Glasgow 2014 Marathon

Sunday was the Commonwealth Marathon and I had the privilege of being involved as a volunteer. My role was one of the Results Technology team. There were 8 immediate timing posts every 5k.  Longines, the games timing company, provided all the timing and we were there as a back up.

On Saturday we had a training session with Longines where basically they showed us how to use the hand held timing machine.  We had to press the right button each time a runner went past! The idea was also to write down the number of each runner and match them with a time.  It proved to be a lot harder than it looked!!

 Here is a summary of my day ….

4.30am up and breakfast

5am Travel to Glasgow City centre by Motorbike

5.25am Parked at Boswell Street and walked to Commonwealth House on Albion Street

5.45am Signed in and collected my packed lunch

6.00am Met Hannah, our manager, and decided it would be easier to go on my motorbike to Bellahouston Park where I was to man the 30k timing post

6.15am Walked back to my bike and drove to Craigton PS where I parked my bike

6.30am Walked to Bellahouston Park and found my tent and timing equipment

6.45am Waited for the marathon to start!! Chatted to the park keeper and marshals who were on duty at a crossing.


8.30am Katrina and Tracey arrived and I asked them to help me write the numbers down.


8.45am Neal, Caroline and Neal’s parents, Steven & Kirsty, Chris, Norman and other arrived to watch from our position


9.02am Men’s marathon started and our clock sprang into action

9.30am The Men ran past on the first lap (we were at the 9k mark). It was great to cheer on Derek Hawkins who runs for Kilbarchan. Neal took great delight in cheering on Steve Way who had been interviewed on Marathon Talk.



10.10am The leading women with Susan Partridge ran past on their first lap. They had started at 9.30am.



Again we gave a special cheer to Haley Haining (Kilbarachan) ….



and Jo Zakrzewski (who also runs ultras) …..


10.37am The Men came round for their second lap. There were 10 in the leading group. I took the times on my handheld machine while Katrina and Tracey wrote down the numbers. Part of the problem was the numbers were on the runners’ backs. They had their names on the front.


Derek went through in 11th place and was looking strong. He finished 1st Brit in 9th place so must have caught a couple of the runners ahead …..


Steve Way was not too far behind Derek and finished 10th breaking the V40 GB record in the process ….


11.20am The women came through. The 2 Kenyans were leading (photo from Steven Hill) …..

30k 2

Susan Partridge was still going well and finished 6th ….


Hayley was also running well and gave us an acknowledgement. It looked like she was working hard and did well to finish 13th in 2:40:40 …..


Jo was a few minutes behind still smiling and finished 14th in 2:45:29 …..


A few minutes later a runner came through from Malawi. She was Terez Master whose previous pb was 3.32.15. She was bare foot and went on to finish 15th in 2:50:54.  Well done to her.

11.45am The final runner came through followed by the guy from Longines to collect up the equipment.

So a great morning with some excellent performances. Final photo taken by Steven Hill ….

30k 1

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That was better

I’ve really enjoyed today! This morning I was at Glasgow Green for our training with Longines in preparation for tomorrow’s Commonwealth Marathons.  I’m part of a team who will be at the immediate timing posts throughout the course.

Basically it is all done automatically but they need a manual back-up in case something goes wrong. So there are 8 immediate posts every 5k throughout the course. Even though it is a 2 lap course they need 8 as one lap is 21.1k.

We have a hand held timing device that prints out the results. So when each runner goes by we need to press the right button and record the number of the runner in case it is needed.

There are 10 of us so we were allocated a post and tomorrow we’ll have someone to help us to write down the numbers. All very exciting!! Initially I was given the 20k point just before half way but I swapped with another guy to take the 30k position as that is in the middle of Bellahouston Park near where I work and run!

So if you are in Bellahouston Park tomorrow to watch the marathon I’ll be at the 30k point which is near the cycling track I think.  I’m really looking forward to it even though I’ll need to leave home at 5am to get to Commonwealth House for 5.45am so we can be bused to our position in plenty of time.

Here is a map of the course and where I will be tomorrow …Marathon

Here is a photo of the finish gantry ….

finish marathonOver the weekend I’ve been checking regularly on the Lakeland 100 and in particular friends who are running.  Marco and Debs have had amazing races winning the Men’s and Women’s race! What a couple!!

L100 debs

As I type at 8pm other are still on the course and grinding it out.  When I did the race in 2012 I didn’t finish until after 3am!! This will be my main target for next year and I’m looking forward to it already.

Once I got home I watched the end of the Sprint Triathlon which was exciting and then set off for a run up on the Braes.  I was keen to have a good run after last Sunday when I really struggled over the last 6miles or so.

On Sunday the 16.94 miles took me 3hrs and it wasn’t much fun! Today I was keen to set off easier and enjoy the run.  It was so much cooler which really helped but I also disciplined myself to keep my heart rate below 130 which makes a big difference.

