History Part 3: The Road to Bellahouston

So it took me a month to get out again. It’s the end of April. And there are just over 8 weeks to go and I have done nothing. I thought everyone would forget all about it, but no, there is Producer Jim hassling me to go out, as he says he’s in bad condition too. Jim is actually doing a lot of cycling at the time so he’s a lot fitter than me. Elaine has made me throw out the Silver Shadows as she is embarrassed by them and she’s bought me some New Balance. I go to Decathlon and buy some lycra shorts (I know, I don’t know why either). And a jacket. I was going for it 😉 I decide to raise money for Macmillan to make sure I will go through with it, as I know I could easily disappear for a few months. This way if I didn’t do it I would have my Dad and Sister looking down on me and tutting in that way they did.

Jim and I went down to Ravenscraig sports centre. Well actually we parked round the corner from it. There was a dual carriageway with pavements either side, and crossings at each end. The first night I jogged a straight and walked a straight, and so on. We did it for hours. Or so it felt. 3.2k in 25 minutes. 4 loops. I was in bloody awful shape. The first 250 metres again had almost killed me. But the next day we did it again, except this time 8 loops, 6k in 53 minutes. I was struggling. Jim made me do it. He was good at that. Within a week we had managed to run 5k without stopping. 41 Minutes and 31 seconds, but it felt good. It was an achievement to do that without stopping, without walking. I felt smug. Still had a fag though. I’d earned it.

We kept doing it the best we could, until 3 weeks later Jim decided to show me a route he had made. When we finished I saw that it was exactly 10k. My time was 1 hour and 25 minutes, but I had ran it all. Producer Jim had played with my head yet again and won. There was still 4 weeks until the race and I had already done the distance. Belief was there, and strangely I started to enjoy it. Then the crazy people started talking again. “Wouldn’t it be good to go under an hour?”

One of the other fellas, a fella with a sometime beard called Kev (the person that is) and who is not a fan of Biffy Clyro had told me about something called parkrun. I’m an accountant and it was free, so game on. It was 5k. I could do that I thought. Maybe I actually could. I could try and get 30 minutes which would set me up for the hour over 10k. I was terrified about running with people though. People who would be snidey and laugh. But I registered, and on Saturday 4th June 2011 I lined up with people of all shapes and sizes shaking like a leaf to do the Strathclyde parkrun.


I went out and ran it and felt not too bad. Then with 1k to go the wind hit me in my face. The loch can be cruel at times, this was one of those times. The finishing straight was long and seemingly unending. I slowed down to walking pace ready to drop out. I couldn’t do this.

“Go on big fella, you’ve come this far, nearly there.”

One line that changed it all. I don’t know who said it as people were streaming past me, but I started running again and made the finish. 26 minutes and 50 seconds. Had shattered any time I’d dreamt of doing. I was knackered. On my knees. Gasping for a fag but they were in the car. I was elated. What a buzz!!!! I hadn’t felt anything like that in years. I sat that afternoon in a restaurant for my Mum’s 70th birthday waiting for my text to confirm my time. When it came I was in the top half of the field. This was the run that made it all different. I was definitely going to complete the 10k, and I had a right good chance of beating that hour. I did another 5 runs over the next 2 weeks, including a 10k with Jim in 1 hour 17 and race day approached. In 8 weeks I had gone from someone who couldn’t run 250m without near collapse to someone who was going to run and complete a 10k race, and who was excited, determined and in with a good shout of breaking the 1 hour barrier. Lycra shorts on. Green Macmillan vest with Marko on the front on. Trainers on. My 2 boys and Elaine in the car with me as I made my way. The road to Bellahouston.

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