These days November has become synonymous with the mo…ustache, that is! We have become used to seeing men sporting facial hair in the name of fundraising for men’s health and as part of the Movember cause, there are now 17 Mo Runs taking place across the UK and Ireland. Having read some blog posts about previous events, Steve and I decided to sign up. In Scotland we had the choice of either Edinburgh on the Saturday or Glasgow on the Sunday, and since Sunday is a much more convenient day for us to travel to a race, Glasgow it was.
Since we’ve been concentrating on building up a good base and some speed ahead of our marathon training, we opted for the 5k option. Not only would we get the same race goodies, but having checked past results, we felt we had a chance of being quite competitive over this distance. We paid £18 (10% of which goes directly to the Movember Foundation, the rest to the assorted costs of staging the event) and for that were promised a nice route around Glasgow Green, chip timing, instant results, a medal, a headband and snacks/drinks. That seemed fair enough. There were also prizes on offer for the winners and for the best fancy dress, although runners were encouraged to sport a moustache for the event. Unable to grow my own, I opted not to stick or draw one on as I knew a stick-on would annoy me and a drawn on one would either be smeared across my face by the end or, worse, tricky to wash off and with me for days like in that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel draw on each other’s faces!
Our race was at 10am so we set off sound 7:30 to give us plenty of time to drive through, park, make our way to Glasgow Green and collect our race packs. Rather than park at Glasgow Green, we wanted to park in our usual car park in the centre and walk down as we wanted to call into some shops on our way back. The only issue was that some heavy rain was forecast which could potentially overlap with our race so we had to be prepared with a change of clothes in case we got drenched. This meant a bit of extra preparation, but I still found time to lay out my “flat runner” for a photo…which got infiltrated by a cat!
It wasn’t overly cold, but a bit chillier than of late so I opted for my Skins 3/4 tights and a very lightweight long-sleeved top. I also packed a light gilet in case of rain.
Once parked, we made a sneaky stop at a well-known coffee establishment for a toilet break and some pre-race caffeine. I was quite pleased to get a seasonal red cup, not realising that these were apparently causing some controversy :-0
We know our way to Glasgow Green (which was also where we finished the Great Scottish Run 10k last month) so the walk was easy enough and we had no problems finding the race HQ. We collected our race packs then got ourselves in the toilet queue. After that, we simply soaked up the atmosphere for a bit until it was time to hand our bags into the baggage tent.
Since it was Remembrance Sunday, we observed a 2 minute silence before being led to the start line. Although chip timed, we had been told that placings would be based on gun time and that anyone “in it to win it” should position themselves at the front. So we did just that. I was quite amused by the photographer who leapt out of the way of the charging runners right as we started, but he did manage to get the photo below. Steve looks great with both feet off the ground, while I look like I’m trying to calculate the 37 times table! No idea why I look so serious – I must have had my competitive head on!
The race itself was one loop of the course around the green (the 10k was two loops). We completed a kind of smaller loop which brought us back around close to the start line again, then an out-and-back section along by the water. Outwards was downhill along a leaf-covered and tree-rooted path which meant I had to watch my footing, then after turning around at the 2 mile point we returned back uphill towards the finish line.
Since I was racing and wanted to run hard, I probably headed out a bit too fast and had to reign it in a bit. Mile one ticked by in 7:47 (nobody to dodge around) but I was slower over mile two as the wind was starting to get up, I tired a bit and I was cautious of my footing over the squelchy path so clocked in at 8:09.
Throughout the second mile, I had been running a few paces behind another girl and as we turned for the return portion of the course I found myself cruising past her. This was the slightly uphill section and the wind was becoming stronger (a pre-cursor to the forecast rain!) but I ran strongly and stayed ahead of her.
By this time I was pretty much running alone – I couldn’t even see the runners ahead of me – but now had an excellent view of all the runners behind me making their way down the path. With about half a mile to go, the leader of the 10k race began to make his way down the path behind the lead cyclist (that race stated 10 minutes after mine) and I shouted some encouragement.
Still running strong, my watch bleeped to mark the third mile in 7:50 before I turned into the home straight. I had intended a nice sprint finish, but found myself running head first into a pretty strong wind. On the plus side, there were two photographers along that stretch and no runners around me so there was no doubt that I would be photographed – one of the photographers even gave me a few words of encouragement as I passed by.
I crossed the line and stopped my watch at 24:49. Not my fastest 5k, but as fast as I was going to do on the day. I was able to get a printout of my result straight away to confirm it.
I also collected my medal and a bottle of Lucozade before heading over to reclaim my bag. The rain was starting and we wanted to get away quite quickly so as not to get soaked, but not without taking a couple of photos first!
Once in some warm clothes, it was time for a coffee and a little treat. I picked a spicy mocha and pain aux raisins to tide me over until lunch (some yummy Mexican!)
Checking the results later on, we were pleased to find that Steve had been 6th overall and I had been 20th out of a field of 230 5k runners. I was also 4th out of 129 female runners. Given that the top 3 all ran faster than my 5k PB, I’m really pleased with that 🙂
Overall, this was a great event. It was well organised with loads of friendly staff. I particularly remember the marshals along the route being brilliant in their encouragement, especially the one positioned at the turn into the home straight. For me, this was £18 well spent for a nice race which supports a charity and gave us a couple of nice race goodies. If you haven’t tried a Mo Run, then I would definitely recommend checking them out next November.