Broughshane 10k

I went into tonight’s Broughshane 10k not really expecting much. Despite my best intentions I’d only run once since last week’s jaunt up to the Brighton Marina so I knew tonight would have been quite the struggle … or at least I feared that’d be the case.

The reality was a bit different. Beforehand. I had two objectives, namely don’t come last and be relatively pleased with my performance. With that in mind I suppose I can write tonight off as a guarded success.

Weather wise it had been an interesting day. Lots of thunder, lightning and heavy rain earlier in the afternoon and more forecase for exactly the time of the race but, come the start, it was a glorious summer evening, a perfect night for a run.

The start was also the most picturesque I’ve experienced to date, beside a river and in landscaped grounds, befitting of Broughshane’s status as the ‘Garden Village of Ulster’.

It was also uphill. Ok, it was only a little rise but it was still strange to run uphill at the start of a race … thankfully it then dropped quite steeply before going onto the main road through the village.

Of course that meant I went off far too quickly – my fastest opening kilometre since I started measuring runs with a Garmin …. and we all know what that means. True to form I felt the pace after the first mile and, perhaps, my lack of running recently came home to roost.

I ran with a group of ladies from the club for a while, which was good, but the pain in my legs meant that I wasn’t quite able to keep up. I had them in my sights all the way round the course but I just couldn’t catch them.

However, after a couple of miles, I was joined by Mairead – one of the two tailrunners – who offered to run with me the rest of the way. I was most appreciative of this because the company was good, and the chat kept me focused on something else other than my legs, comparing running stories and experiences.

She also kept me going when otherwise I might have stopped plus there was the added incentive of the other tailrunner encouraging a couple of others behind us … they were about a minute further back, but we could hear them and there was no way I was letting them catch us!

The course, as it left Broughshane, turned into a bit of trail which was a new experience for me but, at the same time, was a bit of fun.

After a short while we were back on good old tarmac but then the heavens opened! And how they opened! It was torrential – and there was some good old thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure – but I didn’t mind, not really. In fact, I had more sympathy for the poor marshals being stuck out in it waiting for us slow coaches to pass.

Up to a certain point quite late on in the run I was on course for a PB. It didn’t happen due to a couple of quite steep hills that I just walked up but, as I said at the outset, as long as I was happy with my performance tonight then I wasn’t going to worry too much.

By and large I was happy. Maybe not because I went off too quick but, timewise, it was amongst my quickest competitive 10k, and faster than my last three races, although still someway off my PB.

Well done to everyone who ran tonight in those conditions, and many thanks to Mairead for helping me round. I hope I didn’t complain too much!

Relive my run


Being at one with nature (almost!)

I’m in Brighton at the minute, a city renowned for being one of the cultural hubs of England, a city where anything goes, where no-one cares who you are or what you do.

So, with the sea air in my nostrils and a spring in my step, I got up at the ridiculously early hour of 6am and went for a run to a nudist beach, as you do.

Well, that wasn’t my intention, but that’s where I ended up. My plan was to run from my hotel to the marina, little did I know where it’d take me!

Coming out of the hotel, I have two options – turn left towards the marina or turn right towards the Pier. I’ll do the Pier run some other morning before I go home but, for today, it was the marina, as much to explore what’s up there as to go somewhere different … I’d walked around the Pier area yesterday.

Rather fittingly, no sooner had I crossed the road to get onto the seafront I ran into a statue of Steve Ovett, a renowned son of Brighton and former Olympic gold medal winner, world record holder and all-round decent runner 😉 …… well, I didn’t quite ‘run’ into it – that would have been silly – but I had literally only gone a few yards when I saw it.

After stopping for a quick pic, I headed onwards towards the marina – or where I thought the marina was, I was running on instinct – and immediately encountered lots of other runners. That was brilliant. I love that. Normally, at home, it’s just me out and about on my own, but this morning there seemed to be someone every 30 seconds or so. Fantastic!

On I went before, much to my surprise, I spotted the sign for the naturist beach. The what now? I’m a simple country boy from County Antrim, I know not of such things!

