In the past we’ve often celebrated the New Year by going for a good long walk, but this time we hauled ourselves and our sleepy Beaglets out of bed extra early to go do a parkrun at Strathclyde Country Park. This is a different venue from our previous parkruns, and it looks set to be our favorite. For one thing it already has a small but dedicated core of cani-x runners, but over and above this it has an almost ideal course for running with dogs; most of the route is flat and straight with a wide band of grass running alongside it – perfect for overtaking – and the half-way point is clearly recognizable so it’s much easier to pace yourself.
Lining up at the start with my Biggly Boy, I had high hopes for a personal best, but as the starter noted, PB or not all runners were guaranteed their best time of the year so far! It was very exciting, and with Biggles, exciting equals noisy. I did my level best to keep his baying under control using treats as a distraction, and as the last piece of bone shaped biscuit disappeared into the black hole that is my boy’s stomach, we got the “go” signal.
He took off like a rocket, while I took off like a rocket with an ignition problem and a fuel leak, but between us we managed to overtake a fair number of other runners and find our place within the pack. We kept the pace up despite a few patches of ice, and when one of the marshalls offered us a lucky dip from a huge tin of Quality Street, we both resisted temptation.
As we came down the home straight I looked for the little tent that marks the start and end of the race, and when I finally spotted it, it seemed to be a good couple of hundred yards further away than I remembered. This is apparently a common experience for runners at Strathclyde; the organizers insist they don’t sneakily shift it further back during the race to prolong the torture, but I have my doubts! Regardless, we eventually we caught up with the evasive tent, crossed the line and took up position to watch for Susan and Beanie. We didn’t have long to wait – the two of them finished strongly and I got the distinct impression that we’d all be getting personal best times!
The start of the race. With all that grass alongside the track, it’s easy for cani-x runners to run as wide as they need until the pack thins out
Me and the Bigglet slowly moving up the pack!
Susan and Beanie on the outward leg of the course
When we got back home, we had a hefty dinner (steak pie & veg of course!) and crashed out in front of the telly, rising only to check the parkrun site for our times. When they appeared, it was PB’s all round: 24.06 for me and Biggles, and 32.19 for Susan and Beanie!
Biggles gets a well earned nap
Beanie hears the camera and strikes a suitably princess-like pose
But she can’t keep it up for long
Biggles reacts to news of his personal best time
What a great way start to 2011!