Saturday, 10 December 2011
Sunday, 6 November 2011
|Bellahouston 4k Cross Country Route|
The Bellahouston 4k Cross Country had been moved from its regular January slot, to tie in with the end of the 4km cross country relay season. It was also earmarked as the final selection race for places in the Scottish Vets teams for the British & Irish Masters Cross Country to be held in Bellahouston Park on 26th November.
To get selected for the B&I Masters, I knew I'd need to run well against the other M45 runners, and in particular to stay ahead of Denis Williams of Shettleston. There were over 200 runners on a narrow startline, so the race was a bit of a chaotic scramble to begin with. I chose to stay wide on the righthand side to keep out of trouble and followed the line of Craig Mattocks.
After about 1km things were settling down and I decided to press on and pass Niall McAlinden and Denis who were just ahead. At the very start of the 2nd lap I was caught and passed by Greig Glendinning and Denis Williams. I kind of switched off a bit for the 3rd kilometre, and could see Denis and Marc McColl gaining a more and more uncatchable lead that I could not visualise closing down. I was now pretty much resigned to not being able to pull anything out of the bag, but suddenly catching and passing Andy McCall gave me a bit of a lift. Everything was getting a bit of blur by this stage. Niall was back in front and I had the first 2 M50 runners Gerry Gaffney and Alexander Chisholm right on my shoulders. I can't really remember what was happening during the final kilometre, I just knew I needed to work hard to get to the turn through the beech hedge, but that turn totally killed my speed and I found Scott Martin passing me just before the tarmac pass crossing. From here I knew there was only about 150 metres to go, so I decided to attack as hard as I could. I flew past Scott, then went by Niall and suddenly realised I could also catch Denis. The final 50 metres was uphill and straight into bright sunshine, so it was impossible to see exactly where the finish line was, but once I'd gone past Denis I realised I could also catch Marc McColl and nipped ahead just before the finishing funnel.
I finished 99th in 15:01, and was 8th M40, but more importantly was 1st M45, so hopefully that's enough to make the B&I Masters team. I'll need to wait and see.
|150 metres to go.|
Sunday, 30 October 2011
My 5th relay in 5 weekends after the McAndrew's at Jordanhill, West District Cross Country at Drumpellier, UKA British Hill Relays at Kettlewell, and the Scottish National Cross Country Relays at Cumbernauld.
I'd only run the Allan Scally once before, and that was way back in 2004 on a different course when I ran 27:42. Having seen the times from last year, I was expecting to run around 28:15 this time. I'd put myself on Leg 4, however there was some confusion with regards to a mass start that was just about to send off the final few runners, so the results for Leg 4 currently show nonsense for several of the runners.
I took over from Ciaran just before the mass start, and then started chasing down runners, with large gaps and increasingly wet and rainy conditions. I passed around 6 runners, and was caught by 1 runner from the mass start. I think it was Matthew White of Dundee University who I then tried to chase around the rest of the route. It was pretty torrential by the time I finished in 28:20, but sportingly the rest of the team - Don, John and Ciaran had all waited for me to finish before we jogged back to Bannerman High School in Baillieston.
Link to photos
Friday, 28 October 2011
Saturday, 1 October 2011
Results | Photos
The traditional opening race of the Glasgow winter road and cross country season.
I hadn't run the McAndrew Relay since 2006 when I clocked 18:46. I was fairly sure I could beat that time, but didn't know how much effect donating blood on Wednesday evening was going to have.
Niall ran Leg 1 in 18:12, coming in about 25 seconds adrift of Garscube and Calderglen Vets. I set out chasing Garscube and Calderglen, but made no ground on them, and was passed quite early on by Craig Ruddy who ran the fastest time of the day with 15:32. Once I reached Queen Victoria Drive after 1 mile, I could no longer see any runners in front, and also wasn't caught by anyone during the next 2.3 miles, so it was a bit hard to stay motivated.
I imagined that even with a poor run I would go below 19 minutes, but finished in 19:08 feeling horribly washed out and out of sorts, so decided immediately not to bother with the SVHC Half Marathon tomorrow.
I'm hoping that I might be back firing on a few more cylinders by next weekend for the West District Relays and Pentland Skyline.
