I ran my 100th Glasgow parkrun on Saturday. It was a cold morning and the old bones and muscles didn’t respond too keenly to my pre-race warm up, so I wasn’t expecting much as I set off with some 340 other races at 9:30am in Pollok Park. With the county cross country races taking place later on the day, a number of the usual club runners were noticeable by their absence. I started a bit closer to the front than usual but it wasn’t long until I was left behind as dozens and dozens of runners sprinted past me in the first kilometre. Although I thought I was working quite hard, I was feeling sluggish and was disappointed with myself as a number of runners, who I could once upon a time hold my own with, left me in their trail.
I stuck to my task and started working up the field as the route turned left into the woods and then right up hill. I had a bit of a tussle during the second kilometre as a runner kept on trying to pass me on the inside. His pushing and jostling was putting me off but there was no way that I was going to let him beat me, so after he passed me and pulled in right in front of me, I stepped out to the left and increased the pace significantly to build a gap between us. Not wanting to have negative thoughts, I started to refocus my race on those in front of me. David Mitchell from Kilmaurs was about six places in front of me and I set out to finish as close to him as possible. There’s a flat but narrow path alongside a stream that runs through the park and, although it’s quite short, I pushed in hard and managed to catch a few runners, I worked hard up the wee hill and as I turned left onto the main drag, I could see that David wasn’t too far in front. I tried not to focus on him and looked ahead, where I could see Graeme Pert, who is having a great season. Unusually I started lapping people at this point and with 2 miles under my belt I caught David and set off after Graeme, I was surprised to catch him so soon and I kept working hard to ensure that neither he nor David could catch me. The last kilometre was sheer determination and I sprinted down the last 200m as if every second and indeed every place was a prisoner.
I was pleasantly surprised to look at my watch and see a time of 21:56, twenty seconds quicker than my last Glasgow park run, two weeks ago, and a course Season Best. It was my fastest 5k in a Bellahouston Harrier vest and whilst I know that I should be running faster, it still represents steady progress and a 70%+ WAVA is always good in my books. For the record, I placed 78th out of 341 participants. I had set reaching 100 Glasgow parkruns as one of my targets for the year, I’ve actually ran a total of 115 parkruns and I’m now looking forward to (re)visiting some of the other ones in the weeks ahead.
There was no cake or other celebrations awaiting me at the Burrell Café, I’d had that when I had reached my 100th park run total but a number of fellow runners and volunteers did take the time to congratulate me. I was however a bit overwhelmed and more than a little humbled to see that I had almost 100 ” likes” on Facebook for my persistent plodding.
There’s been a number of different routes used during my 100 Glasgow parkruns as flooding, snow and ice have all had an impacted on the official course, I’ve ran in snow, rain and sunshine and I’ve been joined with as few as 21 other hardy souls to as many as 478 runners, as I’ve run over 310 miles around Pollok Park. I’ve seen many new people come along and noticed some people get out of the habit of their Saturday morning runs, I’ve made a lot of friends along the way and I’d like to thank them all and the many, many volunteers for making every 1 of my 100 Glasgow parkruns special in their own way.