Scottish 4k Cross Country Championships

DSC_1697I’d intended to take part in Scottish 4k Cross Country championships today, but an extra long run yesterday (22km, the longest I’ve run since the 2007 Glasgow Half Marathon), and not feeling 100% last night and this morning meant that I just fancied going along and lending some moral support to my running club, rather than run. I was also going to get the chance to snap a few photos with my camera, which I’ve not done in a while.

Bellahouston Park had resembled more of a lake than a park yesterday evening, and that had played on my mind. But today it seemed the drainage – presuming there is any of course – had worked, and things were a little less sodden. Still *very* muddy with large pools of water, but a lot better than I’d expected. I’ve only managed one cross country before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. You don’t get many opportunities to get muddy as an adult, so missing this one was a shame, especially as it’s right on my doorstep. Due to a mix up in entries (and unsympathetic organisers) our club didn’t have enough race numbers to go around, so I (will) actually appear in the official results, but it’s the club treasurer Russell who used my (lovely low) number ‘3’, and deserves the credit for the no doubt decent time he’ll set. Quite pleased that my decision meant he got to enjoy a run he might otherwise have missed out on.

The club had a decent turnout for both the men and womens races. Both events required two laps of the 2k circuit – It’s always puzzled me that women’s cross country events seem to frequently get shorter distances to run. Sadly no top ten results for the club, but to an extent that was understandable – there was a very strong field of entrants: it was a national event after all!

I made good use of my camera, and grabbed a few good shots of the start. Plenty more at my flickr page. Good fun, and very well done all around, especially to Louise who was taking part in her first XC. You can see before and after shots of her new spikes 🙂

Help start a Glasgow Time Trial!

Update – 06/Nov/08

Big news! parkrun is at last coming to Glasgow!

See for more information, register and sign up. Please see the Volunteering pages to pop your name down on the volunteer register. Just once every now and then will help ensure this event continues!


Update – 02/Oct/08

There’s a mention of our efforts to start this up in the latest issue of Scottish Running Guide. 

We’ve now advanced matters with Glasgow council, and are currently arranging a meeting with Park managers to discuss arrangements, health and safety issues and so forth. Note it’s more likely it’ll be in Pollok Park, rather than Glasgow Green as previously suggested – the Green is so heavily used, it’d significantly interfere with the sort of weekly event. But there are some great course options open to us, even if they’re not quite as flat!

The conversations so far have been extremely constructive and enthusiastic. I’m now a lot more confident that Glasgow council staff are supportive of the initiative, and it really is now a matter of when not if.

You can help by adding yourself to the google group, or posting a reply below, and we’ll keep you posted when there’s more news.  

Update – 12/Sept/08

Progress continues. We’re progressing matters with Glasgow council, but it’s taking more time than we’d anticipated. The good news is Glasgow’s Sweatshop store are providing support, and we continue to get positive noises from everybody we speak to. We’re hoping it’s just formalities now, and are eyeing the end of October to start things up.

You can follow the threads at, or at at the Google Group (which you’re encouraged to join to stay informed), or post a comment below, or complete the contact form.

Update – 23/June/08

Things continue to progress, right now I’m really hoping to get a few other keen runners together to help get things started. If you’re interested, drop me a note, post a comment here, or Join the new Google Group (link). There’s also a topic on fetcheveryone (link). Or call. 07788 674494.

Original post 01/Jan/08

I’m currently trying to build support for Glasgow to get it’s own regular, fun, free, sociable 5k time trial in the UKTT model that’s been such a success down south. If you’re a runner, you may already be familiar with the Bushy Park Time Trial, Richmond Park Time Trial and the follow-on events that have been growing over the last year or two. You can find out more about each them at the UKTT website.

The time trials are a series of small, friendly, weekly running events. Athletes of all abilities are encouraged – from beginners through to Olympians, and from juniors through to pensioners. You can never be too slow, but you can also never be too quick! It uses the same course every week, and encourages a friendly level of competition. In short it offers the athletes the opportunity to track progress over weeks, months, seasons and years.

