Saturday morning was alarm free for once, as instead of needing to eat breakfast before a parkrun, I had plenty of time to let my bagel settle before an 11am start for the Nigel Barge Memorial 10k. The race is held by the Maryhill Harriers, in north west Glasgow, starting from the Garscube Sports Centre. The race has been going since 1943, a memorial for a former club member who was killed at Dunkirk. It is a small club race so attracts the fast, club running types.
It was a two lap course passing through Dawsholm Park, crossing over the River Kelvin, then back again and with several short sections of road. There were also two sizeable hills and one smaller one and they obviously had to be run up twice. Six hills!
My goals were:
- Go under 59 minutes and maybe set a PB.
- To go out relatively slowly i.e. Mile 1 should not be my fastest mile of the race!
- To confine the contents of my GI tract within the middle portions of said tract (in fairness this is a major goal every time I lace up my running shoes: I have failed often enough to warrant its appearance on the goal list).
There were 128 runners, and as I was towards the back from the start I got to see the line of runners stretched out along the first curve in the road ahead, before about 110 of them disappeared off into the distance. It always makes me happy to see the field of a race or parkrun stretched out ahead like this and to find myself a part of it.
I settled into an easy pace with a few runners around me, and thought I was keeping an eye on my average pace but got a little shock at the first kilometre marker when my watch said 6:22 – clearly a bit slow for a sub 59 minute run. So I upped it a bit and started over taking a few other runners.
One of my toes started to twinge with the unmistakable feeling of a toenail cutting into it. It stopped hurting after awhile, so I was surprised to see blood on the top of my (very new) shoe after the race. That little patch was nothing to the amount of blood soaked into my sock and the shoe lining. So much blood from one tiny, little cut! I have refrained from posting a picture.
At about the 5k point I caught up to a man in a red t-shirt and ran alongside him for the remainder of the race. I said a few words to him just before the final hill and he told me this was his first ever 10K, part of training for his first triathlon. He then said that he was grateful for my pace setting.
My pace setting? I thought he was pacing me!
My final time was 58:24, a PB by 11 seconds. A great result, especially given the hills.
While the large, mass participation runs have their place, I really like the small, club races: They are cheap, easy to get to, park at and get away from and super friendly. A good way of measuring training and fitness progress.
And yes, I achieved ALL my goals for the race!