Jimmy Irvine Bella 10k 2018

By Stuart McGeachy

Over the past few years the Jimmy Irvine Bella 10K is one of the popular 10K races CRC members sign up for and this year was no exception with seven members running. The weather conditions turned sour an hour before the start with heavy rain pouring down on the competitors...never good being soaked before the start of a race! The start line was jam packed with nearly 600 runners huddled up the near the memorial in Bellahouston Park, but still enough space to get a decent start.

The gun went off and I tucked in behind the lead pack before gingerly trotting down a sharp descent, which was even more dangerous with large sections of wet leaves from the surrounding trees. By the bottom of the hill I could see a familiar face, Drew Dutton, blasting past me and getting stuck into the lead group...hoorah man! At this stage the big fella didn't appear to be showing any ill effects of his 4000m short XC race the day before!

By the end of the first mile I've managed to catch up with Drew and we're working well to keep with the guy in 4th position. I reckon we're approx 10-15m off the lead guy, so well in contention. We hit a part of the course that has a section of head wind, which appeared to be affecting the runners in front but I was still feeling strong and gain a few metres on the leaders. By mile 2 I can sense Drew is beginning to fall back, but no real surprise given the race he had the day before. Drew is an absolute machine, and one of the toughest trainers I've came across, but the efforts from XC have taken the edge off him as I know with fresh legs he would have been comfortable at that pace. Still, we both manage to take over take the guy currently in third to put us in third and fourth position respectively.

Miles 3 and 4 were consistent but only made a marginal gain on the leaders. However, by mile 5 I can sense the top two are tiring and I soon take second place running on the section of street which runs parallel to the park. Just over a mile to go and I'm feeling really strong. We soon turn the corner back into Bellahouston park and approaching a small hill which takes to a sharp turn before heading up the steep hill....and I can sense the leader is struggling! I increase my pace slightly and test him on the first hill, and it's clear to see the gap is closed significantly to only a few metres. We make the sharp turn and start the ascent on the steep hill up to the memorial and I managed to catch him before the top...however we're approaching the sharp downhill with wet leaves we faced at the start....jeest don't fa' on yer arse at this stage!

I carefully dodged round them as best I could though I could sense the guy I took over from second place earlier had also taken the initial leader and was clearly throwing in a strong finish. We got to the bottom of the hill and there was approx 600m to the finish. I lost a bit of time on the downhill due to be overly careful, but I was confident I'd have enough on the flat. We're now merging with the runners doing their second lap and the road isn't as clear so having to dodge a few who have headphones on! A bit frustrating as they were totally oblivious to the lead bike advising them to move over! I had to stop for a group who basically ran to the same direction as me as I tried to avoid them, so this added a bit of stress as lost my rhythm...nearly there though!

400m to go and the organiser send the leaders off on the a different path for the finish, so nice and clear with a good straight. I took a quick glance back as I approach the finish but thankfully have a good enough lead on second place runner. I cross the line in a PB time of 33:22!

What a surreal feeling to get first place on such a popular race! My first win in a race in the central belt, so absolutely ecstatic, and the PB was the cherry on the cake! Drew crosses the line in 34:43 to finish fourth overall, which is quite unbelievable! I'm certain if he had fresh legs he would have been up pushing the leaders with me for a podium finish. Really great to see two CRC runners finish in the top four of this race, and hopefully we'll get similar success with some other runners in the years to come.

Big James 'creamy' Murdoch finished in a solid time of 42:29. The big man is heading in the right direction again for getting into the sub 40 times and no doubt if he sticks at it will be back close to his PB days of 36mins. Let's hope he can keep injury free for a while to achieve that.

Next in from CRC was Susan Turner, who had just returned from illness that week to finish in 46:41. This is a great time, however I'm certain if Susan never took ill that week then there would have been a significant chunk of time taken off that. Susan's son Gary was meant to run with her, but he just buggered aff at the start and finished up with a 39 min 10K! Whit a boy...cannae believe he left his mammy! I spoke to Matthew at the end, who was spectating in the miserable weather, and he was just shakin' his heed at him :-)

Elaine McGeachy finished in soon after in 47:47. This was a really frustrating time for Elaine as I know how much effort she has put in lately, but unfortunately it didn't happen on the day. It's still a good time, but I know Elaine is in shape for at least a 45 min time. Sometimes you can't put your finger on it, but I've no doubt she'll sort it for the next one.

It was good to see Rachael Pirie running again finishing in 55:00. I spoke to Rachael the day before and she advised she is just back at the running since the MOK, so didn't expect to get the time she got in May, which was an excellent 51:12 (massive PB!). However, to not have ran consistently since May, and still only be a couple of mins off your PB in a tougher route is excellent.

Finally a wee mention for Jennifer Martin. Unfortunately Jennifer pulled out after a few Km as not feeling 100% after a tough 4000m XC race the day before. Definitely the right decision if your struggling, and in those conditions even worse! It's been a great year for Jen so she had nothing to prove for this race as achieved a great 10K PB last month at the GSR. Plenty more to come from Jen for the XC season leading into 2019.

The weather conditions dampened (literally!) the occasion a bit, and I think i may have been the only person who enjoyed that race! Let's hope the sun comes out for next year :-)