Monthly Archives: August 2019

Hay Lodge parkrun, Peebles, Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dougie Nisbet

I’m a big fan of parkrun. Not that you’d know it given how infrequently I do them nowadays. Especially in the North East where we’re spoilt for choice. Probably something about Saturday mornings and 9AM, and running something short and fast and early. But whenever I’m away on holiday or for a short break, it’s the first thing I look for. There’s something great about parkrun tourism; turning up in a park, looking for the flags, and having a run with a bunch of others in a new place.

We were up in Peebles for the Tour of the Borders, a nicely sized closed-road sportive with great routes that’s become a favourite of mine. Although I grew up in Edinburgh I was born in Peebles and spent tons of weekends exploring Hay Lodge park as my grandparents lived in the cottage over the road. It’s a great park and it was inevitable that one day it’d have a parkrun. The parkrun wasn’t there in 2018 when I was up for the Tour of the Borders, but when I checked the parkrun website for nearby parkruns this time I was thrilled to see that it was going strong and on its 40th week while we were there.

In Scotland it’s a 0930AM start, and the park was only a short walk from the hotel. It was a misty morning but the rain was holding off and the start area was pleasantly atmospheric. Like many parkruns it suffered from lack of space, so the route had to do 3 laps of the park to get the distance in. It was also a bit hilly, both up and a pleasantly iffy descent on wet, autumnal paths that suited my sense of fun though perhaps not for everyone.

The quirkiness of parkruns always appeals to me. From the 2500 parkrunners in the Durban parkrun, to the 80 we had here today. Different crowds, different weather, different routes. It’s all good. I’ve never met a parkrun I didn’t like.

Despite the small field I was intrigued to see some seeding suggestions at the start. Sub 28 sounded fine with me and I slotted in to the huddle waiting to go. And away we went. The usual unavoidably tortuous route to string people out. Along a bit. Round a bit. Back a bit. Then three laps. Quite interesting ones. I liked especially running alongside the wall at the top of the path, then the fast descent to return close to the river.

My time, as I expected, was continuing its inexorably journey towards the thirties, but I wasn’t worried. I find it very hard to race parkruns, so to enjoy them I need to treat them as a threshold run or a exploratory jog. It shapes the day and the weekend to come.

World Transplant Games – Track Events, Gateshead Stadium, Thursday, August 22, 2019

Shaun Roberts

Gateshead International Stadium was the venue for the athletics at the Games … I had entered the 400m, the 800m and the 1500m, being the longest available distances. I’m not at all sure I have much in the way of fast-twitch muscle … but whatever there is I’ve tried to train up a bit over the last couple of months. Nonetheless, I approached this lot with more than a little trepidation … also: “It’s all about the taking part!”

1500 metres

Lovely race, with more action than I had expected. Andrew Lewis, another GB runner, and firm favourite for this one after doing very well at the BTG, lead off very firmly, followed by a good Irish runner. I tried to keep up with him on the first two laps, and he came back to me in the third, so I had hopes of a Silver medal. Not to be, though, as he had more left in the tank on the last lap, and went past me again. Good race, though, and I was delighted to get a Bronze, my first track medal at these games. Quite pleased with the time, too … 5m 54s.

400 metres

My 400-metre time really isn’t much to write home about, but at least this was a good race. The outright favourite was out in front from the start, followed pretty briskly by a South African, who seemed to be going well. Heading into the back straight, though, he seemed to be slowing down a tad, so instead of my cruising home for a Bronze medal, perhaps contemplating a wave to the Gateshead crowd, I dug in and tried to reel him in. On the line I was sure I was still half a yard down, but did a big dip anyway … and was amazed to see the results come through: I’d got the Silver by 0.08 of a second. Well-chuffed!

800 metres

Brilliant first lap! Was in the lead at that stage – pity they didn’t stop the race then … Slowed down somewhat over the next lap, and the two who’d been in front of me in the 1500m went past … tried to hold on, but one more overtook in the final straight (nice bloke, good to see him get a track medal, tbh), so no medal in this one. Probably good for my mental health, not getting a medal in each race! Pleased with the time, mind (2m 57s) … a recent PB, and nearly 30 seconds faster than three months ago when I was trying to qualify …

Overall, this has been a fantastic week! Good to come away with some medals (two Silvers and a Bronze), good also to be fit enough to give this a good go, and above all, good to simply be here. The atmosphere amongst the athletes and supporters has been amazing … everyone’s got a story to tell, and a lot of them are very, very moving. Great to have been a part of it.

World Transplant Games – Bike Road Race, Hetton Lyons, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Shaun Roberts

Baptism of fire in the road race on an undulating course at Hetton Lyons. This was a combined 17-lap race for all the 60+, 70+, 80+ men – first over the line sets the end of the race.

Pushed very hard at the start, but got dropped by a breakaway of six. Managed to keep my foot on the pedal for the full hour, though, and only the leading two got a lap on me. So ended up 7th of 24, which I was pretty pleased with, as there were some proper cyclists here.

World Transplant Games – 5K, Town Moor, Newcastle, Sunday, August 18, 2019

Shaun Roberts

After the recent British Transplant Games, the very local World Transplant Games, within a couple of miles of where I spent quite a long time in hospital, couldn’t come soon enough. Good to start the week with the 5K, which I thought was my best chance of doing well, having picked up the Gold in Newport. The course was changed close to the last-minute, from, I think, the normal parkrun course, to a shorter version, two laps, due to a circus pitching on the route! Obviously, pretty flat … but there was a fair wind blowing …

photo by Mandy Dawson

I set off fast, perhaps a tad too fast – perhaps a bit too much adrenaline coursing through the veins. Was ahead of the firm favourite to win the MV60s after the first lap … but then flagged a bit. The last section into blustery wind was a bit challenging … and yet, my band of supporters (you know who you are!) told me I was still second, so I was more than delighted to come away with a Silver medal.

Whoop! Can enjoy the rest of the games now …

Lakeland 100, Friday, July 26, 2019

105 miles/24000 ft climb

Elaine Bisson

My Lakeland 100 journey started at 4am on a Saturday morning in November 2017 as I travelled to the Lakes with Jules to accompany her on her first recce from Coniston to Buttermere. I was quite taken with the excitement and camaraderie surrounding the event. The route, 105miles of Lakeland trails, what’s not to like?! So when a big empty hole appeared after my BG there seemed nothing better to fill it with.

At 9am one September morning I was ready to enter when low and behold the system crashed and my chances faded. Cajoled by friends and my husband who knew I’d had my heart set on it, I got a charity place a week later.

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