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.

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