I did really enjoy the run and as a bonus my time was 2.49 finishing strong so all is good. I’ve started making sure I have a recovery drink after my longer runs.recovery drink

A spoon full of SIS REGO recovery powder, a banana and milk all blended together. Tastes good and hopefully is doing me good!

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Glasgow 2014 volunteering

I have done three shifts (8am-4pm) at Scotstoun over the last few days as part of my volunteering for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.  It’s been really enjoyable being part of this great event.

Basically our roll at Scotstoun is to make sure the athletes have all they need to be able to train for their event.  Our team of 4-5 make sure the centre is all ready with drinks, towels, ice packs etc and the track is ready for them to use.  So we put out all we think they will need.

Then when the athletes arrive we help with whatever they might need.  Most are really relaxed and happy to chat as they train.

Some highlights so far ….

  • chatting to a 200m runner from Losotho about his chances of making the final
  • helping a triple jumper from Ghana by measuring her hop and step phases
  • helping the Australian Pole Vaulting athletes
  • videoing an Australian long jumper so she could email it to her coach back home
  • chatting to team managers from Isle of Man, Seychelles and Barbados
  • chatting to the manager of the New Zealand 4x400m women’s team
  • watching a couple of Kenyan runners do their reps of 800m at an incredible speed
  • chatting to a personal coach of a pole vaulter about all that discipline involves

I’ve also been able to pop over to the Table Tennis and Squash arena which is also based at Scostoun to watch a few games. The main Squash court is amazing and there is a great atmosphere.

Tomorrow and Sunday I’m involved with the Marathon. Saturday is our training day with the timing company Longines and then for the race I’m going to be on one of the intermediate timing points. I’m really looking forward to it!  We have to meet at 5.45am to be bused to our position in time to make sure everything is ready for the race starting at 9.02am (Men) and 9.30am (Women).

We have a runner in each race from Kilbarchan AAC …. Derek Hawkins and Hayley Haining.  The full list of runners for men and women is now on the Glasgow 2014 web site.

The weather has been amazing this week. By far the hottest days of the year in Scotland.  I’ve been out for a run when I’ve got home and both runs were hard work in the heat but happy to be feeling okay. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to run over the weekend but hope to get up on the Braes at least once.

Finally the Lakeland 100 started 90 mins ago at 6pm so I’d like to wish everyone a great race especially friends Marco and Debs! I’m looking forward to following their progress over the weekend.

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Ben Lomond with a difference

Last night I had another unhand down Ben Lomond but this one was a bit different and we ended up at the A&E at Paisley!

Jonny & Frances couldn’t make it this week so it was Katrina, Steven and I.  Katrina hadn’t been feeling too well since her run on Sunday so decided to go up and down the tourist path.

Steven & I set off up the Ptarmigan Ridge.  Steven led for the first 45mins or so and then I took over for the final push.  It was such a warm night and we were sweating buckets! I love the views you get as you climb.


We kept a good pace up and reached the top in about 1hrs 20mins. I got a great photo of Steven as he approached the trig.


We spent a few minutes enjoying the superb views all around and obviously took a photo which will be the last one of Steven’s forehead without a scar!!


I wondered when we would see Katrina or maybe she was on her way down.  Within a couple of minutes she appeared so we encouraged her to go the top before heading down.

Steven only took 35 mins to descend last week so I knew I would have trouble keeping up with him.  So after a few minutes I encouraged Steven to run down at his own pace and I waited for Katrina.NOVATEK CAMERA

Katrina & I made our way down chatting and enjoying the view.  A group of about 8-10 mountain bikers went past us on the way up. We both agreed we wouldn’t fancy that!

On the way down we saw a stone with a lot of blood all around it.  I said to Katrina I hope that’s not Steven’s but we couldn’t see him so I hoped it was just a bad nose bleed from one of the cyclists.

We also had a chat with a group of foreign tourists who were camping and making their evening meal.  Then a guy said, ‘Your friend has had a fall.’

We then saw Steven holding his t-shirt on his head. He pulled it away to reveal a massive cut. A big section of his skin was hanging down.  It was not a pretty sight but I didn’t want to scare him.

We walked down with him telling the guy who very kindly stopped to go on.  After a few minutes I remembered that I’d put a first aid kit in my bag so we stopped and put a sterile plaster over the worse of the wound and wound a bandage on to keep it in place and clean.

I was tempted to take a photo before I put the bandage on but it felt a bit insensitive!! I did take a photo once we got down though! NOVATEK CAMERA

I drove Steven in his car to Paisley A&E while Katrina picked up Kirsty in our car.  Thankfully A&E wasn’t too busy and within a few hours Steven had been seen to but it took 14 stitches to sew it back together.stitches

Steven has written up his account on his blog which make interesting reading as well!

Thankfully Steven is alright but will have a permanent reminder of his second trip up Ben Lomond!

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Weekend Runs on the Gleniffer Braes

Another two runs on the Braes this weekend but they were very different.

Saturday 19th July

I had swimming lessons at 10am so was up and out by 7.10am for my 9mile loop.  Right from the start I felt pretty good and without really pushing too hard I was able to average 9.13 pace which I was pleased with.

