Romy (Club Champion) and Mary (Female Vet Winner) at Bellahouston Road Runners Awards
Over the last few year I have ran the Glasgow 10K a number of times but since 2003 I hadn’t run any longer distance road races. This year I started up my distance running again, incorporating a few half marathons into my race calendar including the Great Scottish Run. This event also marks the final event of the Bellahouston Road Runners Club Championships. To take part, members need to complete two 5Ks, two 10Ks, two longer distance races and one other from a list of set races. As I missed races at the start of the year due to an injury, I needed to complete this one in order to finish off the club championships and I was very excited about it.
On race day I did my usual cycle to Glasgow Green in the morning and then jogged with a few fellow team members to the start. I don’t like the time before the race starts when you are just hanging around. With 10Ks the warm up is more important but with this race I just wanted to take the first few kilometres easy. The clock was nearing 11am and we were all set to go when there was an announcement that there would be a 15 minute delay to the start. In all the races I have ran, this has never happened before, if I had known I would have paced my food intake differently and eaten something a bit later on in the morning.
Eventually, at around 11.20am we set off up St Vincent Street. At the top of the hill I had some supporters waiting for me; my cousin Ben, husband Wes and son Ayden high on Wes’ shoulders. This set the scene with lots of familiar faces lining the streets of Glasgow. The first 5K flew by and after that I settled into a good rhythm, enjoying the pace and support. Just before turning off Paisley Road, I saw the two leading men head towards me – what a nice boost! Running around Bellahouston Park was familiar territory as I train there a lot with my running club and again, there were fellow members who were not running, cheering from the sidelines which made me smile and enjoy the race so much more.
After the lap around Bellahouston Park and the stretch back on Paisley Road West came my fastest 2K while crossing the slower runners coming towards me. Whenever this happens in races I always find it very uplifting. I had three goals for this race.
1. attempt to run under 1h30
2. run a PB set 10 years ago when I last ran half marathons of 1hr 34
3. run fast enough to complete and win the Bella club championships.
As it’s a long race I didn’t want to get too hung up about my pace per kilometre but just wanted to see how I felt, while still keeping my ideal pace for a sub 1h30 at the back of my head.
Up until 16K I was, on average, below my target for a sub 1h30 time and I was on a real high. Then we reached the Squinty Bridge for the second time and took a left turn towards the Riverside Museum. My legs started to feel heavy and I had to slow my pace down from there on. The lap along the Expressway was a drag and also quite hilly (there was a kilometre there that was just as hilly as going up St Vincent Street, according to my Garmin watch) and I was getting tired but determined to keep pushing. No more smiles at this stage!
I got another nice boost from my fellow club members when I turned back past the Squinty Bridge and along the river. My favourite supporters, Ben, Wes and Ayden were cheering me on here and I tried to dig deep and keep the pace but it was a struggle at this point and the thought of stopping for a rest was overwhelming.
The finish line was not far though so at this stage it was just a case of gritting my teeth and hanging in there. I didn’t think I had a sprint finish in there but about 50 metres from the finish my Yoga teacher, Mark Russell, pulled himself forward away from the crowd to cheer me on. I dug so deep and gave it all I had. I was exhausted and beaten but very happy with my time of 1h31m30s. Getting sub 1h30 will be something to work on in 2014.
A few days after the race, the Bellahouston Road Runners also received a nice surprise. As the club with the fastest 7 men and 7 women, we had won the team challenge which included £500 towards club development, 14 free places for the 2014 race and a chance to win a trip to Ethiopia in November to run the Great Ethiopia Run and meet Haile Gebrelassie himself! Needless to say the level of excitement amongst the 14 was very high. Unfortunately, after the final Great Run last Sunday, the draw between the 8 winning teams of each of the Great Runs was made, and we didn’t win. Although this was a disappointment, the thought of potentially winning was a nice surprise after an already enjoyable race. Setting goals was definitely a good idea and I now proudly hold a new half marathon PB and since last weekend at the Bellahouston Road Runners Awards Night, excited to have my name on the club’s trophy as the Club Champion!