I went along to take part in the inaugural Barrhead 10k on Sunday morning. After my recent good times on the 5k distance, and the half marathon a couple of weeks before, I had started to have vague aspirations of breaking through 50 minutes. However, the weather forecast and reputedly hilly course, as well as my legs feeling somewhat stiff and tired, I’d pretty much given up any hope, but was still hoping to slightly improve my previous PB (00:53:56) set back in June at MHFS 10k.
A field of, I’d guess, about 200 runners lined up in the rain. I was a bit puzzled by the 30 minute gap in the schedule between the number collection/registration, and when the race actually started, but I’d used the time to do a good warmup (in so much as you can warm up when you’re soaked!), so when the starting gun went I was quickly able to move past the slower runners who’d unfortunately placed themselves too far forward, and found a group of similarly paced runners.
The first 5k of this course were very tough. Practically all uphill, and some surprisingly steep inclines in places. On public roads as well. I certainly had to stop and walk for a few seconds more than once, which confirmed in my mind I’d been mad to think I might break through 50 minutes! Glancing at my Garmin as the km markers passed, my pace was down at one point 05:56 (rather than the sub 05 I was aiming for). Gloom began to set in of not even edging my PB forward at all!
However, after the 5km mark, things started to improve (but sadly not the weather), and the course turned downhill and back towards the town. No time to look at views, just focusing on getting through this with dignity intact. My pace started to pick up. I’m usually very cautious downhill, but started to get some sub-04:30 times. My speed levelled off a bit in town, but safely sub 05:00, as roads needed to be navigated, and marshals weren’t always particularly obvious. However, I was starting to feel quite ragged by this point: The initial half of the race had really taken it out of me.
Approaching the finish line, I knew a PB was back on the cards, but I’d given up all hope of beating 50 minutes. I was tired enough that I actually had to walk a little within sight of the line 🙁 – So much for consistent pacing! Crossing the line my watch showed I’d missed out on my 50min target time by 10 seconds. If only I hadn’t stopped, I cussed to myself! However, all was not lost. Official times have finally come through, and my time was 00:49:52! – I’d not stopped my watch too promptly, and guess I hadn’t started it very promptly either! Either way, an official time that is safely a new PB (by 4 minutes!), and by the skin of my teeth I’d broken into sub-50 time! And on a hilly course, in the rain. Now I just need to find a (dry!) 10k on the flat to see what I can achieve!
Gratefully made use of the bowling clubs facilities to get changed into dry clothes, and watched the awards ceremony and munch on some sandwiches. Vaguely recognised the chap handing out the awards, but only later did I discover it was none other than Alex McLeish, the Scotland Football Manager, fresh back from the country’s second victory over France. Apparently a local lad, so quite a coup for the organisers to have got him along. Some way off the prizes, but I’m hugely pleased to have broken my PB by such a margin, on what I’d say is the hardest race I’ve run so far.
All in all the event was great fun, and I’m sure the event will grow in the coming years. It’s certainly a tough challenge! Huge thanks (and hugs) to Frances for coming along to lend welcome moral support before, and afterwards.