The weather was fine and the track dry and easy to run on.  I had another example of running helping me to think about things.  I’m reading David Walsh’s book ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ about Lance Armstrong at the moment and the title has puzzled me.  What are the seven deadly sins?  As I was running it came to me …. Lance’s seven Tour de France wins!  Doh!

Anyway a solid run feeling strong without too much effort.  If only all runs were like this!

In the evening our family went to Escape to play 10 pin bowling for Yonas’ birthday. I won’t mention the result!!


Katrina and I then went to the Dress Rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.  It was excellent and we are looking forward to the real thing on Wednesday.  We got soaked getting there and queueing up but thankfully it stopped raining just before it started.

Sunday 20th July

I had my venue specific training at Glasgow Green in the afternoon so I was able to run a little later.  I set off at 8.30am to do my 16mile loop which is one and three quarter of the large loop.

I felt a bit sluggish as I set off but thought that I’d feel better as the run went on but if anything I got more sluggish!  The first lap wasn’t too bad and I took a few photos ….

Braes - reservoir


I ran past a herd of Highland cows …

Braes cows


Past the trig point which is the highest point of the route ….

braes trig

The ferns are really high now and I had to fight my way past them ….

braes ferns

Then back to the gate which marks the start and finish of my ‘large loop’ ….

braes gate

The second three quarter loop was hard work!  I was feeling really hot and felt I ran out of energy.  I think my runs from the week and other activities (cycling and kayaking) caught up with me!

I also think I need to take an energy drink if I’m going over a couple of hours.  But it’s all good training as you need to learn to keep going when you feel sluggish!

Another factor was I added a few more items to my rucksack.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been adding an item or two each week until I reach the pack weight I’ll need for the Tour of Skiddaw and Hardmoors 60.

I made it back in time to have a quick shower and then head off to Glasgow Green for my training. My shifts at Scotstoun start on Wednesday so that should be interesting.


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Midweek runs

On Wednesday/Thursday this week we (Glasgow Active Schools) had a team building couple of days based at Blairvadach, Glasgow City Council’s Outdoor Pursuit Centre, near Helensborough.

We arrived for 4pm and on Wednesday night we went to Finnich Gorge where we went gorge walking. It is on the road from Glasgow to Drymen and I must have passed this spot hundreds of times and never knew it was there.  It was great fun.

I took my SJ1000 camera in its waterproof case and it worked well.  Here is a photo of me on the Devil’s Pulpit …

NOVATEK CAMERAOn Thursday we had a day out on Loch Lomond in canoes and kayaks.  We had the option of the more sedate canoes or the quicker more exciting kayaks.  I went for the latter!

I like this photo with Ben Lomond in the back ground …


I wanted to fit in a couple of runs so ran home from work on Wednesday lunchtime and went for a run from Blairvadach on Thursday morning.  I did try and get a few of my fellow Active Schools Coordinators to join me at 7am but they had taken the opportunity of having a few drinks on Wednesday night so declined the offer.

I felt good on both runs but I could feel my quads after Tuesday’s Ben Lomond run which is good as it means I did thrash them!


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Ben Lomond Run

One of my key runs each week over the past couple of years when I’m building up to an ultra is my run up and down Ben Lomond. It’s an ideal run with over 3,000ft of ascent and descent.

It is also near enough from home to be able to do it in the evening after work. So with the Tour of Skiddaw and Hardmoors 60 coming up soon I plan to make the trip once a week for the next few weeks.

Last night Jonny, Frances and Steven joined Katrina and I for the run.  This was to be Steven’s first ever Munro though I think I was more excited that he was! I did feel like his Dad at one point insisting that he took a jacket!

We met at Drymen and headed down to Rowardennan in one car.  My camera was back from China repaired and ready to be used again so I took a few photos …..

At the start …. a little dark this one!

BL01We went up our normal route on the Ptarmigan Ridge and down the tourist path.  I love the view you get after just 15mins or so of climbing ….

BL02Jonny & Frances (nice hair band Jonny!) …. BL03

On the way up it’s mainly fast walking but there are a few sections where you can run …BL04

Steven led the way up and was going really well. The final push ….

BL05As it was Steven’s first Munro I felt he deserved a photo on his own next to the trig point.


Then we told him he has to climb on top as this is the highest point he’s been.

BL08We also got a photo of us all.


The key part of this run though is the downhill as it thrashes the quads and strengthens them.  As soon we headed down Steven was away. Katrina described him as a puppy let of the lead.  We didn’t see him until the bottom.

The rest of us made of our down running all the way.  We passed a couple of groups of walkers who were interested to know what we were doing.  It was left to me to explain we were training for the 44 mile Tour of Skiddaw race. Each time as I left them I could hear them saying to each ‘That’s impressive’ or words to that effect!

We arrived back at the car park in 2hrs 32mins so a good steady effort.  Next week we’ll aim to be a little quicker as our quads strengthen.

Time for a final photo before heading home …BL09

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