Johnston and John Quinn ran solid legs on the final 2 stages with 20:51 and 20:29 respectively.
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Results | Photos
This was my 10th Two Breweries in a row. For once I decided to start a bit more slowly, and slotted in well behind the block of front runners for the opening jog down the road. I then backed right off on the first climb, and started walking thereby letting lots more runners past, including Kate Jenkins and David Fulton of HBT.
Once we got onto the more runnable track through the heather, I managed to start running again and passed David and Kate, and then started to close down John Binnie, Jonny Knox and Iain Whiteside towards Birkscairn. I followed these guys on the descent to Glen Sax, and caught Gregor Heron on the climb towards Hundleshope. The traverse across to Stob Law was seriously muddy and gloopy this year. I saw Dick Wall just as I reached the better track up Stob Law, and passed Greig Glendinning just before the summit.
On the descent to Glenrath I was passed by Jonny Knox and John Binnie, but I caught and passed them again on the climb up Whitelaw. Once in the firebreak, Peter Buchanan and Michael McGovern were not that far ahead, but despite making a reasonable effort I couldn't quite close them down.
On the descent from Dead Wive's Grave, I had John Binnie right on my heels, but he only passed after the drinks station at Stobo. I was slightly taken by surprise at the speed that John hammered up the track, but I was happy enough to follow at a distance. Once across the dam, I could see John and Michael crossing the gate/stile simultaneously. At the track I chose not to follow, but to take a different route. I couldn't tell if my route was gaining any advantage, but when I reached the summit of Trahenna I was level with Charles Hutchinson, so I figured I must have leap-frogged John, Peter and Michael without them knowing.
I followed Charles off Trahenna until he suddenly stopped to tie his laces, at which point I passed and dived down the Greenmantle descent off the nose of the hill. This brought me quickly to the Ratchill checkpoint, and I couldn't see any other runners around. I hit the road at 3:14:50, and could see a Carnethy vest way down the road in the distance. I wasn't sure who it was, but tried to close the gap, and got within 11 seconds of Adrian Davis as I crossed the line in 3:20:33 for 18th place, and relieved to have survived after feeling so rubbish at the start.
|Two Breweries Route|
|Being followed by John Binnie at Stobo|
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Photos | Activity on Garmin Connect
I always like to do Dalehead Fell Race the day after Three Shires, despite feeling a bit wrecked. Dalehead is a far more low key event, and this year had only 24 runners compared with 288 yesterday at Three Shires.
The race starts with a stony farm track leading to a humpback bridge, to avoid the usual river crossing due to the river being in spate. I reached the summit in 39 minutes, which I'm sure is my slowest ever, and realised it would be difficult to get under the hour. I battered down the Borrowdale descent, and caught a Keswick runner at the fence crossing above the quarry. For a change I decided to go through the quarry, which was probably a reasonable plan apart from I made a stupid mistake by not following the high path out of the quarry to pick up the grassy descent. Instead I dropped down to the horrible greasy rocky path of the ascent route, which is much trickier underfoot.
Anyhow, there was nobody close to me on the run in, which was longer than usual with the flagged route via the bridge, so I finished in 7th place in about 1:00:46, which is by far my slowest time at Dalehead. But it was nice low key event and good to chat with Miles Jessop, Pete Brittleton and Pez Bullen after the race.
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Results | Activity on Garmin Connect
I made an early start from Glasgow for this one, and was seriously doubting the wisdom of my choice driving down the M74 with windscreen wipers on double-speed. When I turned off the M6 at Penrith, it was still hammering down with rain, and I was wondering if anyone would turn up to the race.
The parking was at Hodge Close Quarry, which means a good 20 minutes walk across to Little Langdale, and at 11am there was still a huge queue of folk waiting to register. Just before 11.30am we were assembled in the road when Selwyn Wright suddenly shouted 'go' when nobody was really ready. The usual stampede down to the footbridge ensued. I briefly found myself leading alongside eventual race winner Carl Bell, but quickly backed off, and once across the bridge offered no resistance as dozens of runners trotted past.
