To celebrate the tenth year of parkrun in Scotland, some clever soul came up with the ‘Ten for Ten’ concept – simply put, run or volunteer at 10 different events between early April and early December.

What do you mean, why?  Why not!

There are, inevitably, tiers within that:

Bronze: As above, get them in before December
Silver: Ten within 15 weeks
Gold: Ten in ten!

Gold takes a fair bit of commitment, even for those on the west coast who have more events within relatively easy reach (though allowances are made for those in the Highlands and Islands, and rightly so!).

As with Ruchill, the morning started with a cycle to Haymarket and an early train out west.  Destination:

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You can’t say I don’t show you the sights

It’s a mile from here to the start line.  I’d left myself half an hour to make the journey through what turned out to be surprisingly picturesque part of town.

Don’t worry; obviously I’ve taken photos.

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A row of houses I’ll never be able to afford…
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…leading to this bridge…
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…and to Colquhoun Park

Through the other side of the park, it’s just a few minutes through a sadly rubbish-strewn quiet road, and I was into Garscadden Wood.  A narrow walk uphill gave me a small taste of what I was in for, arriving at the start line early enough for a few snaps of the course and the surrounds – unlike Alness, there’d be no time to walk round afterward.

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Brian, the Run Director, took us first-timers aside for our briefing and explained the simple out – three laps – back nature of the course, and told us to enjoy the downhills…only to be called out for failing to mention the ups!  “They’ll take care of themselves”, was the optimistic way he phrased it.

If only that’s how it worked!

Before we were underway, Brian mentioned that one of the runners there this morning had finished 33rd in the London marathon the previous weekend.  Wow.  He earned the round of applause he got for that.

And off we went.

After an initial 300m or so of steady climbing comes the most technical part of the course  to start the first lap – a series of sharp left and rights while going steeply downhill.  I’ll be honest, I judged this horribly the first time and ended up all over the shop.

It doesn’t help that I went out far too quickly again!  I should have known better…

A short steep climb was followed by the last of the downs, a sweeping right turn.  That just left a lengthy ascent to complete the lap.  And boy, this course doesn’t mess about!

I was well clear in third by the end of the first lap, but my pace dropped and dropped and any effort at sub-20 went out the window.  I slipped to fourth as someone who knew what they were doing when it came to pacing up and down those hills came cruising past on the ‘back straight’ of the second lap.

The last lap was almost processional – I was done.  I did manage to keep smiling and chatting to the volunteers out there, but it was almost through gritted teeth as if to say “How could you do this to me?”!

Luckily the last 500m are downhill back towards the start/finish area, though I’d be lying if I said I was able to sprint it; gravity and momentum did all the work!

I finished in 21:09, with splits of 4:00, 4:16; 4:33, 4:33, 4:13.

There was a fairly typical 37 runners along, with 14 people needed to help marshal the many points on the course where things could go awry.  Thanks to them!

I had a brief chat with RD, Brian, after.  It’s one of those runs that are simultaneously torture and enjoyable.  I put the former first for a reason!  This isn’t a course for the faint-hearted, but would be excellent strength training – as one fellow runner commented – and one for the ‘purists’.

If you’re in the area, I’d say it’s worth making a little time to make it out to Drumchapel parkrun.  You can always come back for the others at a later date…

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