Merry Xmas (everyone) – Jogscotland Christmas Cracker and Santa Dash

Disclaimer: We may find out Santa’s real identity here and he may be irritating, grumpy and bald.

For those of you worried by my lack of moaning recently then continue to be upset, worried, and even put off by my blog. I had another couple of weeks where I enjoyed my running. The parkrun renaissance has been put on hold as last week we were due to hit Drumchapel but the ice put paid to that.  I even had the song ready for it, so have it anyway, Holy Mountain as it’s in the top 5 hilliest parkruns in the UK, or so I’m told,  and I can’t decide if I love or hate this song, so it’s apt.

I got up before 7, checked the weather, checked in with Kev and Alan and by 7.30 I was back in my bed. Lightweight and not bothered. Had a brilliant 15 miler on the Sunday instead. On Saturday past I was supposed to pace 25 minutes at Strathclyde but a couple of icy patches had it moved to the alternate route where pacers weren’t advised, so that’ll be moved to next week. I took the opportunity to do a couple of laps of Strathclyde instead as I knew I wasn’t going to get a long run of any kind done on the Sunday and I was still aiming for that 1500 miles for the year target. The reason for no long run this Sunday? I was continuing my different outlook to running by doing the Jogscotland Xmas Cracker and Santa Dash at Cumbernauld. This was organised by Dougie Holmes and his NL team, who had expertly run the Monklands 5k and the Cumbernauld 10k so I knew it would be well organised, plus I knew that if I finished I got the second part of the jigsaw medal to complete my bling from earlier in the year at Monklands. Simple aim. Get the festive gear on. Have a run. Enjoy it. Get the bling. Then have cake. Aye. I accept things. I’m no slim Jim and will never a whippet be. I like my cake. Instead of Marcothon I’m doing Markothon, which involves an earned cake or similar a day, and after 4 days I’m still in.


Anyway Santa dash.

Got the base layer on to be festive.


Weather looked milder so hopefully not too icy. Arrived in Cumbernauld and again the place superbly laid out. Big starting and finishing straight. For the tenner fee there was chip timing and a full Santa suit and the bling at the end. Decent value.


I’ll be honest, the trousers were a bit big on me. I think Russell Grant may have struggled to keep them up. I talked trouser tactics with Airdrie’s John Brogan. He’s been running brilliantly this year and has gubbed me every time I have run against him. The only time I finished ahead of him was at Paisley where I finished 30 seconds ahead of him. But only because he was a minute and a half late in starting due to the baggage queue….. :). He decided to go full suit, where I was going full suit less the trews as the big waisted and long legged trousers had me looking like Ant Janetta at the Bella Prizegiving. Not having the Italian style, and being a bit of a short arse it wasn’t for me. Had a good natter with Willie Scott, who was promising to be his usual burst baw, Alan Cox, Lorna Valentine from RFS amongst others and it was up to the start with lots of Santas. Now what is the term for a collection of Santas? I’m going for a Sack of Santas, but tell me the truth if you know. Or make it up.  I had no idea of the route so hung back at the start and we were away.


Straight away a fella hared off like a 100 metre runner. Good luck to him. Wasn’t for me. The female winner from Monklands Lisa Doyle led the chase with John following and strangely after the first couple of corners I was sitting in about 10thplace.


Since I wasn’t boxed in I thought I’d try and give myself a good steady run, although would be careful as some sections were still icy. Through the first section beside the loch and out to the housing estate and the first climb. I was in 5th place. Quite bizarre really. Downhill then back along the side of the loch and up towards the stadium and a turn down the way. Scientific sat nav stuff there blogpeeps. 2k in and I was 4thand there was a wee gap behind. I know it’s a Santa Dash. There’s no trophies or anything. But there is always something nice about a top 3 finish in anything eh? John and the fella who had hared off at the start were a good bit away, but third was only 30 to 40 metres ahead. Ach why not give it ago? Bit of fun. So I did. I picked off the guy in third who stuck behind me and by this stage the early leader was falling back. John was away as I expected, but at the half way point I was second. I haven’t been running well recently and I know that. There are no excuses, it’s just where I am. My aim had been to try and get back sub 19 by the end of the year but it hadn’t been looking likely as my weight crept up and my “can’tbearsedness” for reps had been prevalent. But if I could get under 19.20 and finish top 3? Lovely. I started to pull away from 3rd and John wasn’t getting much further ahead of me. I was never catching him and he wasn’t getting out of first gear to be fair, but I was happy that I seemed to be running steadily faster than I had been for a while. Last K and John danced with an large elf at the side (really, he did), I turned down the offer simply because I knew I had a chance of my fastest run in months, despite the Santa suit that now had the beard round the back of my neck, and making me sweat once again more than Cee-Lo Green wearing a polo neck on a trampoline. The last wee climb was icy but I knew after that it was 600 to go, alongside the stadium then the turn into the finishing straight.


I got round the corner in time to see John finish which was good. I’m just coming round the corner as he finishes in the pic.



I then heard my name over the tannoy as I was announced in second place. That’s always a thrill. (Apart from that time at Helensburgh 🙂  CRASH!!!!!!……..)



Checked the watch and was under 19 minutes for the first time since August. Oooft. Utterly delighted with that one. Job done, and 100% enjoyed.



What a great atmosphere on the day, from the kids races up. Everything good natured and I got my bling to complete my jigsaw.


Well done everyone that ran and thanks to Dougie, his team, and all the volunteers for a great day. A year ago I was probably too precious to do something like this. Maybe I’m mellowing with age, I don’t know, but go out there and do it. Get the suit on, have a laugh, and maybe even dance with the big fella for the good of his ‘Elf (sorry). Under 4 weeks to go and 69 miles needed for my target. I might just sneak this now you know.

Final wee thing about the Running Awards as it now closes on for the short lists on Wednesday 6th December at 6pm. If you like what you read then please consider a vote. If you don’t then I won’t be annoyed. It’s all a bit of fun. publications and online/ blog. markgallmac – the most irritating runner in Scotland ? VOTE FOR MARKGALLMAC HERE.

I’ve also been nominated for blog of the year here at the UK blog awards: The UK Blog awards. I am nominated in “Sports and fitness” and “lifestyle”. I don’t know much about it except the voting is open for 2 weeks, the top ones go through then it goes to a panel of experts. Knock yourselves out if you want, no registration necessary 🙂 Please vote down the bottom for both categories, that would be lovely.

This blog’s song is a xmas one for the first time. Take it away blog regular Mr Lewis Wilson, and if I don’t blog beforehand, hope you and yours have a lovely xmas.

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