Once through the fell gate at 14 minutes, the field split 3 ways. The front runners strangely stayed on the lowest path, a few folk cut up immediately on the left, and another group, including several Bowland runners, took the middle ground. I assumed the Bowland guys knew what they were doing, so elected to follow them which was probably a mistake. Next time I will cut up to the left and join the tourist path, which must be quicker.
Anyhow, I bashed on up Wetherlam, trying to keep pace with Mike Johnson and following him across to Prison Band. Gradually I kept on dropping places, until Craig Smith and Ali Welsh went by on the descent to the Three Shire Stone. I caught them on the climb to Blisco, but they both passed again on the descent to Blea Tarn. Once again I caught Ali just before the summit of Lingmoor, but I was feeling fairly weary on the run off and dropped a bunch more places to finish in 43rd place in 2:23:46, which is by far the slowest of my 6 attempts at the race.
|Joanne Anderson of Carnethy|
Sunday, 11 September 2011
It might not have been the full blown remnants of Hurricane Katia expected tomorrow, but the weather on Great Cumbrae was still pretty wild, wet and windy. Given the dismal conditions, the number of runners seemed down on previous years.
I chose to cycle to ensure I could make a quick getaway after the race. The short cycle down to Millport was straight into the teeth of gale so I was pretty exhausted when I arrived at the village hall. Pre-race, I had a chat with John Bell and David Geddes of Garscube, and made a mental plan to try to run with John and his clubmate Euan Geddes.
The race started just before 2pm, with a pack of 4 taking the early pace - Stuart Gibson, Mike Deason, Conor McNulty and a Corstorphine runner. Next I think was Billy Richardson of Irvine, with myself sitting 6th, waiting for John Bell and Euan Geddes to arrive. I was a bit surprised to see Chris Moses of Helensburgh launching an early attack inside the first kilometre, and chose not to respond. By the first mile I was caught by John and Euan and a guy in purple vest. The 4 of us ran together in a block that took us past Chris, and for a while we seemed to be gaining on Billy. I was finding the pace a bit too comfortable so tried to push it on for the first 3 miles or so, with myself, John and Euan running side by side with the wind on our backs.
Just before the ferry terminal at 4 miles, either Euan speeded up, or my pace started to slump because suddenly I couldn't hold on. I tried not to panic and keep on chasing John Bell who was also dropped by Euan by the 5-mile marker. At this point we had swung around the top of the island and were now starting to get battered by a strong headwind. I could see that the Corstorphine runner had faded, and Euan went by soon after 5 miles. I thought I was perhaps in with a shout at catching John, but the run down the west side of the island got tougher and tougher as we fought into the headwind that almost stopped you in your tracks.
I hit 8 miles in 48:15, meaning I'd need to run 6:00 and sub 5:45 for the last 2 miles to get under the hour, which wasn't going to happen. Just before the 9-mile marker I finally got past the Corstorphine guy, but also realised that the purple-vested guy was barreling down on me. I tried to respond several times, but he got the better of me in the final 600 metres when I perhaps gave up too easily.
I'm guessing I must have finished 8th in 1:00:56, with only the first 5 runners getting under the hour. The race was won by Stuart Gibson in 53:08, with Mike Deason 2nd, and I'm guessing Conor McNulty 3rd.
|Photo by Kenny Phillips|
|Photo by Gillian Scott|
|Photo by Kenny Phillips|
Saturday, 10 September 2011
I hadn't run Strathclyde Parkrun in ages, so thought I'd squeeze it before driving down to Devil's Beeftub to watch the British Fell Championship final counter.
The weather was mild with heavy rain before the start, leaving the path covered in large puddles. There wasn't a great turnout, so after running 3:11 for the first kilometre I couldn't hear any footsteps behind. Before starting I'd planned to aim for sub 17 minutes, but with nobody to chase and nobody chasing I backed off a bit and finished in 17:28 which was a second slower than the same weekend last year. The finish funnel was just off the path on wet slippery grass. But as soon as I turned off onto the grass I slammed straight onto my back and hit my head on the ground as I slid across the finish line.
