2019, it’s good to be back…

Has it really been over a year since my last blog?

Yeah, back in October 2018 I recaptured some fantastic highlights of what that year was all about. Was this year so different? I would definitely say so.

Loads has happened in my running life and although I’ve not been as active with a structured training schedule this year (in comparison to 2017 and Davy’s Run), I’ve still managed a few 10k races – well 14 to be exact. These along with The Antonine Half Marathon (ATR), 2 5k races and the gruelling Kaim Hill Race has ensured that 2019 was a very successful running year.

Due to the difficulties I experience with managing osteoarthritis, ATR was always going to be a tough ask and my sudden withdrawal from Run The Blades Half, with a viral infection, meant that lack of training was evident at the Invictus Games Trials.

Having said that, I bounced back and with the occasional ParkRun to keep me ticking over, I was eager to get back into smashing my self set 10k challenge! My goal was 14 10k races, but as every runner knows, that can easily change.

Last Christmas was fun and while I managed to have a great time with family and friends, I though about a half marathon distance early in the year but just knew that would be too much. So it was a visit down to the borders for this outstanding event…

Glentress is always a challenging event, regardless of your chosen distance, as the trails and undulating course make it tough. Once again it was a phenomenal turnout by local runners and also the Ayrshire contingent, especially the brave few from Ron’s Runners.

My training was very park run orientated with my 100th being completed at Eglinton Park, with the help of a few friends from the club to see us all finish a very muddy run.

Prior to my next 10k, a midweek challenge was to see me race up a little hill and back down. The Kaim Hill Race is a brilliant training run for any runner, not just the fast-paced trail runners, who were all on form that evening. I was well chuffed with a time of 37:12, covering 3.2 miles and an ascent of 1,121 ft.

With heavy legs, my next race was at Troon and another evening run saw me run this 10k in 42:17 with an average pace of 6:49/mi. Not too bad at all I do recall.

Ayr Seaforth Athletics Club were the host of my next event, in Rabbie Burns county. The Land O Burns 10k ran from the shores of the Ayrshire coast to Alloway and past the home of our national bard. I clocked a deserved 44 minutes, with EMF just 3 days away.

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is an annual event which hosts a vast array of distances for all abilities. The route runs around the city and the icon Edinburgh Castle. Another great race and pace too.

Two brilliant 10k events I have attended since Davy’s Run are Roon The Toon in Kilmarnock and Killearn 10k. First up was Killearn and once again a great turn out from all at the club where everyone had a brilliant run. I managed a time of 47:10 at Killearn and 42:41 just one week later at Kilmarnock – an outstanding pace!

A few 5k races were up next at Stewarton and Kilmaurs, proving that all the Park Run’s have been beneficial to training, including a visit to Endcliffe Park, Sheffield while at Invictus Games. Oh as well as great cakes and coffee afterwards.

Unfortunately IG 2020 wasn’t meant to be but a great experience racing at the trials event. My summer was to rake a turn for the worse with a terrible chest infection that claimed the Run The Blades Half Marathon and a few events the following months. I did however manage to get over and show my support at this unique event at Whiteless Windfarm.

Once I had recovered fully, my 10k quest continued with a local race at Dundonald. A brilliant turnout once more and well supported by local clubs too. This hilly route (via the climb around the castle) took just over 48 minutes.

Next up was the double header of Irvine and NAAC (45:30 and 48:46 respectively). Two fast courses that every year come with added value of trying to beat last years time! Irvine was by far my quickest race this time. With North Ayrshire Athletics Club’s somewhat 3 minutes slower. Lack of midweek training and recovering from a cold kind of took its toll to be fair.

The weekend of the Go Ayr Festival was one that I thought would inspire me to get back into running again. I managed Park Run at Dean Castle Country Park, a new event held close to my home. This was great because at 9 am there I was running around the park and at 4 pm I was running around the streets of Ayr, smashing the 10k! I clocked a well deserved 44:49 time and was great to see so many local runners once more.

As the year was coming to a close and my events were gathering pace, my next double header was The Scottish Half Marathon 10k in Musselburgh, followed by the Glasgow 10k. I always try to race one or both of these events due to the significance of Davy’s Run.

Both were relatively fast races for me, once again within a week apart i managed 43 mins at Musselburgh and 42 mins at Glasgow, both averaging a pace of 6:45/mi.

Training miles increased as the furthest I had completed to date this year was 10 miles. I had to because up next was the unforgiving Antonine Trail Race Half Marathon. I really enjoyed running it again this year and with a time of 2 hrs 6 mins, I was slightly slower than last year but I guess that was due to the pain I endured from mile 11 onwards. This is a stern reminder of my ongoing knee osteoarthritis.

Having recovered just in time to hit the road once more, it was my penultimate race of the year, the Men’s 10k in Edinburgh. Once again I had completed this event the year previous and the support for so many different charities is truly remarkable. I was now ready to conclude another rollercoaster year.

My final race was unexpected and the lure of running around Bellahouston Park was just too tempting. The Jimmy Irvine 10k, ran by Bellahouston Harriers, is a great race with a few undulating laps around the park.

Thanks for reading my wee recap of 2019 and here’s hoping 2020 is full of fun, cheer and many miles of safe running. Oh and a relevant tune to finish with… 👍🏃‍♂️💨

🎼🎤Hello, It’s good to be back! 🎤🎼

Have a great day!