The Scottish 5k – Three, is a magic number

I decided to try something different this week, a blogperiment so to speak. This is my review of my run at the Scottish 5k championships at Silverknowles in Edinburgh. I am going to write a third of it the day before, a third just prior to the race and the final third of it after the race. I’m not going to edit it and it may seem disjointed but I am aware that my posts can be quite different depending on my state of mind at that particular time. Before I go any further I have to say that I’m honest in what I put down here, and I won’t always put down the « How magic am I? » type of post, because I know I’m not. I am also aware that what I see as a disappointing run to me can be seen as a good one to others and vice versa. I try to be honest about me at that period in time. Also I don’t try to patronise others even if I come across that way. Whilst I am not particularly good I still want to do my best and I have my level that I expect from myself. I wear my heart on my sleeve on here and on Facebook and there are people out there who do not like that approach. I get that. We are all different but it doesn’t make any of us right or wrong. I can still respect your achievements though our approaches may differ.

Part One – The Day before Tomorrow

To the race. Tomorrow’s race, the Run and Become Self-Transcendence 5km road race Incorporating the Scottish 5km Road Race Championships at Silverknowles in Edinburgh, is a sell out with a full complement of 400 racers. I originally entered this race a few months ago hoping to be in a good enough shape to beat my PB as it’s a real quality field throughout, Callum Hawkins, Jonny Glen, Craig Ruddy, Stevie Wylie, Kerry-Liam Wilson, even Jim Proffitt ! The thing is I beat my PB already a few weeks ago, and I am not sure I am in good enough shape to bring that down any further. So what do I do ? I’m sitting here heavy legged still from Balfron. I am going to try a wee jog tonight if I get a chance. I intend to run tomorrow but I am not sure what I am capable of, but what a field to be a part of ! It’s quite exciting to be running with this sort of calibre field after such a long time so I do not want to miss it. Realistically I could run a PB and be in the bottom 50. So do I go with the flow and see what happens ? Do I go flat out, working out my splits, watching the watch and aim for a sub 19 that I know I am not capable of, but which could bring me under my 19.26 PB when I wobble? This is where I am just now, my mind racing faster than I ever could. It could easily be windy and snowing and it all counts for nothing. Time to chill out. There are times I wish I hadn’t started doing this blog you know, maybe my approach is wrong after all and that’s what I need to change. This afternoon’s food for thought.


Part Two – Waiting

So I have a half day today as otherwise I wouldn’t make it on time for the race. It’s been pouring all day in Newarthill. It’s been windy. It’s gloomy. It could be any sort of conditions tonight so no point planing or thinking of anything. Go out and run and see what happens. I didn’t go out a run last night due to many reasons, mostly lethargy, but did 10 mins on the exercise bike and 15 on the shed mill just to tick my legs over. Sadly Jim Proffitt has pulled out. I’m guessing that Nigel H won’t be running as he has been poorly of late so a good chance that I’m the only MAC representative tonight, maybe I should get league bonus points? :p This is possibly a good thing as I can just concentrate on me and my run, sod anyone else, and sod the consequences. I usually write after a race, but how am I actually feeling just now, only a few hours before it? I am finding everything to stress about. It’s not only good runners who get uptight. I am worried I won’t find the place, that I’ll leave too late and get caught up in traffic, that I’ll leave too early and be there far too early. That I’ll park too far away and as no one I know is going I’ll have to spend an hour warming up in only my vest as I don’t know where to leave my stuff. All this before I even stress about the run. I feel tired, I haven’t been sleeping great. My back is a wee bit niggly. I’m going back the way or have plateau’d. This is typical me before a race, I just forget to tell you. Some people call it being a shark, I call it having no confidence. Pre race prediction is that I will finish 324th in 19 minutes and 42 seconds. Since my best is 19.26 I will be miserable. Bring it on.


Part Three – The answer my friends is blowing’ in the wind

I got through very early. The start and finish weren’t even set up yet. Said a hello to Cambuslang’s Charlie Thomson had a good look round.



It was raining but at this stage the wind wasn’t too bad. Since I had almost 2 hours until the start I took a walk/ jog around the course. A loop then back through the start again then an out and back to the finish again. It was flat. One puddled area. It was well marked so I sussed out my k markers. As it got nearer to race time the sun came out and the wind started to build up. Had a good warm up then a chat to Cambuslang’s Stevie Wylie and Robert Gilroy ( I promised you a mention Robert ;)) Done some strides alongside Stevie to pretend I was someone, said hello to Clare H from MAC who was along to cheer on her friend Sarah and off to the start. It was busy and I was feeling the nerves. I was recognised on the starting line ( I know!) and had a wee chat with Peter Jardine from VP and SA (I was in a mad zone at this stage and apologise for mumbling nonsense) and then the starting buzzer went off. Oooft elbows everywhere, pushing, someone hit the deck beside me, possibly took more folk out. The first k was against the wind which had built up. My pace was good and I felt comfortable. Round the first turn and the first k done in 3.40. There is along straight now of about 2 k and this was going to determine my run. Got through 2k with a k of about 3.50.


I still felt good. If i could maintain this pace a bit longer I knew I could trouble my best. Next k in 3.50. Consistent. Seriously on to beat my best. about half a k on and we hit the headwind but I keep the head.


4 k done, this k in about 3.52. If I can crack on to a good finish then I will not only smash my best but 19 minutes is close…. Man that wind was tough but I ran hard. I was hurting but my pace was bringing me under 19 mins if I maintained it. Schoolboy error number 1, the 5k beep went when I still had about 60 to go. Maybe the 5k was long. Maybe it was my racing line.  This was going to be close. I launched hard to the line and stopped my watch. It was showing 18.57. The elation!!!! Could not believe it. Just as well I launched myself as when the official time came through it was 18.59. A PB by 27 seconds. A sub 19!


When I did that first 5k in 48 minutes a few years ago anyone suggesting sub 19 would have been laughed at. A year ago I hadn’t run under 22 minutes. Yeah I’ve worked hard, but the help from everyone at Motherwell AC has been exceptional.


Once again I have to say, I am no shark. I don’t have a lot of running confidence. Some days it goes right. For me it happened today. I hope this has given you a wee insight into the different stages of an average runner through the differing stages of a race, from prep to the run. The mind is an intricate thing. I left everything out on that 5k course and reaped the rewards. No looking back, no worrying about anyone else. I hope I can kick on from this. First seasons aim done. Bring on the 10ks 🙂


Edited to add: Here’s some pics below of my watch and some stills from the finishing line video. Looks like 18.57 to me but I’ll let you decide……

IMG_5283 IMG_5296 IMG_5289 IMG_5297


2 thoughts on “The Scottish 5k – Three, is a magic number

  1. Pingback: Take 5 – The Scottish 5k Road Champs 2016 | markgallmac

  2. Pingback: May the Forth/ Hang on – The Scottish 5k champs 2018. | markgallmac

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