A wee race report from Jon Laing:
I signed up for this one to make up in some way for the disappointing Scottish Half Marathon in September, which did not quite hit the sweet spot due to some organisation issues, questions about the course length, and a very disappointing turnout of local supporters.
The previous week’s weather forecast for the GSR had been appalling, but thankfully things had changed, and instead of the predicted deluge with high winds, a cloudy dry day was forecast. I stumbled off the Edinburgh train at 09.30 onto George Square just in time to see the start of the 10k and was absolutely blown away by the huge number of runners, the amazing atmosphere and the massive turnout of spectators and supporters who were three deep behind the barriers all the way up St Vincent Street.
Once the 10k was away, the organisers immediately set about prepping for the Half Marathon start. The closest event in terms of size that I have entered is the EMF Marathon, and the pre race buzz of the EMF does not come anywhere close to the GSR. Must be the reserved populace of our capital (Or BOS throw more money at the GSR!). The whole day is just geared up for a massive celebration of running, charity support, personal achievement and enjoyment, and the Glasgow supporters really know how to let it all hang out!
The race started with the first wave of Elites and fast runners at 11.00, led by Gebreselassie, Mokoka Chemlany, Kiptoo, Kiplagat and co. whose trainer laces I am not worthy to tie! The second wave was away at 11.10, and the final wave (mine!) at 11.20. So it was press the start button on the Garmin and over the line at 11.30, straight up that ‘hill I wouldn’t normally tackle at the start of a run’ on St Vincent Street, all to the clamour of the Glasgow crowds. Just an amazing experience!
The course is varied, all road running on down to the Clyde , across the Kingston Bridge and along St Andrew’s Drive all the way to Pollock Park. Quite a few hills but nothing too challenging. Given the number of runners out there, I think some of the pathways in Pollock Park are a little too narrow for this size of event. I lost some time and rhythm threading my way through slower runners, but hey, that’s just to be expected in en event of this size.
After one circuit of the North Wood in Pollock Park, again with some fun hills, it was back out onto the roads and on up to Bellahouston Park with lots of support along the way: DJ’s and pumping music, pipers, drummers and brass bands. It was just a brilliant atmosphere!
The course took one turn around Bellahouston Park, then it was on up Paisley Road West, along Govan Road and onto Pacific Drive to take the runners back across the Clyde and onto the final straight all the way to Glasgow Green. The last couple of miles were just amazing, with massive crowds all the way, past the huge screen flashing up messages that supporters had logged online, which were triggered by your timing chip. Superb!
Finally, after 13 tough miles, it was into Glasgow Green with the big blue gantry a hundred metres away marking the finish, the perfect moment for that last push with the legs on fire to cross the line and pick up the goody bag and medal.
I can say hand on heart that this was the most enjoyable Half Marathon I have ever run. The GSR is an absolutely amazing event. Fantastic support, about 85% of the course is really nice to run, the organisation was second to none, the atmosphere amazing, and I would unhesitatingly recommend you put this one on your running calendar for next year. Entries opened even before the race was run, and I got my entry for 2015 in the day after, I enjoyed it so much!
Another great report from David H:
I read over my report from The Great Scottish Run 2 years ago when I said that I wasn’t that impressed with it and I wouldn’t rush back but that was partly because I was struck down with man flu and struggled badly. I thought I’d go back and try it again this year as there was a revised route and I had unfinished business. It surely couldn’t be any worse?
When I arrived I dropped my bag onto the baggage bus and then met Murdo, Russell and his girlfriend Cheryl. Russell had already realised he had forgotten to attach his timing chip to his trainer so he would be the ghost runner and not record an official time. Murdo headed off to the green wave start while Russell and I went to the white wave start but we had left it quite late so we were very near the back.It was very crowded and it took a good 5 minutes of stop/start walking to cross the start line but once we got going and headed up the incline of St Vincent Street it was busy but not too over crowded. Russell and I chatted away for the first mile but after that he pulled away from me and I never saw him again. I settled into a comfortable feeling pace and tried to enjoy the atmosphere. There was lots of support from the crowds lining the streets and a piper playing at most of the mile markers. I was a bit surprised when the 5k timing mat appeared quite quickly as we headed uphill towards Pollock Country Park. It was nice running through the park in a different direction to last time and I was definitely enjoying it a lot more as I continued to tick off the miles surprisingly quickly. I reached the 10k timing mat and was I was feeling good and generally overtaking people which is always a bonus. There was a nice downhill section and then we were into Bellahouston Park at about 8 miles. I was beginning to wonder when I would start to struggle as there is usually a point about 9 or 10 miles when the wheels fall off the wagon. If anything I was actually feeling better than I had at the start as we headed along Paisley Road West. I was tempted to up the pace a little but I knew there was still a bit to go and I didn’t want to push my luck.The route twisted and turned a bit before crossing the Squinty Bridge at about 11 miles beside the Hydro, Armadillo, SECC and Finnieston Crane. I was still feeling remarkably good so thought I might as well push on for the last couple of miles along the side of the Clyde towards the finish. I was cruising along, overtaking lots of people enjoying the support of the crowds and grinning away like a mad man unable to believe how good I was feeling! I got an added boost at The Great Wall of Support when I saw a message that had been left for me (thanks Russell) and that made me go faster and smile bigger! With just under 400m to go we turned into Glasgow Green and I could see the finish line in the distance. I upped my pace some more and I was flying along overtaking people left and right but it still didn’t feel like I was trying that hard. I really felt like I was just floating effortlessly along. I didn’t really want to stop and lose the feelings I was experiencing. I wanted to do the whole race again! However, I did reach the finish line and I was delighted to see that I’d ran my 2nd fastest half marathon and knocked a whole 9 minutes off my time from 2 years ago.I think it’s fair to say that my opinion of the Great Scottish Run has changed from when I did it 2 years ago. Last time I said I wouldn’t rush back, this time I’m saying that I’ll definitely be back next year! I thought it was a great event, the new route is much better than before, it was really well organised and the support throughout was superb. I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so good during a race before. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like that again but I certainly hope so! It was maybe just coincidence but it was a year to the day since I had my lowest moment in running when I failed to finish the Kielder marathon which just goes to highlight the ups and downs of running. There are inevitably going to be some bad days but they just help to make the good days even better when they come along. Next stop Amsterdam!