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Having just jogged the Ben Nevis Race last weekend in a personal worst of 1:56:09, and 3 weeks ago running my slowest ever time on the Glasgow Parkrun course with 18:02, I decided today to make a bit more of an effort.
The weather at Pollok Park was pretty much perfect for running. Dry, mild and no wind. Scanning the startline I saw that my main challenge would come from the ever-improving Stuart MacDougall. I knew that he'd finished first 3 weeks ago, but I still thought he might be beatable if I played my cards right.
Head to heads with Stuart
My main plan was not to overcook it at the start and then hopefully still have some strength left for the second lap. So we launched off at the start with Stuart taking an immediate lead. I started fast, but tried to hold back a fraction. After the first kilometre I still had Ross Mackenzie more or less alongside, so I surged a few times to open a gap.
Once over the hill at the end of the first lap, I tried to concentrate on catching Stuart, who appeared to be coming back a fraction, but I didn't quite have the resolve to fully commit to closing the gap. I tried to keep up the pressure, just in case Stuart slowed on the final hill, but as we caught our way through the crowds of tail-enders I lost sight of him, so for a few moments there was nobody to chase. It is quite stressful trying to get past the slower runners when they show no signs of keeping to the left, so I tend to find this section takes all my concentration just to avoid barreling into the back of people.
Once we were at the right turn down to the finish, Stuart was too far ahead to catch, but I thought I might as well keep the effort going to the line, especially seeing as Benjamin and his Grandmother Jennifer were waiting for us. I hadn't bothered looking at my watch once during the run, so was pretty surprised to find out I'd run a course PB of 17:11, finishing 6 seconds behind Stuart who had also recorded a PB.