Thursday, 1 December 2016

Calderglen Harriers 10km Trail Race, 24th June 2016

The trail race organised by Calderglen Harriers is of significance in my time as an athlete. I ran the race back in 2001 as  a 17 year old and became a member of the host club later that year. This really launched my distance running career. Until then I had mainly competed on the track, with varying success, from 100m to 1500m. For the record I clocked 44:43 that night. My Calderglen debut came in September 2001 with a time of 39:22 in what was then called the Paisley Pattern 10k. There is still a 10km race there though over a different course. You also have the irony that I now work in the Renfrewshire town.

Trail is by no means my favourite or strongest surface but I've tried to support the Calderglen event when possible. This would be my 3rd attempt at the race in 4 years, missing out in 2015 because it clashed with the 5000m in Watford. Attending a race straight from your work is never ideal but with lack of time this is what I did on this occasion. I'd had a Mens League match 12 days earlier with some acceptable performances, 3000m steeplechase (9:57.11), 1500m (4:17.99) and 5000m (15:26.89) so continued to be in reasonable form. I caught up with a few people and was briefed that the first kilometre or so had been altered due to landslips in the park. Handy to know.

I had a conservative start, letting a few others lead me round the unfamiliar opening stages. Once on the trails properly, positions started to establish themselves. Luke Traynor, home for the summer from his US scholarship at Tulsa, was the class act in the field and simply picked his moment to break away. Neil Renault (Edinburgh) gave chase, leaving me in 3rd under pressure from Grant Baillie (East Kilbride AC). The Calderglen course is a tough, undulating one with few opportunities to build momentum. The trail is also in poor condition, heightening the probability of a twisted ankle or similar. Neil is a man not afraid of mileage with marathon times in the 2:20s to his name and had even run the 5km race earlier in the evening. After halfway, I made an effort to close him down and, at around 6km, overtook. Local pride had kicked in and, even though I wasn't feeling at my best, I was on home turf (or trail I guess) and determined to put up some resistance. I held him off until roughly 1.5km to go when we approached a hill with stairs leading up from the River Calder. Neil overtook me here and held on to the finish. The race saw a repeat of the 1-2-3 at the Scottish 10,000m Track Championship in 2014 with Luke 1st in 34:55, Neil 2nd in 35:15 and me 3rd in 35:26. Grant was 4th, only 2 seconds adrift of me.

I had got away with the odd missed run and inconsistent training for just over a month but it told on the trails. I put the race down as a great workout and also really enjoyed chatting to so many old chums. Former Calderglen coach Jimmy Moore presented the trophy bearing his name to Luke, however, only after he promised not to take it back to Tulsa with him. It does after all have to be returned for the following year's race.

Full results of all the evening's races and previous years, including my appearance in 2001, can be found here.

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