It is also free, a huge amount of fun, and run by volunteers using a very simple system. I’ve run in a couple of the events myself when I’ve been down in London (See my BPTT and RPTT posts for more). From a total of 12 runners on the first event, the original Busy Park Time Trial is now regularly featuring several hundred participants. There are also new time trials in London, Leeds, and Brighton.

Runner’s World magazine also recently featured a special article on the phenomena here, and they’re spreading. Perhaps even to Glasgow, with your help.

What’s also special about the events is the atmosphere: Largely because it is run by volunteers (often runners who’re racing later in the day, or are taking it easy, or perhaps have an injury, and want to stay involved), and uses a simple system which keeps stress and organisation overheads to a minimum. Plus that it builds a community of like-minded people, across clubs, running groups, and people involved in sports. It appeals to runners, and encourages people into exercise. As well as the running, there’s always coffee and cake at a nearby cafe afterwards!

So what about Glasgow then?

I approached the UK Time Trial people last year to find out if there had been any enquires or developments about one starting up in Glasgow. I had thought it was rather inevitable, but, well, turns out I was the first to ask. So I’ve started to work on it. I’ve now approached Glasgow Culture and Sports via my very helpful local councillor. Surprisingly, certainly for a cynic like me, the Culture and Sports people have come back to me with some very positive noises, and have got in touch with UKTT themselves: In short, they’re taking it seriously.

So it’s still under discussion there. It’s no done deal. So I’m now hoping the running community in Glasgow could lend a hand and help make it a reality.

All I’d like to do is ask you if you let me know if they think the idea is a good one, and whether you’d be interested in supporting it in some way, from taking part, coming along to cheer people, or even to help volunteer in the first few weeks.

Certainly the more people – runners and non-runners alike – from the Glasgow region that express an interest, the more likely it is to happen.

Pop your details in a comment below, or drop an e-mail to me: richard@LEYTON.ORG – I’ll keep you posted on developments.

Also please feel free to mention it at any running club or group you may belong to. I’ll hopefully be getting in touch with many of them myself quite soon, but it’d be better coming from club members. Feel free to print this post out, or mention it. It can be easily found: Just tell people to type “Glasgow Time Trial” into Google!


I’ve setup a Google Group for anybody interested in staying informed:

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Glasgow Time Trial
Visit this group

Starting a Glasgow Time Trial

The UK Time Trial phenomena has been gathering strength for the last few years. It boasts a number of free-to-enter 5k time trials around the country, but with one exception they are largely focused in London and the South.

I had such fun at the two events I’ve taken part in when in London, that I got to wondering if there was any chance of a Glasgow event starting up. I made contact with the UKTT guys, and as I was the first to ask, I decided to find out if the idea had legs. So with UKTT’s words of advice, and the assistance of one of my local councillors, I approached the Glasgow’s Culture and Sport department.

The good news is that Glasgow council seem very keen to support the idea. Perhaps the Commonwealth Games in 2014 helped, or maybe the idea of a regular volunteer driven event that has proven such a hit elsewhere in the country in their city, or that it fits so well with their health and fitness objectives.

Either way, a *free*, *fun* and weekly 5k Time Trial is sounding like a very real definite possibility for the city of Glasgow.

Which is where you come in. We need volunteers to come forward to help with the organisation in the first month or two, to get it on it’s feet. If you’re a runner and would like to see a regular, free to participate, 5k time trial come to Glasgow, get in touch. Initially, we’ll need 5-10 volunteers, but the more the merrier.

If you’re injured or taking it easy, this is a great way to stay in touch with, and make new, running friends. If you’re a fun runner, it’s a great way of measuring your progress. If you’re an elite runner, it’s a great way to start off a longer training session.

Just as important as the running and the taking part, the UK Time Trials always retire to a local cafe for coffee, cakes and chat. Building a fun, enjoyable and supportive running community is a key part of the UKTT movement. Just because we’ve done the run, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun too 🙂

Where will the event take place? That’s not decided yet. I suspect it’ll either be Pollok Park or Glasgow Green. Pollok Park would be ideal as everything we need is there, but it’s a little “undulating”, and does have some mixed purpose roads/paths. Glasgow Green is much more central, and flatter, but may not be quite as convenient.

