dreading hit at just before 7k. I’d taken a bottle of water at the 5k mark and it was feeling as if it was desperate to escape. I spied some port-a-loos at the side of the course and was faced with the split-second decision to go or not to go. I signalled my mates that I was going to stop and dived into the urinal. Amazingly, I was able to find enough extra pace to sprint back up and rejoin my mates after a couple of minutes.
As we approached Glasgow Green I heard someone call out that there was just over a kilometer to go and dug in for the final stretch. I could see the finish line. I had complete tunnel vision by this point, breathing hard and willing myself to keep up the page. By my reckoning I was going to finish just before the hour if I could keep it up. I heard the announcer call out the name of one of my mates as he crossed the line behind me. Was I finished? I wasn’t under the big timer clock yet. Dare I slow up?
I kept going until I passed the clock and then pulled up, looking round for my mates. Rather than exhausted I felt fantastic – the elation of finishing over-riding any tiredness. We collected out medals, beaming proudly for photos and talking about signing up for the half marathon next year as we munched on our free bananas.
We collected our gear and headed off for a shower and a carbohydrate filled lunch at Ad-Lib Burger – purely to restock our energy supplies you understand. After that we had a wander around the city centre, where it seemed everyone was sporting a race number or a medal and I tried to stop checking online every five minutes to get the official finish times.
So, nine weeks ago I had hadn’t done any running outside a gym and thought the best I might manage would be 1hr 15 minutes. I started my training all wrong and nearly knackered my knee in the process and had to lose a week out of my schedule to rest and then gently ease myself back in. Slowly, I could see my times improve and felt myself getting fitter with every run. Until yesterday I had never completed a full 10k course.
So how did I make out… (drumroll please!)
I managed to finish the Great Scottish Run in a time of 58 minutes and 14 seconds. I came 3034th out of 7770 runners. at the time of writing this I have raised over £200 for CHAS (you can still donate here if you want to show some support – every £ helps) and I am very chuffed!
- Great Scottish Run 2012: Thousands take to streets of Glasgow (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Scottish News: ‘Inspired’ runners take over city (acadvertiser.co.uk)
- A brand new story! (billrobertson55.wordpress.com)
- Great Scottish Run man who died after collapsing during event named (dailyrecord.co.uk)