Last weekend saw members take to the track (and field), the regular 5k parkrun route around Newcastle Town Moor and the sun drenched streets of Edinburgh. But thanks to the exploits of Mal Steel we have a race report from even further afield. Enjoy.
After speaking to my friend Howie Scott from Bellahouston Harriers who had been to Tiree for the past 3 or 4 years I planned from January of this year to travel up and take part in the race.
Tiree is the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides . I was informed that Tiree experiences very little rainfall and the temperatures on the island are on average higher than many parts of the rest of mainland UK, and the beaches are stunning !!! That’s my Scottish Tourism part done
I have been a member of Bellahouston Harriers (Glasgow) from the late 1970’s the club have produced many top class runners including Frank Clement who in 1976 finish 4th at the Montreal Olympics of 1976 over 1500m. A lot of my close friends were sub 50min 10milers / sub 30 min 10km runners, I think in those days when your friends and club mates are running great times this helps the normal /average club runner improve and I am grateful to the Club which help me gain some excellent times which at present seem so far off.
I last ran for Bellahouston in 1995 !!!!! and apart from running the Canterbury 10 mile in Jan 2002 in 62.15 my only races had been 4 park runs in the past 2 years and 2 club 2 mile races at Jesmond Dene. I was fully aware that the 10km would be a challenge but felt I was improving albeit slowly in the last couple of months and should be well able to complete the race in a comfortable state.
We (Kim my partner) set off from Newcastle on Wednesday 23rd May and headed up to the Glasgow area to see friends and family, then drive up Thurday evening to Oban. I love this drive along side Loch Lomond it is uplifting I think I was looking more to driving along side the Loch than the 10km race haha
0545hrs Oban to Tiree Cal Mac sailing on Friday the weather was scorching and the weather report for the next couple off days were more of the same with a slight breeze on Saturday. My other 2 Bellahouston team mates (Howie and Graeme Gemmell ) were on the sailing. After checking into the hotel we cycled the 4mile to the race start area and viewed the start/finish area and the last 1km. The first 1.2km and last 800m were on the beach !!! The sand was hard packed so I cann’t use that as excuse for not breaking 35 mins !!!
I was surprised I was not nervous prior to the start. Graeme (who was a 35min 10km runner) was hoping for 40mins and was going for 4 min km’s, I didn’t wear a watch and really wasn’t bothered with my km splits nor my overall time I just wanting to get round and not be in distress. I set off and ran as slow as I could along the beach enjoying the occasion. Just before we headed off the beach a runner spoke to me and said at least the course is flat, I didn’t return any conversation as I was in deep thought. It was warm I don’t think i’ve ran in that sort of heat since the Belize half marathon 1986 !!!
At approx 4km there was a turn around point I noticed Graeme in 4th place Howie was in 10th place. The course wasn’t as flat as that runner had stated more undulating not overly hilly but I was noticing the hills. From the turnaround only 1 runner pasted me and I was catching other runners ahead of me. I closed the gaps then sat behind the runners for 200m or so then move onward to the next runner. This seemed to help with the Km’s markers pass by quicker – 6km I still felt okay just over 2 mile to go – Kim was going to be a the 9 km mark so just thought of that and that would give me lift I needed to get to the finish. 8km slight climb but still felt good I’m sure it looked as if I was crawling but I now felt I was flying. 9km up ahead spotted Kim with the camera at the ready, so tried to look good, after viewing the photos afterwards it had all been an illusion I was in pain and looked awful. Onto the beach I was stuggling now, felt sick and crossed over the line I could stop. Graeme came over 49.50 he said. I took a little time to understand as I was now feeling really bad.
So 49.50 pleased – yes it’s a start point.
Graeme finish 3rd in 42.40 Howie 7th 46.03 both of whom have run much faster in recent times. I don’t think the hot conditions affected my time really as I would have set off at the same pace .
Oh Mal, I wished you’d told me you were doing this race before you’d set off on your long journey. Not because i would have wanted to do the race, but i could have lent you some of my highly recommended (by dave moir) mega mix cd’s for your drive alongside Loch Lomond
I know how good you were in your prime (certainly far better than i’ll ever be) but to retain your passion for running after all these years is remarkable, and if i can match your enthusiasm for the next 30 odd years then it’ll be more satisfying than winning any race.
Keep up with the training and your times will come a tumbling.
Brilliant report Mal and TBH are really lucky to have your knowledge and experience getting passed on to us from you,us being the new club on the block .
I really believe that your times are going to plummet and your going to be 1 of our top category Veterans , as they say you never lose talent.
I reckon TBH should have a trip up to Tiree next year and I bet ye will be up there with Graeme and Howie by then.
By the way , I understood every single word of that report, ye talk much better Scottish than Kenny
This guy has done times us mere mortals only dream about, 69 minutes I think for half marathon if my memory serves me right, a great supporter of the club and always at races cheering on runners. So glad you are getting back enjoying your running again and most importantly staying injury free
Great report Mal, and a good effort.
I wish DD had lent you some of his world famous mix CDs as you could have skimmed them across Loch Lomond as you went past!!
A great read Mal it was also great to talk to you at the Vets relays in Birmingham. If anybody wants to learn about top level running and some great tales catch up with Mal. Top bloke
I enjoyed reading your report. Great stuff and great effort.
I was looking for Tiree parkrun and by chance found myself reading your interesting story about your own running challenges .Excellent report!
However the run I wanted to find was Tiree parkrun in Australia where a cousin was running on Sat and another cousin at Curl Curl parkrun near Sydney. which I have now found. They start at 8am due to the temperature!!
I usually run parkrun in Somerset in the 75-80 age range so my challenge now is to manage to move up to 80-85 next summer.. Its a big family of runners.
David German, Langport Runners,