Baby, don’t apologise – the SVHC Relays 2020

What a great week in Marko running land. Marathon training targets hit – great intervals session at the club, a good LT session, a medium long, modest stuff I know but sessions I was dreading were hitting the mark, and that’s all you can do eh? I was in a good mood, even finding two minutes on Burns night to write my ode to a vaporfly after being barred from the toxic “I am or was a bitter old runner” facebook group for daring question why every second post was calling runners who had bought shoes from a shop cheats.

Ode to a vaporfly (apologies to big Rabbie)

Sleekit and green and there oan ma feet
Grumpy auld runners say I’m a cheat
But bought fae a shop where we can all go 
They urnae illegal like that EPO.

Training at least 5 days in a week
For snidey remarks and some right damn cheek 
Cos I’m no fast, it’s purely the shoes 
They run by themselves and it gies me the blues.

I bought them I’ll wear them what can I do 
I don’t bounce around like a big kangaroo 
I’ve stopped being injured and that isnae bad 
But all this pure hatred makes Baldy man sad.

I’ll no win a title, I’ll no win a race
They are kind on my calves, I can maintain a pace 
So aye they may cost a bit more than a hunner 
But go bile yer baws “I was or am a runner”.

No apologies but I know it’s awful, I don’t claim to have the literary embelishment of your man Simon Le Bon.

Anyway, Sundays Long run was to be slightly different as the SVHC relays were on.

I like this event, 4 runners doing a lap of Strathclyde park, veterans only, get away to the disco or something youngsters!

I like relays especially since I had found my way back to the MAC B team again and all pressure was off. I could adapt it as part of my long run not putting any medal chances (or potential 4th places) at risk.  Team Manager Tommy full of apologies but 100% the right call. In my two shots in the Masters XC big team they finished fourth, the road season brings in the younger old ones if that makes sense (V35 age group) and I was sure that with the 4 strongest runners MAC could medal and so they did, amazing performance by Cammy, Stevie, Paul and Davie. Inspirational runners, especially with two of them in their 50s against the “young old” 35 year olds. Had I been in the team? Aye you’ve guessed it, they would have finished 4th 🙂 Superb running lads and fantastic to watch the race develop.

Anyway, my blog so back to me. A couple of miles pre race, then doing first leg then would make my miles up doing a few laps watching the rest of the race with some miles then added on for fun. The weather calmed itself down with just the usual Strathclyde park bluster and a wee bit of drizzle, much better than last year’s gales.


I SAID GALES!!! Anyway the banter was flowing and I had zero nerves, none at all. Only aim really to try and get near the sub 21 but that was a big aim, not something I was going to destroy myself for having run 21.38 last year.I have no idea why but was looking forward to just going out and having a hard run and enjoying the day.

The three MAC first runners formed their own podium prior to the race which was nice.


Too busy gabbing then realised I was on the front row, toeing the line. That’s cheeky for a man of my lack of calibre, but decided just this once why the hell not? We were off and I was running freely.


Probably daft and I was sitting about 8th or something but feeling good. I could hear the crowd mumbling. “What’s he up to?”,”Aye he’s pish, he’ll soon be last at that rate”, “Pure hoffic man”, “What you having for tea tonight Bernadette?” They were right. After suggesting that Bernadette had a home made lasagne I reigned it in a little, runners went past and I was soon surrounded by a group. Central Region to the right, Greenock to the left. Scott from Killie, Andy from PH, a group of good runners. Robert from Cumbernauld jumped the group and was away followed by Giffnock. I was actually enjoying it, had been a while since I had been in a good running group like that.

But I felt easy.

That second K my pace had dropped but I wanted to challenge myself a little. Yes it could all blow up but into the third K and I saw a gap at the front of the group, headed to the front and started pushing it a little. Over the next k we spread out a little. I was chasing Ayr, Cumbernauld and Giffnock and knew I was starting to drop those behind me. Keep it steady and see how long I can hold it for. Through the muddy corner and the first wee slope to the Bridge and Gallacher corner. No fall this year, always a bonus. Davie G there roaring us on, navigated the twisty turny wee hill of shite then through the beach. Probably just over a mile to go and I was in touch with Ayr and Giffnock with a gap behind. Thanks Giffnock’s Cris Walsh for the pics even though I was just a glorified photo bomber in his pictures of his pal 🙂


Held my form and although didn’t have the sprint to take on Grahame of Ayr I was fortunate enough to get past Ruairidh of Giffnock and finish in a course PB of 20.33 for the 5.88k lap in 10th place. The equivalent of running a 17.30 5k and carrying on and over a minute faster than last year, cannot complain at all. Really enjoyed it and did as well as I could have. Joe from MAC was taking pictures of all MAC finishers and said he didn’t get me as I was faster than expected. So he took one afterwards instead 🙂


Quick change and off to watch the rest of the race unfold running the course in reverse. Got talking to Grahame from Ayr on my first lap round which was enjoyable, then Paul from Cumbernauld on my second which is always a pleasure. Watching the good, honest racing was great fun, tried to give encouragement the way I had got it on my leg. As Grahame said, he knew I was there because round every corner someone was shouting come on Mark 🙂 Third lap was solo and the fourth got patched and I ran a different last few miles, but just over 20 miles for the day and all went to plan.

As I said at the start what a great week. You go out there and do the best you can in your sessions and on race day and sometimes it comes off for you. You get to mix with the good guys of the sport instead of the bitter grump merchants and it’s great fun. So no apologies from me for having a right good week. No apologies needed from Tommy the Manager for calling the teams 100% right again. And no apologies for going about with a smile on my face. There’s too many off days, too much negativity around. Trainers on, head doon, work hard, enjoy it and smile. Have some Big Audio Dynamite for being such lovely blogpeeps.

Thanks Cris Walsh, Gillian Glass, Joe Hoolaghan for the pics. Massive thanks to SVHC for another wonderfully run event. A real highlight of the year.


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