Two miles from the city’s main railway stations and a short walk (or jog) away from the greatest footballing arena Glasgow has to offer, I dragged myself out of my pit a little earlier than usual to visit the youngest of the five options available within the city boundary. As far as I can tell…the place still confuses me.
This was the 34th run, starting up in April 2017. It’s also, as you might expect, the smallest. Despite the dark clouds the rain kept itself to itself during the event, but the wind made sure we knew it was there, even before the run started!
So what’s the course like? Well, one clue is in the name – it’s hilly. Just shy of three laps of what was brilliantly described as a ‘Whale shaped’ set up. Once explained to you in those terms, that’s really all you can see. It’s gently undulating for most of it, except for a short steep downhill on the ‘face’ of the whale, and an even shorter uphill between the tips of the ‘tale’. Actually, the…back? of the whale before the tale is a sharp up as well. Fair warning. Here’s what it looked like:
Garmin tells me lies and has the total elevation at 35m, whereas Strava’s 76m seems a fairer reflection.
According to Strava it’s 2nd in the elevation stakes only to Falkirk; in reality Camperdown (78m on Garmin) is probably more as well, and I felt like Tollcross and Pollok were more challenging courses. Not to say this one’s easy! If you want a PB in Glasgow, head to Victoria, or as a fellow parkrunner informed me afterwards, trek to Greenock or Linwood.
I’m getting side-tracked. The start takes you down the tail and up the whale’s back. You only run the tale twice.
What turned out to be a field of 51 got underway after the customary ‘3 – 2 – 1 – Go’. I’d decided to put myself at the front and see what everyone else did…and within a few hundred metres found myself in bronze medal position moving steadily away from the pack. For company, a junior parkrunner leading the way in his first visit there and a guy with the Volunteer 25 shirt, in that order. I was keeping good company!
You know that way when you look at someone and try to suss out how ‘good’ they are? I was praying they’d both gone out too quickly in the excitement of being at the front, and I could pounce on the last lap for a glorious first finisher slot!
It turns out I only got slower myself! The buffeting wind coming back from the tail drained me quite a bit, and halfway through the second lap I conceded that I wouldn’t catch Mr Volunteer. I’d settled into 2nd by then, and there I stayed.
It was great to get chatting with a couple of the guys after the run – that’s one of the thing we all love about parkrun, people are happy to strike up conversation with anyone! The volunteers were enthusiastic, and fellow runners & the tail-runner offered encouraging words on the way round (which I tried to replicate later on!).
All in all, a really enjoyable event. Up there with Tollcross for the best Glasgow has to offer, at least of the 4 I’ve taken in so far.