2008’s Nigel Barge 10k

Start as you mean to go on, they say. My running goals 2008 running are, hopefully, a sub 45:00 10k time, and getting under 22:00 on 5k. Perhaps even sub 01:40:00 on the half marathon too.

So on the first 10k of the new year I was somewhat surprised (and very delighted) to find I’d taken *almost* four minutes off my previous personal best 10k race time, and am already just a minute away from my 2008 10k goal. Perhaps I need to rethink my targets!

Today’s race was the 2008 Nigel Barge memorial 10k race. I’d certainly not been feeling too confident earlier in the day. For a start the weather was decidedly dreadful. Driving rain and cold, it was almost as bad as people who have never visited Glasgow seem to think the weather is like all the time here. I was worried it was even sleeting at one point. It wasn’t, but it was very close to doing so.

As usual, my pre-race routine is a bit faffy. I always end up forgetting things, and this time I forgot both my wallet (for the excellent post-race raffle) and my gloves and hat. However, I almost always regret wearing hats and gloves, given I soon heat up when running, and they’re a hindrance. I headed off with time to spare to pick up my race number, and bumped in to a few Bella’s at the Bellcraig Community Centre. Frustratingly I think for almost everybody, it’s a good mile or so away from the start of the race itself. Not quite sure why the sports facilities at the Garscube estate aren’t used, but presumably it’s much more complicated than I realise. Rather than jog up to the start, given the atrocious weather, it was a short drive for me and fellow Bella runner Sarah, who was more than happy to grab a lift.

No matter, the very minor inconvenience meant all my bits were at close hand, and I could stow everything, as well as quickly change into dry clothes afterwards. We were certain to get wet, and it’s surprising how soon you feel the cold after you stop running.

The race is two loops around the Garscube estate, with a short loop of the buildings at both the start and finish. The route is described as ‘undulating’, so my goal of approximately a 47 minute time (against my previous PB of just shy of 50 minutes at the 2007 Barrhead 10k) was starting to sound a bit optimistic. Over 4000 fetch betting points were on me too… However, Barrhead was certainly hilly and wet, so still some hope. After a good warm up, a quick nip to the facilities in the sports centre were necessary (Oh, the joy that is drinking plenty of fluid before a race). Unfortunately, these were described as inaccessible on the organisers website, but an un-bothered receptionist was happy to let me through the security barrier to my great relief. There were probably seven or eight Bella runners. Not as many as I’d expected, but given the weather, proximity to the festive season, and the number of races that folk had taken part in mid-week, perhaps understandable.

The race was off with a bang, and a good start by all. Everybody I was near seemed similarly paced, unlike at Clevedon. I imagine that the race was a more serious affair helped. There was an award for the ‘king and queen of the hill’, the first male and female runner to the top of the first incline. I was very safely out of contention for that prize! The only other serious hill was the second encounter with the river Kelvin, which was nasty first time around, but much better second time. The joy that is a multi-lap race: They might not be to everybody’s liking, but it helps substantially in getting up hills if you know they’re coming!

I’d worried I’d set off too quickly, as usual, but my pace seemed manageable, so I just kept going as best I could. A few tough sections towards the tops of the hills, but overall it’s a great course. I was caught out a little at the end as there was an unexpected extra loop of the buildings. It seemed like it was going on for ever.

So I’m delighted to report I’ve absolutely demolished my previous PB (which was 49:52). I completed this race by my watch in 46:08 in an official time of 46:09, an improvement of 03:43 – almost four minutes! I’d been aiming for 47:00, so this was a complete delight. I think it’s fair to say I smiled quite a lot at the end! My average pace was 04:41, safely ahead of my target of 04:45. I’ve now got my sights set on next weekends Jack Crawford Memorial 10k, which is significantly flatter. It’ll be the first flat 10k since getting serious about running, and I’m really hoping I’ll be able to further improve on my times. Weather permitting of course!

Returned to the Bellcraig Centre for tea and cake, which was delightful. A great raffle too, and lots of well deserved prizes for some superb performances in less than idea conditions. The Maryhill Harriers did an excellent job in making everybody feel welcome. Definitely one of the most enjoyable and well-organised road races I’ve yet taken part in.

Update Results from the race are available via Maryhill Harriers download page.