I’m doing another FutureLearn course at the moment which covers the importance of keeping physically and mentally fit as you get older. I’m always amazed that so many people who exercise forget about their largest organ, the brain. Your brain needs exercise just as much as your body does. One issue that we recently addressed was multisensory information: Almost everything we perceive from the world is based on multisensory information. This means how the six sense organs, sight, sound, touch, smell, self-motion, and taste, work together to help us understand the world around us.
Very few things that we do, do not depend on this ability:
- Holding a conversation is influenced by seeing the other person, recognising their body and facial gestures, as well as hearing speech.
- Walking down a street involves seeing potential obstacles, listening to traffic sounds or conversation, perceiving our location in the environment, updating that as we walk, and maintaining body posture and balance.
These are complex tasks for the brain to figure out, yet we seem to manage, often effortlessly, to do these tasks. It is a major challenge for our brain to understand everything that goes on in our world despite all the information it receives from the different sense organs. Apparently, to keep the old brain working we should be subjecting it to new experiences, so it can work with different multisensory information. I, therefore, decided not to do my usual Pollok parkrun on Saturday but to try out a new one instead. Ruchill parkrun, in the North West of Glasgow, started on 15th April and I hadn’t yet tried it. It’s also a park that I don’t know well, only being there once a number of years ago for a ‘fun run’.
I and Jack headed over the Clyde and up Maryhill Road, a couple of right turns and we were at the gates of the park. The give-away signs of people walking around in hi-viz vests reassured us that we were at the right place.
After a wee warm up and a look at the course map, we lined up at the Start line with a few friends and running buddies, including Scott Kennedy; John Murray; Tariq Abdullah; Sylvia Mulholland; Elizabeth Craig and Chris Hever as the race director, Alistair Mitchell, welcomed us to the 7th staging of the event and set us on our way uphill for the first of three times.
I felt sluggish but wasn’t too concerned, I hadn’t set myself any targets for the race, other than to finish and be rewarded with a guaranteed course best. It didn’t take Scott long to disappear into the distance as the hill curved first to the left and then to the right. With the sun beating down on us, we were eventually rewarded with a right turn taking us steeply downhill and then a flat section before a wee climb and then a left turn back to the Start/Finish line. We continued downhill, turned left and then a sharp right took us uphill and another turned us back towards the Start line again with approximately 2k under our belts. By the end of the second lap, I was wishing that I had a left some water along the route, as the heat continued to take its toll. After reaching the top of the long hill for the third time, I knew that the last section would be relatively easy and increased the pace a little. I managed to catch a few runners before crossing the line in a very acceptable 7th place, with a time of 23:09.
I was the first in my age cat and also got another mention in despatches as my wava of 69% was the third best of the day.
Upfront, Scott had blasted it. Despite having no real competition he had managed to match the course record of 18:02 at the first time of asking. In second place was David Jones in 20:54, followed by Doug McNair with a time of 21:13.
In the women’s event, local runner Elizabeth Craig took Gold with a time of 23:48, an off form Sylvia Mulholland placed second with 24:52 and Linda Cunningham earned third with a time of 26:28.
It was good to have a wee catch-up with some of the other runners after the race but unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for coffee as I didn’t want to risk having to leave Jack in the car on such a hot day so we headed back over the Clyde where brunch awaited us. Of course, I only had a cooked breakfast so that my brain could take in the smells, taste, sight, sound and touch of it.
Many thanks to all the volunteers for putting in this great wee event.
Photos from Ruchill parkrun Facebook page.
Ruchill parkrun #7 was graded with an SSS of 5.0 with my performance meriting a vSSS of 1.4, indicating that I had a good race, relative to others. A further explanation of this is available here.