I’m not sure if it’s a sign of getting old or being passionate about running but we decided to forsake traditional Hogmanay celebrations to have an early night and do 3 races in the same day, on New Years Day. I’m happy to go with being passionate about running 😉
Truth be told, we’ve not had a heavy night at Hogmanay for a few years as I did the Edinburgh Triathlon at the start of 2015 and did the 3 runs (Perth Parkrun, Dundee Parkrun and Blairgowrie 6k Fun Run) at the beginning of 2016 and as Allison missed the runs last year due to a stress fracture it was great for us both to do all 3 runs. We weren’t that bothered about staying up to see New Year in so we went to bed around 10.30pm so we could get a good night’s sleep and be fresh for the challenge ahead. Dedicated or what?
We started off with Perth Parkrun at 9.30am and with a chill in the air, base layers were needed. When I did these runs last year, Dundee went first so it was nice to do it the other way round. Starting with Perth was mentally harder as I’d just run it the day before but my performance today was much better as I was able to run each mile quicker than the one before albeit the whole thing was done slower as I needed to save energy for the other two. After yesterday’s 19.55, today’s 21:18 felt much better.
With Dundee not starting until 11.30am, we had time to go home, get a drink and get organised for the next 2 races and so we set off. Dundee’s course is completely different from Perth’s with a downhill stretch from the start, what felt like a rather long uphill stretch, another downhill bit on the way back and a nice wee uphill bit to the finish. They say to expect to be between 1min 30 and 2mins slower than Perth. While we were making our way to the start, it was good to see quite a few familiar faces from the Perth run. Perth and Dundee are around 20 miles apart and it was good to see quite a few people who had travelled from Fife to take part in both. When you do these kind of events, the atmosphere is always good and you get chatting to like-minded people who have decided to give up their morning to do these runs.
The Dundee course is also more sheltered and so the course was less muddy than Perth but more of it is on trail than path, like Perth. It’s good to have that different challenge and in this one, I felt I wanted to go a little faster than the first one but in mile 2, my body reminded me that it had already run that morning! I still felt quite good in the last stretch and crossed the line in 21.49. We didn’t have as long after this one and so it was straight off to Blairgowrie for their 6k Fun Run.
This usually has a field of around 200 runners and is also open to walkers, who start at 12.30pm, kids, who follow a shorter route and start at 12.45pm and then the runners go off around 1pm. When you go to do more than one event on the same day, the main thing is to be able to keep warm between each event and try to get a warm up to keep the legs ticking over and avoid injury. In our case, it was a jog from the car to the town hall to register and go to the loo before the start of the run. It was already 12.45pm and it was also raining, which we hadn’t expected given the sunshine we had become used to, Fortunately the rain stopped just before the start of the run and so the sun was back out for us when we started.
I hadn’t thought much about the pace for this one, just thought I’d let my body decide what it wanted to do. As it happened, this race turned out to be the best of the 3 probably down to it being the last run of the day and so I didn’t have to keep anything in reserve. The first mile was all about trying to find a straight line to run in due to the numbers and the road layout but as I settled into mile 2, I spotted Sonjia and Neil from Perth Road Runners in the distance and I found myself speeding up to try to close the gap. It’s good to pick out someone ahead of you in a race that you can use to pace you and pull you along. It wasn’t until the start of mile 3 that I drew level with them after another running friend, Richard, who had used me to pace, passed all of us. I went past Sonjia and Neil and knowing that a downhill stretch was all that was left before a left turn and a sprint to the finish, I was happy to stay a few yards behind Richard, hoping that he wouldn’t know I was so close. We took that left turn and I dropped the hammer, picking my knees up and driving with my arms, I passed Richard and flew to the finish line. It felt the best I’ve finished a race for some time. Certainly the best this year!
Allison being able to do the 3 races made the day even more special after missing out last year. It was also great to spend time afterwards to chat to everyone, friends who had come out just for this race and those who had done all 3, all of us glad that we didn’t have to run any more for the rest of the day! The big races are all good but sometimes it’s the smaller events that can generate the best atmosphere among runners and even better when some local runs work together to encourage runners to take part in more than one event that day.
How did you spend your New Year?
Footnote: Thanks to the photographer who turned out at Blairgowrie and captured the main photo on this post 🙂