A weekend away with car-sharing always gives a good chance to get to know people better, and our trip to Glasgow was no exception. 3 car-shares went up, and people from the club who hardly knew each other were put together in tin cans to drive the 3-hour journey to our latest Frontrunner love-in.
We all came together at Gretna services, where no-one got married but the love affair between several members and junk food was rekindled (guys, how many times do I have to tell you that you need pasta before a race, not KFC!).
Hayley and Iona had got the jump on the rest of the team, taking advantage of cheap early-morning train tickets to travel up at dawn, with a cheeky G&T the sign of things to come. Graeme flew up from Cardiff via Belfast, and also partook of gin. Seems to be the drink of champions.
There was an early dinner and supermarket sweep (Kellogg’s discounted to 18p being a popular find) for the first arrivals, and a later hotel bar drink for those who couldn’t leave until work finished. No-one was foolish though, and all were in bed by midnight to aid race preparation.
We stayed at the Charing Cross Premier Inn which was ideally situated between the race start and the later Pride parade. We had only to cross the M8 and we were in the wonderful Kelvingrove Park, which contained the run route. Race collection was at the bandstand, and was remarkably smooth. The sun was shining, giving chance to sit in the coliseum-style seating terraces and to chat with Edinburgh and Glasgow Frontrunners while noticing the local running club vests (we are so used to seeing the green and white of Heaton, black and white of Tyne Bridge, and red and white hoops of Saltwell that it was great to see some novel designs).
The three Founding Fathers of Glasgow Frontrunners were reunited to start the race, organised to commemorate their 5th birthday, and fittingly they were given race numbers 1, 2 and 3. After some inspirational words from Run Director James Bohan (sporting a bushy beard that hasn’t yet found its way onto his Facebook profile) we were off. The run was never congested, though we did have to evade some dogs whose owners didn’t seem to get the concept of a race. We ran through sun-dappled paths and along the river, the route being mostly undulating. At 2.5 miles we crossed a bridge and started the return loop on the other side of the river, and all was well until 4 miles when a steep hill appeared out of nowhere. Funnily enough, as I climbed it I vaguely remember having run down it 30 minutes earlier, but it didn’t seem quite so steep then. Legs suitably full of lactic acid and muscles burning, I had to push myself through the last half mile to keep ahead of the young guy catching on me. I was very pleased to round a bend and see the bridge on which the race had begun and to cross the finish line in 12th place, though only 4th for the over-40s – it really is the most competitive age group and I can’t wait to turn 50 in January.
We all supported each other across the finish line, and I was pleased to join Graeme for his last 400m and inform him this really was the end – I’ve never heard someone so relieved.
There were cakes on sale to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust and a coffee caravan both of which we made use of, and then it was the prize-giving in the great arena that is the bandstand. Unusually, most runners hung around for this and there was a collective Frontrunners photo at the end.
We were immensely proud to see our founder Steven win first place overall, and therefore also first Frontrunner, and nothing could dampen our spirits – not even being moved on as they weren’t licensed to allow drinking of Steven’s winning prosecco outdoors.
We had a quick freshen up at the hotel and then went to Glasgow Green to join Edinburgh and Glasgow Frontrunners in the pride parade, and continued to enjoy the weekend with a GFR birthday quiz at the Trongate Theatre and onwards to Delmonica’s and the Polo Lounge. Stephen taught us how to do all the moves to Macarena, and I do believe Las Ketchup was also played. Cheesy? Just a bit. There were some sore heads on Sunday but it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and we made some excellent new Frontrunner friends.