Sometimes you have to look back to look forward.
I was spoiled at the start of the year with my Marathon and 5k PBs and naively thought that I could carry this over to other distances and genuinely thought I could start running consistently below 38 minutes for 10k. I planned out my races to give it a go, made sure I was doing what I thought were relevant track sessions and I have trained as hard as I could in the time I have. On race day I have raced as well as I could on those days. So far this season I have ran 38.31 (Jack Crawford), 38.50 (track), 38.55 (Shettleston), 38.25 (Kilmarnock), consistent for me, decent for me (a sub 39 in my eyes always a good run), but just not able to push through where I hoped I could.
The Men’s 10k was to be my last in the block and a PB attempt but in the run up I have just known it isn’t in the legs, but I am OK with that. I have enjoyed doing the trail races recently and know that my PB days are probably behind me as age does catch up. I have talked before about how I think you know in yourself when you’ve gone as far as you can and I think I’ve about got there now for certain events. I know people older than me run faster but I can only talk about my own body and how it feels for me. Age categories are there for a reason and there comes a time when we slow up or certainly can’t get any faster. The stress was off for this one and I was looking back to look forwards. The Men’s 10k was my first race back in 2011 and it was a big deal for me, and quite simply if it wasn’t for it my life would be totally different, and not for the better. MHSF 10K 2011
Oh I know, the drama, but I am being sincere.
I was a heavy smoker, drinking far too much, eating a lot worse than I do now. I had absolutely zero get up and go. Now? I love my life. I love the running, I love the training, I love the focus and purpose it gives me, and I think I am a better person for it all.
I have done the race only once since as it clashed with other things and other races but really wanted to do it again this year. With any real thoughts of PB chasing gone the thoughts turned purely to Father’s day as this is when the race was always run. My boys were going to be there to cheer me on
and I was going to think of my Dad as I went round and enjoyed the grandstand finish at George Square.
All about the event.
Don’t get me wrong, as always I was going to try my best, but without stressing about anything. Legs still feeling it from Thursday as well, as much as I loved the trail I had muscles hurting me that I forgot existed. Elaine dropped me off at the Riverside Museum start and the atmosphere was already building, it was great chatting with so many people and watching the state of the athlete formerly known as the Chairman (TAFKATC) as he appeared half jaiked after getting an entry as a surprise Father’s day present after a 50th birthday party with a free bar…. Garscube’s Baselayer John was up in the elite pen (and deservedly so hitting a PB of 36.09) while us mere mortals looked on in awe and after a shower of rain had cleared we were off. I’m not going to bore you with my usual k by k timing splits because the GPS went a bit mad halfway through the run, dropping off and telling me I was running a 6 min k, but I started off at a semi decent pace that I knew pretty soon the legs couldn’t maintain, so a tilt at another sub 38 could wait for another day, if even ever, and it was all about doing what I could. The car park section at the SECC and it’s uneven ground wasn’t my favourite bit to run on to be honest and Garscube Gav and his party arm were soon away. I wouldn’t be tailing him this week but soon settled into a wee group alongside Springburn’s Joe Chambers, who I have been alongside in many a 10k run, as we hit the 3k and headed across the river.
It was nice running through the Centre, up past Central station, along Buchanan Street then towards George Square at around the 5k mark. I had a huge smile on my face seeing Elaine and my boys which gave me a right boost as I went past them and on my way. Over to the side and a smile and a wave, in previous years I would have been po-faced and focussed.
Genuinely delighted to see my family 🙂
Through the 5k marker in about 19.15, through 5k on the watch in about 19.30, watch was out and markers seemed out as well, but it is what it is.
Tried to push it back on in the 6th k a bit but by 7 was feeling the legs heavy and Joe and the gang were pulling away from me. Heading towards Glasgow Green and a fella told me he read my blog as he cruised past me. Cheeky bassa, but Neil Kennedy, as I said before, I don’t do mentions…. Into the Green and a couple of K to go before that Grandstand finish. Having fallen back I worked hard to get myself back behind the group containing Joe and Neil and as we left the Green it was good to get a shout from Gordon Gallacher who was doing a sterling job of pacing the 55s towards the Green. Through Trongate and Merchant city and time to push on for the finish and I led the group out.
Round the last corner into the square and it was superb seeing and hearing the crowds and having the commentator comment on my shoes as I hit the line hard in 38.30, with Neil right behind me in a new PB of 38.32, still asking me for a mention.
No Neil Kennedy, I said No!
I won’t pretend it was an easy run, but once again well under the 39 mins and another good consistent 10k. But I really enjoyed it. Good course and amazing crowds. The amount of cheers I got as I went round the course, from people seeing Marko on the vest, clubmates, people I have met through the blog, through the RFS page, old school mates, and of course my amazing family, it was really special.
Garscube Gav and his party arm
The training I am doing is keeping me at this level which is good for me. I am looking backwards to move forwards as this is my third Men’s 10k with a history as follows:
2011 Time 55.46 Position 2132 (Age Category position 866)
2014 Time 42.14 Position 199 (Age Category position 39)
2018 Time 38.30 Position 37 (Age Category 6th)
Since hobbling round that day in 2011 with my dodgy lycra shorts and MacMillan cancer care vest, being glared at by Billy Bragg and running alongside a man in a bathing suit (I’ll have to find that picture again) I really have come a long way in more ways than one. The results on the score card speak for themselves but there’s the other results. I am happy in my own skin. I’m more sociable than I was. I have rekindled my love of writing to subject you lot to my irritating meanderings. So yeah I might not get any faster at these 10ks, or indeed at any distance again, but I look where I was and where I am now and I can be happy.
I am Mark Gallacher, age 47, and I have finally got there.
I don’t need any further justification or validation. Last year I managed 1 37 minute 10k. I am currently a 38 minute 10k runner. Next year I will probably be a 39 minute 10k runner or even 40. But I am a runner and I have come a lot further than I thought I would back in April 2011 when I couldn’t even manage 200m without stopping. I’ve changed my lifestyle, I’ve run 2 marathons, countless half marathons, 10ks and 5ks, joined a club again, ran X Country, track, trail races, started a blog and won a prize at the O2 in London.
Thank you the Men’s 10k!!
A picture with my boys from each of the three runs
And there is still more to do and more to come, and times from other years will cease to matter. Season’s bests, age group bests, WAVA scoring, new races, new events, there’s a lot more. Lots of people won’t understand this post and I guess maybe you won’t or can’t until you get there yourself, like a footballer that knows he’s played maybe a season too far.
So you men that ran that Men’s 10k yesterday, don’t let it be the end, let it be the start that I had. Chase those daft dreams, make mistakes, give yourself aims, enjoy those PB races and learn from those ones that all go wrong. Join the running community. Do parkrun, help out at parkrun. Wear lycra at least once. Buy tights but don’t wear shorts over them and buy an expensive watch that does things you don’t even understand. Do it while you can and have no regrets and I hope you can get the pleasure that I have had and will continue to get.
Run short, run long, run road, run track, run trail, run happy, just Run!
Yesterday as I ran along the streets of Glasgow on Father’s Day I thought of my Dad and thought maybe, just maybe, he’s looking down at me with a smile. Because if on the day you do the best you can then no one can ask anymore.
Thank you for reading this far, I found out at the weekend that I have been shortlisted for “Influencer of the year” at Men’s Running magazine, if you like what you read please consider a vote 🙂 Men’s Running Awards
Thanks for the photos Elaine Gallacher, June Duggan, Dave McNulty, Jenna Callion, Garscube Gav, Brian Graham. Enjoy the tune.