The beach seems to be concealed behind a mound to keep it from view but could I resist a wee run up the pebbles to the boundary signs to see what I could see? Of course I bloody well couldn’t!!!!!!

Much to my relief (I think!) it was deserted …. well, what would you expect at that time in the morning? I know it was bright and sunny but even the most foolhardy of naturists would be mad to get their bits out that early!

Onwards, however, to the marina. As you might expect, it was full of boats and yachts and so on. The more I ran around it, the poorer I felt. This really is a place for the rich, famous and well off to hang out, not a street urchin like me!

After a quick lap of a bit of the marina I turned to come back and spotted, along the boardwalk, the Brighton Walk of Fame, much like the famous one in Hollywood. All the Brighton greats were there ….. Winston Churchill, Graham Greene, Kevin Rowland, Steve Ovett, Abba.

Wait! What? Abba? Honest, there’s a plaque there to Abba, that well known Brighton band. A quick search later showed they won the Eurovision Song Contest in the Brighton Dome in 1974, so I suppose they count.

Anyway, I turned back for my hotel, past the naturist beach again but I couldn’t resist stopping for a quick selfie. Thankfully, the area was still suffering from a lack of human bits so I did my business (the pic, the pic!!!!) and moved swiftly on before I was spotted.

An altogether pleasant wee morning run. I’ll do the Pier run later this week, I’m looking forward to it already.

Relive my run


“It’ll not touch ye”

I don’t like dogs, and I’m pretty convinced dogs don’t like me.

It stems from my childhood.

As a young lad growing up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles strewn 70s my earliest memories include ‘owning’ a black dog that, apparently, protected me to the extent of growling at my mother should it have decided she was going to punish me for some misdemeanour or t’other. So I did like dogs up to a point.

It makes me smile now knowing that it had a distinctly un-PC name given today’s standards but was a perfectly acceptable moniker back then.

By the way, the irony of me having a black dog as a nipper isn’t lost on me given how things have turned out for me as an adult. You’ll either get that or you won’t.

When I was nine or ten years old I was attacked – without provocation – by two big dogs. One was an Alsatian, the other a Labrador – so not exactly wee tiny things. I was walking down an entry near my house, they jumped over a hedge, bit me twice on the back of each leg and ran off. That was me scarred for life when it came to dogs.

I try to avoid them at all costs. And when I’m out on a run I’m always scouring the road ahead in case I spot one so as to allow me ample time to change my course without neither the dog or it’s owner spotting me. It’s a real nuisance at times because it means that certain pleasant routes are ruled out because of the very real chance of some mutt sharing the space with me.

So what has this got to do with tonght’s run (finally, he’s getting to the point!)? As I said, I try to keep an eye out for them and avoid certain areas. However, tonight I didn’t spot any and was beside a field so thought to myself ‘why not?’, it was a nice night and I fancied a wee run on grass.

But, ohhhh no, that wouldn’t do, would it? I got halfway across the field and spotted one pooch – complete with owner, but off it’s leash – darting across the grass headed in my direction. The owner called it back, it heeded. However, I turned around and searched for the quickest exit to get me back on good old trusted, canine free tarmac.

Panic over, all was well again you’d think. Aye, right!

As I turned around there was this beast of a thing a few yards away from me. A bulldog type, only bigger, with it’s owner coming sauntering along some distance behind it obviously more concerned with his phone call than my immediate safety. I’m pretty sure this ‘thing’ was eyeing me up for some sort of early evening snack.

“It’ll not touch ye,” the human finally offered. My immediate thought was “I don’t f**king know that!” so I froze on the spot until the dog lost interest in me taking care, of course, to pause my Garmin!!!! There was no way I was running away from it!

Anyway, that aside, tonight’s run was fairly uneventful. It was deliberately very easy. I’ve decided to enter the Belfast Half Marathon in the middle of September so, using the schedule given to me by the MyAsics app, went out on my first training run – 3.1 miles.

The app suggested an easy run so I made a conscious effort to be comfortable, not really pushing myself, but somehow still managed to end up turning in a progressive run with the last mile being a good minute faster than the first. Go figure.

Relive my run