An Unexpected Groovy Treat – Victoria parkrun

I continued my running ethic when I returned home and did a track session on the Saturday (Pyramid of 200 400 600 800 800 600 400 200, I toiled but had a good training buddy in Coach John) and a ten miler up to and round Chatelherault on Sunday. An ambitious 6 sessions in 6 days for me, but I did say I was going to try and make the most of my extra time gained from my holiday debacle. After a day off on Monday it was onto the first business of the week, the Monthly club handicap time trial. After PBing by 30 seconds the month before and running 24.42 I was genuinely afraid of finishing last this month. I was getting further down the starting list as my handicap was reduced. Due to holidays etc there would be only 4 people starting behind me: Graeme Kennedy, Mark Paterson, Nick Hughes and Craig Mackenzie. I could be swallowed up very early on and left out there in last place. I was very nervous before this. Still found enough for a daft selfie with Andrew Scott.


Off we went on a clammy night and my GPS lost it’s signal…. ouch… the doubts started creeping into daft wee baldy’s heid again but I kept going and it came back on after about 3/4 of a k. I was fine. I decided to just keep looking ahead, not behind and what would be would be. I kept my head and my pace and strangely no one went past me. About halfway I actually started to pass people and with about 2k to go I did look over my shoulder and saw Mark P getting close to me. Nothing to be ashamed of, he is a phenomenal runner. Andrew’s shots from the hill with about  1 1/2k to go show how close to me he was .

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As I say, I was actually passing people and a string of people were lined in front of me. I went off hard for home hoping to steal some points. As we went into the last straight of about 750 metres I heard the breathing on my shoulder and waited for Mark to go past. It was actually Craig, again no shame. I kicked hard for home and the pain on my face shows that I left everything out there. You can also see Mark in shot as well, I had managed to match his pace over the last couple of k and finished in a new PB of 24.34.


Not expected but very pleasing, I would have taken that before the race if offered. Finished 5th of the men and kept my place at the top of the table for another month. As I said previously, I don’t expect to even be in the top 3 come the end of the season, but to be top for two months shows my consistency just now and I’m very pleased with it. I was really pleased for John Burns who won the men’s race after a few difficult months. Well deserved for a cracking guy.

The championship race was on the Saturday at Victoria parkrun in Glasgow. Before that we had our Thursday session. I was hoping for the Rollercoaster as I always get a PB in parkrun after doing Rollercoaster ( no idea why) . When coach John said reverse rollercoaster I was up for it. Only did it in reverse once before mind you and got lost. Still didn’t know all the different trail paths. So off we went. I started doing the rollercoaster section with Chris Macdonald, a much faster runner than me. I looked round and no one was with us. I had no idea where I was so I had to go with him. Basic schoolboy error on what was supposed to be an easy run. It was anything but and was my own fault. Enjoyed it though. Wee confidence booster to keep with someone of his calibre, even if he was taking it easier.

So onto Saturday. Victoria parkrun. Hadn’t done it before but heard it was fast. After a starting straight from the park gates it was 3 loops of the park before turning off for the finish. About 20 MAC athletes made the trip to join the field of about 250 odd athletes. I had one simple aim. I wanted to beat as many MAC runners as possible as it was the (hip hop beats, trumpets and a wonky stylophone) latest race in the 2015 Motherwell Athletics Club Road Racers Championship and League. In my Division Coach John was training the best he has in years, and Jim White was coming back into form. I knew that to be first in my division I would probably have to go sub 19 for only the third time. I was quite confident after the week I had had though, but translating training form into a race is no guarantee. I had to race and race right. When we started I went off fast. The aim was to get ahead of them and stay there. Simple tactics (??). Round the pond and down to the bottom corner where you climb up to the park along a short incline. At this point I had a wee look behind. I could see John and Marcus, but I was comfortably ahead if i could maintain the pace. Chris, Craig and Nick were well ahead of me battling at the front but as we finished lap 1 I was in around 14th place and happy with how it was going. With the tight turns and trees the GPS was giving me a load of hopeless jargon so it was to be eyes off the Watch and simple racing.


Lap 2 was all about consolidation and I felt ok as I pushed on the pace and overtook a few people as we went onto the last lap. I was actually on my own as we reached lap3 and stayed that way the whole lap. Lap 3 was a different type of lap as we started to lap the tail runners, and while at no time did any of them get in my way, it was difficult to tell where the man in front was and the man behind. I came off lap 3 and there is an incline and my legs wobbled but the 50 yards sprint off the last bend came and I was home. This picture tells it all.


A new PB by 16 seconds in 18.23. I had finished top 10 for the first time. I was second V40 in the entire run (Unheard of!!!!). I had managed to finish 4th from my club and first from division 2. I couldn’t really have scripted it more perfect to be honest. I thought back to those dark days of January, February and March when I was ready to jack it in and what a difference. I was actually quite proud of myself. I know it can all go wrong in the blink of an eye but that’s why I will enjoy it for now. The MAC Results were as follows after a great win by Chris over Cambuslang’s Charlie Thomson.

Pos’n Name Time

1 Christopher MACDONALD 16:20

3 Craig MACKENZIE 16:46

6 Nicholas HUGHES 17:37

10 Mark GALLACHER 18:23

19 John Gerard HUGHES 19:06

26 Marcus WHYTE 19:32

38 Jim WHITE 20:35

47 Eddie TOAL 21:08

53 Craig WHITESIDE 21:41

55 Thomas SNEDDON 21:47

63 Peter BLACKMORE 22:24

68 Susan STEWART 22:36

96 Gary WOOD 23:49

115 Gillian MCCAFFER 24:39

131 Angela DOWNIE 25:21

141 Donald MCCAFFER 25:47

147 Dougie O’HARE 26:06

168 Patricia ALLEN 26:45

191 Jim TRACEY 27:36

Some great running and a lot of PBs. Well done Marcus for his first sub 20, well deserved. With it being Victoria Park the warm down had to be the jog to Jack and Victor’s bench from Still Game.


If you haven’t tried Victoria Parkrun then I recommend it, great course, well organised and fast. The week for me had really been An Unexpected Groovy Treat and I had from it what I wanted. Next races are the half marathons now. Way out my comfort zone and point dropping time. Table slide coming up.  But for now I have got myself up to the top of Division 2. Doesn’t mean much to anyone in this world, but it means a hell of a lot to me. This week, as I said to Chris on Thursday, I actually felt like a runner again.

Note: An Unexpected Groovy Treat was a 1992 album by the Edinburgh band Finitribe. You may like it, you may not. Me? Love it.

Photos by Andrew Scott, Victoria parkrun and Craig’s Dad.

Edited to add, just saw my runbritain handicap is at a new low of 4.4. Ooooft:)

2 thoughts on “An Unexpected Groovy Treat – Victoria parkrun

  1. Pingback: Wouldn’t it be nice | markgallmac

  2. Pingback: History Repeating? The 100th Springburn parkrun | markgallmac

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