Crash – the Polaroid Series Helensburgh 10k 2016

Since I ran my 18.23 5k last year I have thought my 10k PB of 38.59 was beatable. After running 18.07 (18.10) last week for 5k I became convinced that it was do-able. Why not now since I am off the back of PBs over 3 distances in the last 2 months? So it was off to Helensburgh for the first race in the final ever Polaroid 10k race series. This was my first sub 40 last year so although not the fastest of the series it was fast enough. As I told the Legend beforehand, and as said in my last blog, I wasn’t going to be scared of giving it a go. If I blow up I blow up, it matters to no-one except me. I hasten to add I am not being arrogant or cocky but am curious as to what I can achieve. Contrary to West of Scotland Summer logic, after taking 2 hours to get there we were met by a scorching summer sun. I really felt it on the warm up. But I didn’t care. I had my targets. Average 3.50 for as much as possible keeping the total average under 3.54 to bring me in under 39. Hopefully a sprint finish would bring me under my PB. See? It’s all in the numbers, I’m an accountant. It’s a scoosh. Picked up my new Polaroid shades, my t shirt, said a fair whack of hellos and was ready to go. The course was to be changed a bit but in theory was very similar.

Boom and we are off.
1st K it’s the windy housing estate, bollard avoiding and up a wee hill. 3.48, all good.

2nd K, 3.41 with slight downhill stretch, feeling brilliant, stretching out. Man it’s warm but the sun cream is on and I am well hydrated, all good.

3rd K wee climb in here, but 3.53, all good

4th K 3.50, steady as you like, feeling magic

5th K 3.50, staying steady, feeling hot but good. 5K in about 19.03. That’s fast but could afford a slow down which I expected when I hit the wind on the way back.

6th K wee downhill bit, water taken, feeling fine 3.55

7th K uphill stretch, passed Cambuslang’s Simon Gold, so knew I was going well, a fella beside me falls going round a tight bend onto the gravel. Ouch. Start running into a headwind, put some real effort in to keep my pace 3.55

8th K Toil into the wind but try keeping it together as the K comes to an end my legs are wobbling. can feel them going. I remember Haddington. I know the signs. Wind horrendous. Legs basically gone. 4.01. I’m at 8k in under just 31 mins. Exactly where I wanted to be but I’m done.

9th K Legs totally gone.I decide to stop and walk. Unheard of before. There was nothing there. Had I tried to run on then total collapse like Haddington possible. So heavy, never felt anything like it. Decide to walk until I felt OK to jog. Runners stream past me. Simon gives me encouragement. Lots of people check I’m OK. Great camaraderie. I try again to run. Not happening. Walk again. Seems like forever then I try again. Fail. Ewen and Marcus past me. Try to run again. Nah. The Legend goes past. My walking gets faster and I manage to break into a jog pushing it up to a run. The kilometre is done in well over 6 minutes. But I am determined to get to the finish.

10th K found a wee bit of rhythm, not fast but done in 4.16. Then there is an extra bit, my Garmin saying an extra .12 of a k, which appears to have taken me a further 25 seconds or so. I could have hit my targets and just failed then…. I jogged up to the finish, wanting to sneak into the shadows but no,  the announcer tells the world “And there comes Motherwell’s Mark Gallacher, come on Mark Gallacher all the way to the finish, come on let’s push all the way…..” The world looks at me, and chortles.

But I finished. Humbled, disappointed, but not gutted and with no regrets. Official time 41.54. My slowest for 2 years. Different people said different things to me after the race. Many say I was stupid. Some say I was brave, most say “Who?” but I had a go, no one was hurt and it all counts for nothing anyway. A wee test for myself that this time I failed. On a different course, in different conditions could it have been different? Did working 13 days without a break in the run up contribute? The lack of sleep? My boys being off school with a cold?  who knows.So many ifs and buts. I am not just categorically a failure πŸ™‚ I am not going to dwell on it and hopefully if the legs are ok I have Monklands 5k Sunday, and Clydebank 10k next week. Maybe I will never beat that 39 minutes again, but one thing is for sure, I have the balls to give it a go and I will give it a go again. Failure is not falling down, failure is staying down.

The stats below show the mighty crash.


I am now banished from the PB mobile and the Legend has found a new mentor. He’s a fickle man.


Was a great turn out from team MAC and I was particularly pleased for Arthur Duggan getting yet another PB wearing the MAC vest for the first time. Plenty more to come from a man who has turned his life around in the last year.

Daren Borzynski got some great pics of a scunnered man:) 

“Crash” by the Primitives. It starts off “Here you go, way too fast.
Don’t slow down, you gonna crash” It’s apt enough. Check out the album “Lovely”, its a belter.


10 thoughts on “Crash – the Polaroid Series Helensburgh 10k 2016

  1. Mark – you and I both quit running 20+ years ago. for whatever reason, you and I are both trying again aged 40+. The thing is, we are both a lot better than we want to believe, and I will have a Β£100 on you breaking 38 minutes for 10k before year end. The right course and the right day, I reckon my money is safe.


    • John, I won’t take your bet πŸ™‚ my body isn’t what it was, 20 odd years of smoking doesn’t help and I’m rather injury prone. I’m envious of what you are able to pull out the bag now but the same level not in the legs for me, but I will keep trying, and keep enjoying it:) just once race from the ability of 1989 would be magic though…..


  2. Here again strikes the most irritating runner in Scotland.

    I suggest you stop running. I used to follow you on Strava – USED to, but deleted you due to your hoffic attitude.

    Nothing but constant complaining, excuses and reasons why not. Always moaning about injuries, illness, becauses. Plus you discuss your races in a jock-like, false-modesty laden, egotistical manner – naming names of people you overtake and convincing yourself that people are racing against you ‘in wee battles’ etc. No one cares about you (or me) – they care about themselves.

    You are always injured and messing up races because your trying to punch above your weight. You think you’re far more capable than you actually are. Your training is highly inappropriate in which you run WAY too fast. I remember you having a run ‘just back from injury, taking it easy’ yet were pushing a 6-min mile.

    No-one wants to hear your de-motivational moaning, whining and complaining- keep it to yourself and accept your abilities.


    • Thanks for the new title. This is a personal blog about me and my running. You obviously have a problem with me so don’t read it? Like all aspects of life there’s good days and bad, I document them all here relating to my running. I enjoy documenting it. Why should we accepts limits defined by others? I will continue to try and do better because it’s what I want to do. I will have great days like last week, and bad days like this week. It’s what makes us human. I will keep running thanks, I enjoy it. I would rather be challenging myself then repeating the 20 odd years of sitting on my Arse smoking and drinking etc. The writing about it helps me keep on that path. Sorry if this outlook offends you.


      • It doesn’t offend me at all, Mark – you publish which gives me the right critique. I stumbled upon you again from a comment on the Polaroid Facebook page and could not believe you were still at it. You’re a nice guy and it isn’t an attack on you – just the attitude in what I mentioned.

        Please slow down, run less, run smarter and stop being so competitive.

        All the best


  3. Easy to criticise someone who puts them self out there, far too easy.
    That said, if you don’t want comment, which you clearly do or you wouldn’t be making it public, then you have to take the rough with the smooth.
    For that matter, I personally think there’s a chance it’s adulation you’re after, or someone to make a film of your ‘struggle against the odds’ it’s a bit too Dodgeball for me.
    Wise move to take it from your personal Facebook page and post it here.
    Self indulgent – yes
    Boring – no
    Bizarrely compelling – maybe
    Egomaniacal – most definitely.
    Don’t stop though, and definitely just start running for you.


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