This was definitely one of those Saturdays when you wake up, look out the window and decide “bugger it, we’re not park running in THAT”. The rain was battering down in the hills of the borders and it looked like the Tollcross Parkrun could be more of an Ark run.
Of course we had a word with ourselves (do you want to do this.. no, do YOU want to do this) and as neither of us wanted to be the one to wimp out we braved the monsoon and loaded into Mabel and headed up the M74 for another Saturday morning running round a park in Glasgow.
As we headed north the weather started to look a bit less apocalyptic, and by the time we arrived in Tollcross there were even small patches of blue sky making an appearance. The park is behind the big Swimming centre, but by employing our usual “follow someone who looks a bit parkrun-ey” method we found the start OK.
One of the first things you see in the park is a really cool looking olde Winter Garden glass house which looks like it could do with a bit of TLC but is still a really cool structure and one which no doubt harks back to past glories. Glasgow has a load of these wee parks dotted about and they’re all well worth the effort to visit.
The park runners and volunteers were waiting for us up in another throw-back structure, the bandstand. Race Director Helen took us first-timers through the route, and we couldn’t help noticing she used the word “up” quite a lot. The course is basically three laps of the park, and on the way round you’re treated to some cracking views out over Scotland’s second city.
On the up.
As you stand on the start line you can’t help noticing that theres an, erm, incline in front of you. OK, it’s not a Ganavan Sands incline but it still looked a bit of a bugger. With Helen’s apologies on behalf of the hills we set off on our way to ticking off yet another Scottish parkrun from the bucket list.
With a hill like this so close to the start the most important thing to remember is to take it easy until you get going. We didn’t and may have set a new record for the earliest recorded walking on a parkrun. OK, the previous evening’s gin probably didn’t help but it was clear pretty early on tis was going to be one of those “just get round” days.
The long draggy climb along the permitter of the park was fun the first time, and no less fun the next two. At least there was a decent Wheeeeee downhill bit around half way to let you catch your breath. In the briefing we were told there are 10 climbs on the 5K route…
Only 10? Felt like more.
It didn’t help we were dressed for arctic conditions and a few layers were shed at the end of the first lap. Once again Helen was on hand to collect the discarded clothing as we headed on up the big hill for the second time.
Yes, we know all parkrun volunteers are awesome (yes, yes you are) so we’re not allowed to have favourites…..
The hills didn’t get easier on the subsequent laps, but at least the finish funnel was getting closer. As is the way with lap courses we had to keep an ear out for the fast types who were pretty much finished while we still had a lap to go.
We did wonder if anyone would notice if we turned right into the finish funnel instead of left for the third lap.
Eventually (!) we finished and collected our tokens. Afterwards we joined our fellow parkrunners in the swimming centre for coffee and a chat about all things parkrun related. Considering how hard it was to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning it had turned out to be cracking day at yet another well organised, well supported run.
With cake. They had cake.