Hopefully I haven't trashed my legs too much before Millport 10-miler tomorrow.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Activity on Garmin Connect | Results
|Knockhill Racing Circuit|
I'm not sure why with a name like Knockhill I was thought the route would be flat, but my plan was to aim for 7 minutes per 1.3-mile lap. I set off reasonably fast, and clocked 3:03 for the first kilometre, albeit it was mainly downhill. I was then leading for the first mile, but could hear footsteps gaining and realised I was being closely tracked by 3 runners - Chris Russell of Fife, Roger Clark and Ewan Jack (the "world's fastest doctor") sporting a Central AC vest.
Chris Russell and Roger Clark went past before the end of the first lap, so I was left running with Ewan for the 2nd lap, and I suddenly felt very tired. I couldn't quite imagine how I was going to complete a 3rd lap at this speed, so I decided my only option was to be slightly tactical. At the end of the 2nd lap I backed off a fraction and allowed Ewan to open up a small gap, thinking I could get a rest and then chase him down at the end. However, once the gap had opened I realised I wasn't that bothered about catching him any more, and was more concerned about holding onto 4th spot.
I reckon I could probably have caught Ewan with slightly more effort, but finished 4 seconds adrift in the end. Anyhow, it was good little race, and far more challenging than I'd anticipated. And for the record, my splits were 6:48, 7:17, 7:17... so I probably hammered off a bit too fast on the 1st lap.
|Knockhill Racing Circuit|
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Route on Garmin Connect
|Ochil 2000s route|
On the out and back to Ben Ever I was caught by Craig Love. The next section to Blairdenon leads through horrific peat hags at first, which bunched things up a bit. From Blairdenon I elected this year to veer more to the left on the descent to stay on better ground, and I think this worked up to a point since I caught up again with Cameron Burt and Jasmin Paris, however I think I should have stayed ever further left since Andrea Priestley was running a bit higher and closing me down. I sort of ran with Cameron for a bit at the start of the descent to Jerad.
Just as we reached Jerad I had Andrea and Jasmin barreling down on me, so I made a stupid mistake when I saw Ellie with my replenishment drink and didn't take the time to stop and swap bottles. I quickly regretted this on the climb up Dumyat when I suddenly felt completely washed out. Funnily enough Cameron Burt did stop and swig my drink, and was now re-invigorated and closing me down fast.
I managed to keep ahead of Cameron at the summit of Dumyat, and started descending just waiting for him to pass. Ross McLennan was just ahead on the descent making it nice and easy having someone to follow. It wasn't until the bluebell woods that Cameron finally came past, just before the steep mud slide. I then followed Ross and Cameron down the steep tarmac hill before the sharp right turn up the track alongside the University boundary wall. I knew I needed to attack now so increased the pace and passed Ross and then jumped in front of Cameron just before the hole in the wall. I wasn't sure what Cameron's sprint finish was like, but with 500 metres to go I kicked and tried to make a decisive break. I thought I'd dropped Cameron but as I reached the end of the finishing funnel there was no sign of any dibber box, so I had a bit of a mad panic trying to find it with Cameron hurtling down on me. I looked around the finishing tent and eventually found the box on the table beside the laptop, and managed to dib just before Cameron arrived.
My time of 3 hours 13 minutes was the slowest of my 4 outings on the route, but I was pleased to reach the end for once without getting cramp.
Friday, 26 August 2011
Results | Route on Garmin Connect
I'd not done this race before, but I assumed it would be pretty similar to the Willie Jukes 5-miler that heads south out of Dunoon along the coast road. I took the new Argyll Ferries passenger service across from Gourock, and met Mick McLoone and Sean Gaffney on the boat, so I knew immediately I'd have some competition. The registration was at Queens Hall and the race began outside the Yachtsman Cafe. Just prior to kick off, I bumped into my old work colleague Andrew Swift who I thought lived down near Oxford or Bristol, but in fact turned out to live right here in Dunoon.
