Makes no sense at all – Troon parkrun and Scottish Six Stage Road Relay 2019

Confidence can take days, weeks, months even years to build up but it can disappear just like that. My confidence had been building up ever since my 3000m win at the Emirates and that combined with a lot of hard graft had seen me PB at 5k and demolish my 10k PB. But you read the blog all the time, don’t you, so you knew that…..

Another week, and a decent training week again, and had agreed to do the Troon parkrun with Kev as he is ticking the tourist boxes and I had arranged a meeting with the organisers of Ayr’s GO FESTIVAL, so could kill two birds with one stone. I will blog more about this later but I will be doing ambassador stuff for them including some blogging to help those like me who hadn’t run for many year or perhaps hadn’t even run before.

Due to the fact I had started running well (for me) again and people were starting to notice I was starting to stress about running again. If I could open up my head and take out the nonsense I would be dangerous, but really wasn’t looking forward to running and the conditions as we drove down really had me dreading it. Through thick snow at East Kilbride.


Parkruns being called off everywhere. Polar Bears wearing Parkas. Got to Troon and thankfully no snow but it was freezing, it was pouring, it was windy, I really didn’t even want to run. Saw James Chalmers from Irvine that I had battled with at Kirkie 12.5k who is flying just now then saw Mark Porter from Bella, a cracking runner, so at least I knew I wouldn’t be out in front. But I should have had the balls to give it a go and didn’t, I was flatter than the flattest pancake in flat pancake land. We started off and I couldn’t feel my feet. Like ice blocks. Every step was sore. Four of us pulled away straight away and it was fine but we hit the first turn in the out, back, out, back and somehow the other three had pulled away and I just didn’t bother responding.

I had simply gone into a huff.

They got further away and at the next turn were a good 30 seconds or so ahead, with me in no man’s land freezing, soaking and hating every minute. The last mile I upped it and started reeling them in a bit but finished 4th on the wrong side of 19, a good minute and a half slower than I had been 2 weeks earlier at the Scally, over a minute slower than I had ran at Strathy. I don’t know when I had detested a run as much and my wee head started playing games with me. A 2 week wonder, back to normal, certainly there had been no fight and I had run like a big cowardly lion again just like the old me.

So the head telling me I am a two week wonder and I had also become a year older at the same time. One weekend and the confidence built up has gone.


Maybe I need a couple of weeks off, but I had committed to doing the Scottish Six Stage Road Relays for MAC and got the news I was dreading when told I had been selected for the A team, something rarer than a convincing Scottish football performance and my wee head started getting worse. The other 5 guys in the team were far better runners than me. That was fact. I am talking 4, 5 minutes better at 10k. These guys know what they are doing while I just play at it and I was going to let them all down. There were at least two guys in the B team that should have been selected ahead of me. In my head everyone was talking about it behind my back, willing me to fail, with the “told you so”s all ready. Mr Irritating Hoffic would be watching with glee “You think you’re far more capable than you actually are, accept your abilities”. No Paul, I don’t think I’m more capable, it’s others this time. Troon in my thoughts as you are only as good as your last run. I was looking forward to the event but dreading the run. The event was brilliant and despite the fact I was running last leg I got along for the start to cheer on the rest of the team. It was really windy so maybe that would be a leveller, aye keep clutching for those straws Gallacher. There was good craic with the MAC squad and amongst the rest of the teams, a good atmosphere. I took a wee jog round parts of the course cheering folk on, astounded by Luke Traynor’s first leg, but still nerves threatening to derail my day. Was working out times for when I would be on, first leg, second leg, third leg, fourth leg all gone. Craig away on short 5th leg which would give me 17/18 minutes before he was back. 48th toilet visit, stripped off, strides done, and in the pen nervous but chatting away. 16 mins, 17 mins, 18 mins, 19 mins, no Craig.

Sh&te I have missed him.

I have really let the team down now. I’ll be thrown out the club. I’ll have to go to Hamilton Harriers or jogscotland but they have both got rid of me before. “Anyone seen Motherwell?” I helplessly squeal. “Aye mate, he took a wrong turn and went the wrong way.“ For real. He had taken a wrong turn and had to come back and was still out on course. The nerves went to laughter and disbelief as I waited. It wouldn’t matter how bad I ran now, Craig would get the slaggings, and rightly so (says the man who ran an extra 2 miles in a half marathon after going the wrong way…) Heid doon and on with it Gallacher. Craig came in and I was probably about 30 seconds or so behind Dan Scroop from Garscube who had gubbed me at the Scally and a wee bit ahead of any teams behind. It was going to be solo, lonely and windy until the peloton came from behind but what would be would be. Down the first hill to the taunts of Scott Love and round the corner, up the first climb and the wind hit me, ooft, but I tried to settle into a rhythm. It’s an upwards slog until your run across a train station and it was tough but I was gaining on Dan. I made him a target until we got to the most exposed windy bit of the course and caught him just as the wind was at its worst. Horrendous but I knew we weren’t far away from the downhill and a bit of respite from the wind. Brave, daft, whatever, I decided to up it from here. I’m terrible on downhills so may as well give it a go today. Passed another team in the shape of Killie’s bearded Ken and kept going, waiting for Dan to come back past me when the legs rubbered. I could start to hear steps behind me but dared not look and then he came along side me but it wasn’t Dan, it was a green and white vest, the peloton were coming.


Probably under 2 miles to go so just tried to dig in and not let the green and white vest too far ahead. I was hurting, I can’t lie. Onto the Livi parkrun course now so I knew this bit. MAC Shouts from the bridge, a mile to go, aye and the rest. The legs were like rubber but I wasn’t giving up.


The 500m to go sign, keep running hard, round the corner then the up hill to the finish again into the full force of the wind. This was sore, this was tough, but I had nothing left, I had given it all I could. Over the line having overtaken 2 and only been passed by one and the 5.8 miles done in 34.46, well inside my target of a sub 36. Really, really pleased and when the results went on Power of ten it gave me a 1st place for fastest v45 on my leg which is crazy, daft, funny but nice. SO did I let anyone down? No. Would it have mattered if I had? No. Is my head a stupid daft place that causes me unnecessary grief? Oh aye. Big thanks to my MAC team mates for a special day and for giving me the kick up the arse I needed at various points during the day. The song? A classic by Husker du about my head, which makes no sense at all. Enjoy. Thanks Kenny Phillips, Athletics digital and Xpression photography for the pics.

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