I ticked off one of the closest NENDYs (Nearest Event Not Done Yet) in heading West again to complete my 10 for 10 challenge to celebrate the 10th anniversary of parkrun in Scotland.  Let’s break down the course, then we’ll get to my morning:

Route description
Two laps and a sprint finish.  First lap takes you past the finish, the second lap goes left around the artificial pitches to avoid mixing up with people being lapped.

Course profile
Flat and fast.

Underfoot
Mainly paved with some light, narrow trail.

Shoes
Road shoes all the way.  Even in the wet (and it was wet), there’s enough paved sections to make trail shoes a bit rubbish.

Difficulty
1/6.  There’s a few turns but nothing to slow you down – the only thing that might is the narrow trail section through the trees where passing isn’t possible without being rude about it.

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To help you visualise it all

And how did it go?

As ever, my weekend started much earlier than a normal person would like it, needing to be on the 7:20am train to Glasgow.  I had more than enough time to get between Queen Street & Central stations to head the way.

The thing about relying on public transport is a couple of the runs are tricky to get to.  I accept Linwood isn’t actually that bad, but Johnstone’s the nearest train station at two miles away.  No chance I was chancing a bus – Google Maps might be a saviour these days, but I’d still need to find the right place to get on hopefully the right bus, possibly needing exact change and not recognising anywhere on the way.  Phew…no, not happening.  Trains at least stop in a known destination, usually.

The run to the ON-X leisure centre, right by the start line, was pleasant enough, and I only had to stop a couple of times to make sure I was actually going the right way…

The first-timers’ brief was hosted by an RD lamenting (in good humour) his luck in always getting a busy week while his fellow helpers get quiet ones; the final shout-outs were interrupted by an excitable young dog barking his/her way through it all.

Then we were away!

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In the direction of the finish line

The course took us past some kids doing some sort of cycling proficiency on the grass right next to us before turning left and heading for the trees.  I was towards the front, pretty typical for the ‘smaller’ events.  Only had the odd puddle to concern myself with before turning left at the top end of the loop, where the course narrows into single-track.  By the time you’re literally out of the woods, it’s opened up and I took advantage of this to pass into fifth.

I felt okay as I looped round to the left for lap two, thanking the marshals – including a really young girl – on the way and just tried to keep doing what I was doing.  There’d been a fancy camera set up to photograph/record us on lap one about halfway towards the turn in the woods, but they were offski.  Just me and the puddles, then.

I went into third place not long after coming out of the narrow section, and tried to accelerate a little to pull clear.  I wanted that place on the imaginary podium!

Had nothing left for the home straight, but very pleased to finish in 19:23.  That was my quickest run since I went nearly a minute faster in Perth in February!

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And an unusually even race run for me, too.

Chatted with the RD for a bit afterwards – interesting this was one of many venues considered before the Council edged them towards this place.  They knew it was fate after a jog round; it really is a nice spot for it.

Had coffee and cake (obligatory) in the ON-X, during which time it decided to start chucking it down.  That made the jog back to Paisley I’d decided on a whole lot of fun!

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A fairly striking building

This was actually the last parkrun I’ve done thanks to other events (and a lie in one weekend, sssh), so with this Saturday being the last of August, I’ll be heading to Greenock to keep my “one new event a month in 2018” thing going.

Next up: Coll Half Marathon report