Through the dunes I ran. The damp sand filthy coloured and pockmarked as if the record of a thousand feet before mine were being held up as a badge of honour. Downwards I ran scattering the sand as I went, but feeling no resistance or any urge to move onto the surer footing of the sprouts of green I saw flecking the ground beneath me. The hill ended, and I rounded a corner seeing the way open up before me. As I ploughed forward, I saw a movement ahead. Unmistakable, a snake rearing it’s head, glaring at this unwitting intruder. As my eyes adjusted to the scene, I noted another, and another. I felt their presence behind me, and in any case were I to now falter I would be done for. I pushed forward, and the snake I had seen ahead made his move flying straight toward my thigh. I managed to swerve this attack, but this was clearly the cue for this band of brothers and I was not so lucky as further strikes came…
I woke with a start. It was dark, and checking my clock I found it was 4.50am. Thankfully there were no snakes in the toilet, and as I came back to bed the main question on my mind was why on earth the sound track to this dream was ‘Love Me Like You Do’ by Ellie Goulding.
I did then manage to get a bit more sleep without any reptiles before my alarm went off at 6.15am. I noted that it was now light outside, which makes waking up quite a lot easier, as do unsettling dreams involving killer snakes. Worse still, as I made my coffee, I still hadn’t managed to get Ellie Goulding out of my head.
It’s good being back on the train and being able to read and watch the world go by. Today’s train didn’t leave until a quite luxurious 7.45am, and I managed to just about get there on time. As we left Edinburgh we had some blue skies to enjoy, this quickly turned to grey skies, then raining somewhere after Falkirk, but righted itself again as we got to Glasgow. As for which of the seasons I would encounter when I got there, this was anyone’s guess. Arriving into Possilpark & Parkhouse we had a clear day. I jogged my way along the route I had meticulously studied the night before and into the park. Quickly I realised that today might be a tough day at the office, but then, the clue was right there in the name of the park.
I eventually found the start line after
going the wrong way exploring a fair section of the park. At the start line I found a few of the guys from #12: Springburn I met last week who gamely managed to put up with me talking to them for a second week running. I also spotted some of the guys from Edinburgh parkrun as quite a healthy sized crowd started to gather for the first official event here.
Over the months I’ve been doing this I’ve encountered a few people that are also hoping to run all of the Scotland parkruns. I was at first of course devastated that what I was doing was not that unique, but once I got over the idea that I am no special snowflake, it’s been great hearing from other people on which courses they’ve liked and how things are for them. It’s been interesting hearing about what drives other people to take this on, and the way they’ve tackled it. Some people have even managed to just quietly get on with it, without any sort of self promotion whatsoever.
One guy I’ve been speaking to messaged me earlier in the week to say he was going to come down to Ruchill as well. I’d not seen him before the start, but I was keeping a look out.
The briefing got underway, and it became clear that me and my associates were stood on the front line. Though running is in no way hierarchical, I certainly know my place and quickly shuffled my way back a bit. As with most things in running, you know something is coming but it still seems somewhat surprising when it does happen. With that, we were off and winding gently left up a gradual incline. As the course snaked its way around the bend we saw a little further, daffodils reaching their end on the left and a bit fenced off on the right. We hit the top of this short climb, which revealed a short break in front of us before a second climb up. As we got to the top of this section an incredible view over Glasgow opened up to the right and just frustratingly behind me. I spent as much time as I dared looking in completely the wrong direction before we turned right and plummeted down a short section taking us to the bottom of the park. The surface during this section was a little uneven, and combined with a fair gradient this was quite a demanding descent (albeit quite a lot of fun). Seeing a sharp right hander coming up at the bottom, I position myself wide on the left to take the corner as wide as possible, thanked the marshal and settled into the long straight along the bottom of the park. I think it’s around this section that it started to rain a tiny bit, but before the end of the straight it had come to nothing as we started to climb again back to where we started. A sharp right hand bend onto a short steep ish section, a sharp left and round the bend past the start line. We’re being told to keep left, and sure enough we quickly see the greyhounds coming back at us. Simply getting us to turn round would be all too easy, so as a little treat we have a wiggle left, and a sharp right hander which takes us up a short sharp hill before another right hander launching us into lap 2. Mile #1 done in 7.10, and I was sure I had meant to take this easy. I’ve also lost count now of how many hills there are in each lap.
As I start lap 2, I spot my fellow Scotland parkrun adventurer and manage to get his attention by some sort of pointing / flailing combination. Thankfully he seems to figure out who I am, otherwise this would all have been a bit weird. As we climb again, I see on the right hand side a person in a long coat with a dog. The coat is done all the way up, and extends most of the way down their shins. It’s by mere chance that I notice that the trousers are fleece with a leopard print pattern. Now, either there’s either a new trend for fleece leopard print trousers that I’m not aware of (which frankly is not unlikely), or, they’ve just put a coat over their pyjamas to quickly take the dog out. This is probably completely fine normally, since until now there haven’t been 155 people running round this park on a Saturday morning. I can’t judge mind, I once went to the corner shop in my pyjamas and dressing gown. I wasn’t even a student at the time.
As we get to the top of the hill, the rain comes on again, and lasts until we’re down the hill and halfway along the straight. I wonder whether it’s possible that it is just raining in a small section of the park, because as soon as climbing back up to the start line it’s now blue skies and, dare I say it, kind of warm. Mile # 2 is done in 7.18, and this is a bit more like the pace I had meant to be doing.
We go round the uphill slalom past the start line, and this time I’m ready for Wizbit’s rollercoaster roundabout. I grit my teeth and it’s done for the last time, and down we go into the final lap. As we grind our way up the long climb for the last time, I realise that I’m
not trying hard enough quite enjoying myself. I completely forget to have a look at the view though, and before I know it I’m piling it down the hill again. Along the straight and I notice this time that there’s a fair sized pond on my right. Presumably it’s been there the whole time, but it’s taken me three laps to notice. Up the final short steep bit, and that’s mile #3 done in 7.22. No wonder this lap was quite fun… lap three is never supposed to be fun. Round the final stretch and just as things in running sneak up on you, there’s the finish line, hidden down a little hill round a bend. It seems that the world’s smallest rain cloud is now in this section of the park, so I bundle up quick before finding the chaps from Springburn for a natter.
As they’re off, I see my new friend and fellow parkrun tourer of Scotland milling around and we’re soon off to the post run cafe for a catch up. The sun is coming out again as well, or maybe we’re just not under the rainy bit anymore.
Scores! 40th place, 22.33