Glasgow Frontrunners OUTrun Weekend Report
“Tune” shouted Graeme as Florence and the Machine blasted out of the stereo in the minibus. It was getting to that stage of the trip when half of the 16 runners on board had polished off copious alcoholic drinks and were getting boisterous. The demands for louder and better music had become incessant, and Florence hit the spot (as did Rihanna, Mark Ronson – and Gretna Services!)
We had visited Glasgow in 2015 for the local Frontrunners 5th birthday, for which they had organised their first ever race. It is an unusual distance – 5 miles – and an interesting route as it wends its way through Kelvingrove Park, crossing from side to side of the Kelvin river. It takes place on the weekend of Glasgow Pride, so a colourful time to be in this fair city. Knowing it was a good event, we promoted it heavily amongst club members and the 2016 version became our biggest ever away trip, with 25 runners and supporters making the journey.
There was an intimate get-together of the various Frontrunner clubs on the Friday night when we first arrived, with a smattering of members from Manchester, London, Glasgow, Dublin and our newest addition Liverpool chatting over a drink.
Saturday morning dawned clear, but as the minibus made its way to the start the sky darkened, and on arrival at Kelvingrove the heavens opened. We collected our numbers at the great backdrop which is the bandstand arena, and hurriedly retreated to the shelter of the minibus.
By the time the race was due to start the rain had cleared, and suddenly everyone appeared from whatever shelter they had found. A mass warm-up ensued, led energetically from the stage of the bandstand by Kerry Murdoch from Troon Dynamic Fitness (http://heygyms.co.uk/0786843/Troon_Dynamic_Fitness_-_TDF) , and then we walked to the bridge where the race starts. We had been joined by members of Leeds and Edinburgh Frontrunners overnight, meaning the whole UK & Ireland contingent took part.
After a few words from Race Director Richard Allwood, we were off. 300 runners – an increase of 100 on last year – took part, and quickly became strung out along the course. Around 500m in we rounded the top of a hill and were serenaded by female drumming outfit SheBoom, giving a bit of motivation to tired legs. Then it was down to the river and a 3 miles or so of out-and-back section amongst tree-lined paths, including a lovely section where the leaders turn back and retrace their steps past the following pack, so everyone gets to see and shout out for their pals.
At 4 miles we knew what was coming, as we had run down it earlier – the hill from hell. Even those who had taken part last year found this tough going, but words of encouragement from fellow runners helped (in my case Joe Carne from Manchester Frontrunners), and before you knew it SheBoom were in sight (and sound) once more. Joanna even found time to stop and take photos while enjoying the tunes, being a member of Newcastle’s own Bangshees drumming band. The last 500m is a pelt downhill, a run through the kids’ swings, and a final sprint over the bridge to the start, where Richard was doing a great job of reading people’s names from their race numbers and announcing them across the line – a very nice touch.
Goodie bags featured several snacks (I particularly liked my Worcester-sauce flavoured popcorn), and a great t-shirt in fluorescent orange. The award ceremony was kept mercifully short by Jason, the President, but long enough for me to collect a prize as fastest over-50 (though in truth I was second – the true winner, an amazing runner called Ken, was also first of all Frontrunners and took that prize). We posed with our orange tops, and then it was a dash back into town to get ready for the afternoon.
We took part in a soggy Pride Parade, and a few people attended the afternoon’s Pride events, but most chose to keep warm in the amazing West pub where we managed to find a table big enough to take all the NFRs present, with a side-table of EFR.
In the evening there was a Frontrunners ceilidh at the Tron Theatre, and it’s a good job there aren’t separate men’s and women’s roles, as we had trouble mastering the simplest of moves – but had a hoot. As we get to know more of more of the other Frontrunner clubs, these events become like birthday parties where everywhere you look there is another familiar face. This weekend we were rejoined by former member Gary McCreadie who now runs for Liverpool FR.
The die-hards continued partying into the small hours at the Polo Lounge and other spots, while the sensible (boring?) ones went to bed by midnight. On Sunday morning 3 of us joined GFR for their Sunday run along the Caledonian canal, and then we met up for a final brunch before hitting the road south. Great memories, and looking forward to 2017 already.