Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Arctic Adventure Running (aka getting to work in Glasgow)

More than a foot of snow fell over the central belt of Scotland in the space of just a few hours on Monday morning leaving the road networks and public transport in chaos. Being an early starter I was already in work when the snow started to fall so I missed most of the excitement. I was cursing myself though for not having any running kit in work, as by foot seemed to be the only viable option for my 8 mile journey home.

However, I was fortunate to get a lift most of the way home with a colleague who somehow managed to avoid most of the gridlocked roads and navigate his way around abandoned cars.

On Tuesday, with little prospect of any trains or buses and my car buried deep under snow at Milngavie station. I decided that running into work might be my best option. Many drivers had spent the night in their cars on gridlocked motorways and so driving was not an option even if I could manage to get my car out. I have covered the 8 miles to work many times and even taking it easy can be there within about 55 minutes but running it deep snow with temperatures said to have plummeted to -15c overnight meant that this could be a bit of an adventure!

Having packed my work clothes and some spare winter gear into my rucksack, I set off wearing about 5 layers, two hats and two pairs of gloves. My Asics Trabucco trail shoes grip well in the snow so I wore those, it was hard going and extremely cold as I passed one or two people trying to dig their cars out of the snow. After a mile and a half I noticed a train at the station so I jumped on and remarkably it left just about 5 minutes late. I was looking forward to arriving at work having run all the way but I was a little relieved to be sat on the warm train. It soon became packed out with commuters trying to battle their way into work and there was a great deal of optimism until it came to a sudden halt 4 stops out of the City Centre. It was clear it was going to be a long wait and so I jumped out and started to run. In the city the pavements were treacherously icy but I slithered my way along the Clyde side and up into an almost deserted City Centre. I got some odd looks as I ran along Bothwell St passing a few commuters cautiously edging their way along the icy footpaths but I had made it, with the help of the train in about 85 minutes!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Severe weather continues

The bad weather has continued to prevent me training this week. I had planned an easy run this morning but a slight thaw yesterday followed by freezing temperatures overnight and another light dusting of snow on top of the ice made even a trip to Tesco a hazardous experience.

Last winter, the snow lay of the ground here from mid December right through to the middle of February but I still managed to train hard for the London Marathon. This was because the snow stayed as snow and was reasonably easy to run in for most of the time. At the moment, I am taking the opportunity for a rest before I start marathon training again. Later this week I hope to get out for some lunchtime training sessions as the paths are a bit better in the city centre - some training should be possible.

Above - some photos from my marathon training route last winter. Let's hope the snow starts to clear soon.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dunbartonshire Cross Country Championships - Update

Snow has prevented me from running this week and technical problems have prevented me from updating this blog but here is the update from last Saturday's cross country when the snow was only 3 inched deep!

Victoria Park City of Glasgow took the men's title, unfortunately it wasn't down to my below par performance. Derek Gibb (2nd), Alan Ramsay (5th) Derek Watson (12th) and David McCormack (18th) made up the victorious A team. I finished in 36th position and third counter in the B team who finished 9th out of 12 teams entered. The race was won by Garscube's Ben Melby in 28.11.

Both the West and East District Championships scheduled for this Saturday have been cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions.

Good luck to Gerry Craig who has left the artic weather behind to compete in the Singapore Marathon this weekend. The race starts at 5 am to miss the worst of the heat! This will be Gerry's third marathon of the year and he has also competed in the Scottish 50k Championships finishing third overall.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Dunbartonshire Cross Country Championships

It was unfortunate that the day the first snow of the winter fell was the day I had chosen for my first cross country of the year. The Dunbartonshire championships were once again held at Maryhill Park but it was my first run around this fairly uninspiring venue. Having taken it easy since the Kielder Marathon this was always going to be hard work for me and the snow lying on the ground added to the challenge. However, I felt it was a good hard workout and I am not sure the snow made that much difference to times. Results will follow.

Next Saturday is the West of Scotland Champs at Irvine.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Try out this route

‎OK this might be a bit far to run but try this out

Go to Google Maps. Enter Japan as start point and enter China as your destination. Then check out point 43!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Return of a classic

I was very pleased to hear that the Llandudno 10 mile road race is to return in 2011. This used to be a big fixture in the Southport Waterloo calendar and one of my favourite races. It was a flat, fast course that attracted a top class field from all over the UK. The race was first held in 1983 and it's list of past winners reads like a who's who of British distance running. The first ever winner was the British international steeplechaser, Roger Hackney in 48.09. By 1985 it had become the biggest 10 mile race in the UK. 1986 saw a top class field including, Charlie Spedding, John Gladwyn and Max Coleby but it was Liverpool Pembroke's Martin McLoughlin who won it in 49.45. In 1989, Welshman Steve 'the race' Brace was a popular winner. Bashir Hussein, Nigel Adams, Tipton's Nick Jones and Paul Cadwallader all won this race over the years and at its peak it attracted over 5000 runners.
It was without a doubt one of my favourite races and was held in the middle of November each year. In the eighties, Southport Waterloo used to send a coach load of runners to compete this classic race. After moving to Glasgow in 2001, it was too far for me to travel but I was still sad to see the last one run in 2005. Difficulty in getting enough volunteers to ensure the safe running of this event was cited as the reason for it's demise.
I will need to dig out my old results to see what my best time was for this race but I certainly used to run 56 and 57 minutes there. Who could forget coming down onto the promenade and seeing the long sweep of the promenade and the finish line still a half mile of lung busting running away.
The race will be held on 22 May next year and so it may well have a different feel to the freezing temperatures and biting winds that often greeted the runners in November but I for one am pleased to see it return. I might even make the long trip from Scotland to take part. Maybe it should be in the SWAC Grand Prix next year - over to you Rick.