I could see from the starting line up that I would finish anywhere between 2nd and 6th, depending on whether I could live with the pace. On the whistle I lead out out the field for the first 100 metres, before Stephen Trainer drew alongside. I then matched him for another few hundred metres before suddenly deciding to drop in behind him for some shelter from a noticeable south westerly breeze. I managed to sit right behind Stephen up until about the first kilometre, but then started to drop back and was immediately caught by Mick McLoone who was running with Sean Gaffney. I tried to go with these guys, but was suddenly feeling quite jaded and didn't have the confidence to press the pace. This meant that I was also caught by Dave Henderson and Steven Campbell, and was getting closed down by an Inverclyde guy. At the turn, I managed to find just enough extra to pull away from the Inverclyde guy, and at this point I should really have been charging after the 4 guys in front, but I couldn't quite raise my game. In the final kilometre, I was toying with the idea of catching Sean Gaffney who had been dropped by the 4 Glenpark boys, but I couldn't dredge up that extra % to close the gap.
I wasn't really thinking about the time that much, so was pleasantly surprised to realise that I'd run 16:50 which is exactly the same time as my 5k PB set back in 2007.
|Cowal Games 5k route|
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Route on Garmin Connect | Results
My third year in a row at the Ayr 5M trail race. It had been pouring with rain all afternoon, but thankfully brightened up in the evening. I arrived quite early and jogged around the first part of the course to gauge how wet and slippery it would be, although seeing as I only had one pair of shoes with me it wasn't going to help much. I was wearing Adidas Adizero Adios racing flats, so was hoping I wouldn't need any grip.
Waiting for the race to start, it became apparent that none of the fast local runners had turned up, so I was fairly sure I'd end up leading the race. With that in mind, I set off around the track at the start as fast as possible and tried to drop the field as soon as possible. I was soon running on my own with the lead bike just in front. There was a short loop on soft wet freshly mown grass, before returning back to the river path. I tried to keep pressing until the end with a view to getting under 29 minutes. I turned back into Dam Park Stadium on 28:08, and thought I had enough time and put in a strong finish. My time was 29:06 which was 10 seconds slower than last year, and 2 seconds faster than 2 years ago, so all fairly consistent. Next to finish was Chris Clarke of Glasgow Uni Hares & Hounds, who was delighted with his 2nd place!
|Ayr 5-mile Trail|
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Advertised as a 5km, unfortunately this turned out to be only about 4.5km on the night, since a 500m loop was missed out in the 2nd kilometre.
I'd been feeling run down with a virus for a couple of weeks, so wasn't sure if this was a good idea, so just decided to have a steady run. I found myself in the lead for the first 150 metres before Robert Gilroy took over, followed by another 3 runners plus Paul Thompson. I tracked Paul, then made the mistake of overtaking him after 1 km. Greg Hastie then went past, and Paul soon caught me again. For the final 2 km I had Denis Williams of Shettleston and Steve Gray of Arbroath Footers both breathing down my neck, but I managed to hold them off to finish 7th, one place behind Paul.
|Correct 5km route|
|Comparison of 2009 route and truncated 2011 route|
Saturday, 6 August 2011
Results | Route
The Tour of Clydeside kicks off with an 8.7km out and back on the cyclepath at Kilbarchan. I set off with intent and lead for about the first kilometre before being caught and passed by David Gardiner followed shortly after by Gavin Harvie (both Kirkintilloch Olympians). I attempted to chase Gavin, but failed to make any ground. At the 4 and a bit kilometre turn I was caught by Paul Carroll (Clydesdale) and Chris Moses (Helensburgh). I decided to have a rest for about 10 minutes by jogging behind and Paul and Chris, but they were moving too slowly, so I had to pass them again and start chasing down Gavin. With about 800 metres to go I'd decided to really go for it, but Paul beat me to it, and he kicked first, however he'd kicked too soon and I simply used him to launch my final attack to catch Gavin. I charged him down as hard as I could but only got within 2 seconds him on the line.
2nd August 2011
Results | Route
The 2nd race is a 7.7km out and back on the canal towpath at Clydebank. Once again, I set off as fast as possible and lead at first, but in a repeat of last night David Gardiner came past, soon followed by Gavin, with Chris Moses breathing down my neck. I couldn't muster quite such a strong finish as last night, but again I finished 3rd, this time 11 seconds adrift of Gavin.
|Clydebank Canal Canter|
Photo: Ian Goudie
4th August 2011
Results | Route
The Garscube Gallop is a bit different with a challenging hilly route in Dawsholm Park. There were a few extra runners who turned out for this one, with Adam Taylor, Andy McCall, Paul Thompson and Owen O'Neill making their presence felt at the front. I tried not to start too fast this time, but on the first small lap got a bit too excited and overtook David Gardiner and Gavin, before flagging a bit on the 2 longer laps. I managed to jump Chris Moses just before the line to preserve my 3rd place finish of those doing the series, and finished 6th on the night.
