The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues – Roon the Toon 10k 2018

7 am on Sunday morning and off goes the alarm. Lying there in my comfy bed beside my gorgeous wife, listening to the dog snore on the floor, with the previous night’s takeaway shouting from my stomach the temptation to just hit the alarm and roll back over to sleep was more than just a little alluring. What am I doing? It’s a 10k.

It’s in Kilmarnock !!

I may be bad at the track but I think I’m worse at 10ks. Can’t pace them. Just can’t seem to get near the potential my 5ks suggest. And they hurt, they hurt more than getting a Mitre Delta football square in the old ging gangs and it’s going to be hot and clammy again. Garscube Gav and Killie Connell will taunt and destroy me again. I’m really selling this one here eh? You book the races early in the year and have plans for them. By this stage I thought I would be at or under 38 minutes but I have been nowhere near it. One good 5k and I did think everything would slot into place but the last few runs have shown me that it’s nowhere near it. I had heard rumours of an Empire biscuit in the goody bag though, and I’m easily bought, so up I got to join Kev on the drive down, a man who was even less up for it than me and almost made me seem positive. There were no nerves, just to be a run and it was really good chatting to everyone before the race started.


Met Connell who said he was just going to have a mid pack jog today.

As believable as an episode of River City.

It was good to see John Speirs who I’d met at the Cumbernauld Santa Dash and was making amazing progress after joining Killie Harriers. A 3.08 marathon now under his belt and looking to destroy me and post a sub 38 today. “You’re going down Gallacher” was staring out of his eyes as he almost toed the line. I did question his decision to wear a baselayer as the sun was behaving in a hokey cokey fashion, coming in and out leaving us to shake it all about in the warm up and fearing an Alloa type haul of humidity. But it’s his lucky one, so his call. Off we went and my plan was to try and run a sub 39, and if all went well get to around 38.30 which would be a season best. If I could keep my Ks all under 4 and as near to 3.50 as possible then job done. John away like a rocket. Gav not far behind him as the field quickly spread out.


It was a nice wee start to the run with crowds cheering us on through the closed town roads. A choir were singing. The church bells were playing Chariots of Fire which made me laugh and I was quite enjoying it. Averaging about 3.50 so all good but then we took a wee trip out to the country side and a wee climb and I was trying to keep in contact with Gav and Alasdair from Ayr who I had ran the Hillfoots at Alloa with last week, but to no avail. It was over quickly, but then we turned the corner to another one. I do confess to muttering “You wee focker” or words to that effect.


Time slipping down a little now and as we got to the top of the climb Connell went sauntering past telling me “The next hill isn’t for a wee while”. Mid pack jog my arse. He was quickly away and past me as we curved back towards town and I was through 5k watch time in 19.19, 19.25 marker time, so looking at round about 39 pace but I wasn’t running freely anymore. 6th k a little better avoiding a wee dug that dived growling at my ankles and I could see John in difficulty ahead, slowing to a walk as cramp struck him. He started running again but about half a mile on again and he slowed again, I tried to encourage as I went past hoping he could get moving again. 6-7 was my slowest in the race as we had a gradual climb through the town but I was starting to pass people and felt as if I was getting a second wind. The crowd on the streets were being brilliant to be fair. 8th k in 3.49, 9th in 3.43 and I was reeling folk in. Last K and running as hard as I could knowing we finish with a lap of the track and was gaining on Gav.


He turned and saw me, encouraging me, but also toying with me, trying to taunt me into a sprint battle with him having a 30 metre start, like those indoor cyclist dudes. Round the track we went and 200 to go and he is still giving me the verbals so you know what happened next. I kicked, and flew past him on the line taking the plaudits obviously?

Erm naw.

As soon as I kicked he kicked and I finished about 5 metres behind. Good fun though, a big sweaty man hug shared and a check at the watch. A season’s best of 38.25. Statto wise course was coming up 50m long so in 5k terms a good negative split of 19.19 and 18.59 with the extra 7 seconds or so at the end for luck, and a finish of 39th out of over 1100 and my 3rd fastest 10k since my return. Really couldn’t complain about that at all. As I have said before if you do the best you can on the day then no one can ask more. After the horror of Shettleston I enjoyed this and I did indeed get an Empire Biscuit. As for John? Despite THREE bouts of cramp he still dug in and managed to smash his first sub 40. The potential he has to annihilate that is huge and I know he’ll do it. Quite probably the last time I’ll finish in front of him. A really good race and well organised, with a cracking medal and t shirt, and a tasty Empire Biscuit so I shall be back.




I have my second trail race to look forward to this Thursday, and I really am looking forward to it, then next Sunday sees me take on the Men’s 10k in Glasgow.


The 2011 event was my first race in over 20 years and I toiled round in 55.46, but it pretty much changed my life. Four years ago and I did it for the second time in 42.14, a PB at the time. So my third go next week and the only aim to enjoy it and remember the positive impact it has made on my life. So all those doing it make sure you enjoy it, be you at the front of the pack or at the back. It’s Father’s Day and I hope my boys can be there to cheer me over the line like they did in 2011. Thanks to Kenny Phillips, Kev, A guy in the car park and DM Homeshield for the pics.

Today’s song? From the Proclaimers best album, and I song I heard them play supporting the Housemartins at the Barrowlands.


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