The Great Scottish Run, or the Glasgow Half Marathon. It’s a race I’ve run twice before, and enjoyed both times.
The day dawned wet and slightly windy. I had a good breakfast of cereal followed by porridge, and drove to my local railway station. Only to see the train leave the station. Turns out I shouldn’t have got the 0934, it was the 0930. D’oh!
I drove off to Falkirk High, where I got the next train, about a half hour later. The train was full of runners, and I chatted fora while to the lady who was sitting next to me. She was a regular at this event, and was looking forward to a good run.
The train arrived in Queen Street station and I went out to George Square. A little bit of jogging around, then I went to join the queue for the loo, and then the baggage bus. Having dropped my kit off, all I had left to keep me warm and dry was a bin bag. I was the epitome of style as I sheltered from the increasingly heavy rain!
This is a big event – over 30,000 runners took part in the various events on offer. I was in the “green” wave, based on the time I had predicted for my marathon. I had entered a rather conservative 1:50, and that put me in the second wave of runners, starting ten minutes behind the elites and the “white” wave – those who predicted a 1:45 or better finish.
After some waiting in the rain and a really good mass warmup, the elites started.
Soon after, it was the green wave.
The course starts from George Square with a fairly sharp uphill stretch up St Vincent St. By the top of the hill there were already people walking, but I found that I was running very easily and was enjoying the run. The route continues downhill for a while before turning south and crossing the iconic Kingston Bridge – a motorway bridge across the River Clyde. It’s not somewhere that walkers can normally go, and usually I bask in the view. Today the rain meant that there was no meaningful view, and I was too focused on running to care.
We then went through a maze of streets that I don’t know well, and then hitting Pollokshaws Road – one of the main arterial routes leading out of the city centre. Here we headed south for about three miles until we reached Pollok Park, a huge park within the city.
I was amazed at how easily the running was coming to me. I’m not a natural athlete, but I really felt comfortable running. This lasted well into the park – just around seven miles – until I needed to stop for a pee. Well, what can you do? (that’s rhetorical – please don’t answer it). That stop cost me around thirty seconds, but soon I was on the road again.
Pollok Park had a few noticeable hills in it, and we then headed a mile or so north into Bellahouston Park, where again we were going up a hill. But as we came out of the park and on to Paisley Road West, that was the end of the uphill. The mile ten marker came up, and it was now just a case of pushing through to the finish.
I knew I was getting tired, but I was also aware that I was passing a lot more people than were passing me. I kept pushing as we crossed the Squinty Bridge, where there was a person receiving treatment from the marshals.
Once across, it was a straight run along the Broomielaw to Saltmarket, and then into Glasgow Green. As I ran through the McLennan Arch I started to push really hard. I could see the Glasgow 2014 statue, which is where I assumed was the finish. But no! there were still 100 yards to go. Just as the mile leading up to this point was the longest mile in history, this 100 yards was the longest 100 yards ever! But I got to the finish line and, with a few grunts and groans, stopped and began to get my breath back.
My time was on Facebook before I had collected my t-shirt and medal – 1:41:02 – a PB for me by over two minutes. I was delighted with that.
Now I have to start learning to run much more slowly for the Stirling marathon. But I definitely hope to enter this superbly-organised race again in 2018.
Max elevation: 46 m
Min elevation: 3 m