Photo: Ian Goudie
5th August 2011
Results | Route
The final race is the only one in the Series of a standard distance. I was hoping for sub 36 minutes, but wasn't quite sure how tired I'd feel. Once again Gavin went out hard at the start, and I just tried to cover his moves. I was pretty much right behind him at the end of the first lap, but then flagged a bit just over halfway to allow a slight gap to open. I was then chasing harder and harder towards, still reasonably confident I'd catch him if I kept working. I also had Chris Moses right on my heels for the final 2 or 3 km, so had to keep on pressing forwards. In the end I didn't quite catch Gavin, but held off Chris by a couple of seconds to finish in about 35:48 which was a pleasant surprise, since I didn't feel like I was running that fast. The overall race was won by Stuart Gibson of Ronhill Cambuslang in 31 minutes something.
Friday, 29 July 2011
The route is around 800km with 42,000 metres of ascent.
Details over at this blog:
Here are my day by day photo galleries:
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Last night I set myself the challenge to Walk, Jog or Run a 5k at Glasgow Green.
My main targets prior to arrival were to win the race, and to finish in under 17 minutes. However, I soon spotted Chris Black, Russell Whittington, Euan Geddes and Greig Glendding warming up, so figured 4th of 5th might be a more likely finish.
Photo courtesy of Great Scott Photography
The race started with a mad sprint to a very sharp, almost 180°, left hand turn. I assumed I'd be first to this turn, but Chris Black set off even faster. I tracked Chris for about 400 metres to the next sharp left turn, before Russ and Euan both went by. I tucked in behind Russell and Euan, thinking I might be able to stay with them.
This plan of sitting in 4th place worked up until 2km when Greig Glendining suddenly caught me and powered straight past. I failed to match his pace and was quickly passed by Gary Hester as well.
The 180° turn at 2.7km marked the faraway point of the course before the run back to the finish. I struggled to get going again after the turn I was feeling a bit weary, so got caught by Bruce Carmichael and Derek Govan. I really felt like I was going backwards by this staqe, but I decided to speed up when we got to the 3km mark. Unfortunately I felt flat and empty, and couldn't respond, so resigned myself to 8th position.
However, once inside the last kilometre I finally got round to looking at my watch and realised that sub 17 minutes was going out the window unless I started some sort of insane sprint. My intention wasn't to catch anyone in particular, but as soon as I changed my pace I was suddenly closing on Bruce and Derek who I caught inside the last 100 metres, and almost closed down Greig on the line.
So in the end I finished 6th in 17:09, which was my fastest 5km since 2007.
Friday, 17 June 2011
A nice calm mild night at Kirkintilloch for the canalbank 10k.
I suspected I could run a bit quicker than my 37:57 from last year, and only noticed 2 runners definitely faster than me before the start. I had a vague plan to aim for sub 35 minutes, if I could somehow raise my game from the Polaroids.
I started as fast as possible and lead for 150 metres before Paul Sorrie went by. It took another couple of hundred metres before Robert Gilroy caught me, and I followed him down onto the canal towpath. 600 metres into the race and I figured I was now in for a long haul to hang on for 3rd spot. I could hear puffing and panting behind but wasn't sure who would be the first to challenge. I had one challenge from a guy in green vest, but he quickly faded, so I pressed on tying to imagine I was catching Robert Gilroy, rather than worrying about what was going on behind.
At about 7km I finally had my first serious challenge when Donald Cameron of Clydesdale reeled me in. Donald had recently beaten me at the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Polaroids, so I was now resigned to finish 4th. However when Donald went by he didn't press on, so I just tracked him until the 9km marker and then drifted past again and opened up a 12 second gap.
So in the end I did finish 3rd in 35:19, which is my best placing in a 10k race for while.
Images courtesy of Great Scott Photography