What with inconveniently having races on a Saturday for two of four available August weekends, I left it late to squeeze in my monthly parkrun tourist trip. But my dedication knows no bounds, and here it is:
Along the prom, this is an out-and-back. Don’t get too carried away, though – after the first turn, you get halfway back before being turned around again. It’s sort of two laps.
90% flat, with a small incline at the turning point you do twice.
Road shoes all the way.
1/6. Flat, impossible to get lost. That incline isn’t enough to earn a “2”.
With that said, on to the very familiar 7:20am train from Haymarket to Queen Street in Glasgow, and a hop over to Central for the next train. This time, we’re headed for Greenock West, about a mile from the start line.
Greenock was chosen as my football team was playing there, so I’d brought a change of clothes and the sports centre close to the station became Base Camp for the morning.
A steady jog around the block gave me an extra half mile warm up before getting along for the first timers’ brief. I thought I understood it, but it would transpire I wasn’t listening properly!
116 runners made it along on a fine sunny morning with very little breeze. Being Scotland, it wasn’t too warm either.
I took my place towards the front, counting on being dragged along with a top 10 place in mind, as tends to be the case with fields that size. Buoyed by recent runs, I felt I could trouble 19 minutes if things went well.
The great thing about the warm up was – treating everything as one activity – I had only a rough idea how far and fast we’d gone. I initially tried to go with what turned into a leading group of seven, but the pace was a little too fierce so I settled into my own rhythm and watched them all ease away from me.
One body ran alongside me before dropping back on the first outward leg, and that was to be it. That turn felt a bit early and so it turned out – two thirds of the way back to the start area, we were turned around again. I’d already guessed as much thanks to the quicker guys starting to stream the other way!
The course is flat but for a small incline as mentioned already, but that hurt a bit the second time. I was flagging. Running on your own at pace is a challenge – much easier when you’re chasing or being chased to spur yourself on a bit.
I forgot, I got a telling off from the tail walker for cutting to the inside (right) of the course on the first run back. In my defence, I didn’t realise runners were coming back that way at that stage! And he still gave me a giant foam-handed high five as I ran past him.
The downward section gave me a little momentum as I headed for the finish, managing a couple of well done’s and getting one or two myself, crossing the line in 19:36.
That’s a little slower than Linwood last month but I hadn’t run a reasonably quick half marathon the previous week then.
Everyone was friendly; handshakes-a-plenty at the finish and a wee bit of chat had before I traipsed off for the rest of my 7 mile jaunt. A good morning, if not the most inspiring course. Made up for, in fairness, by the views across the water!
Haven’t quite decided what’s in store for September yet…