South By Five 3 – Rx5 The Meadow
The race that nearly never was!
A good flurry of snow overnight on Friday meant a fun day of sledging in the park on Saturday. That same snow though by Sunday morning was compacted into a route full of potential hazards. Of particular concern was the long tarmac stretch and the waterfall bridge. Both these sections scraped past the early morning course inspection with a sigh of relief. The conditions weren’t perfect and there would certainly be no PBs but we would have a race!
Michelle went off to set up and open registration, whilst Alex completed the inspection.
Uh oh!! On leaving the meadow into the stylised “hammer turn” (no idea, ask Michelle!🤷🏻♂️; the sharp left turn, then sharp right down the steps) the underfoot conditions went from borderline tentative to outright dangerous.
9.06am – Michelle arrived for a conflab.
9.08am – Alex slipped on the steps which demonstrated the hazard!
9.10am – the race was cancelled.
9.11am – the social media post was typed out.
9.12am – bollocks to that! Open registration. We’ll create a new route!
9.13am – “race on” posted to social media
9.21am – Alex left the start line to work out a new route.
9.26am – first runner registered (early) for the unknown!
The race brief was complicated for the runners by two versions being vocalised simultaneously. One by Michelle and the other by Jim the Dog. For a transcript of Jim’s brief click here….
Into the Unknown!
The hastily assembled course was beautiful in a blanket of winterness. The brightly coloured arrows were in stark contrast to the white snow. A contrast added to by the army of hi-viz heroes, squeezed in from the expansive ‘standard’ route into the compressed alternate.
With (another) woof, woof, woof from Jim the Dog, the brightly attired runners set off up the hill. The difference in apparel layers quite amusing from short shorts and vests, to multiple garments and wooly hats!
After a lung warming climb, the route took the first deviation from standard, with a hard right into Strava’s alledged “unused bit”. Along with Rouken Glen Trail Race, this means we now have two routes using said unused bit!
The unused bit was a delight. A wee respite from the rest of the route, this is pretty much the only flat section. The branches hung low laden with snow, threatening to drop their load on the passing runners.
Back out onto the inner meadow and a section of the normal route. This bit is…. undulating….which is of course race director speak for hilly! Ayr Seaforth’s, Laura Wallace exclaimed “oh fuck look at that hill”!
Along from the wee rise, and along towards the inner meadow. The path was experiencing some adverse camber here, with the ever vibrant Michael Devlin exclaiming he felt like a ‘drunken haggis’!
Instead of exiting the meadow onto that “hammer turn”, runners were directed back round and up the meadow, and then up through the woods. Up, up and more up!
Exit the woods and start another lap. The interior loop would be completed two and half times before the route escaped the central park and headed back down the start hill for a speedy downhill sprint finish!
First to benefit from that downhill finish was the series leader, Cameron Muir, crossing the line in 19:16.
Closing quickly on the downhill was Grant Jeans taking second spot, trailing by just a few seconds. Richard Cooper (Cambuslang Harriers) held off a concerted push from the Sx5 attired Callum Wallace, to take the third place in 19:52.
The ladies battle…….
A familiar podium but a different order!
Juliette Linford (Glasgow Tri) leading home the trio in 23:23, to take a well earned victory.
Jen Conway (St Albans Striders) cruised home comfortably in 23.43. Judging by the ease of her downhill finish, her “school” report will read ‘must try harder’. Either that or she hides it well!
Julie Atkinson continued a strong series showing with a third place step in 24.19. Well worth the journey for the Lothian RC member.
Full results are here.
The results now show the current classification standings for the series. These are adjusted to remove your current worst finish of the three races. The classification standings only display runners who have completed enough races so far in tbe series to potentially complete the final standings.
The camera never lies
To ensure you all kept smiling the whole way round there was lenses pointed at you in multiple places around the route.
The resulting photos from those frozen camera folk are brilliant! They are mostly posted to the Acorn Trails Pinboard on Facebook, with the exception of Kevin Queenan’s photos which are posted to the main Acorn Trails page.
Huge thanks to the team for capturing your enjoyment: Kevin Queenan, George Wilson, Bill Oliver, Blythe Lindsay, Ian Cochrane, and Laura Lennon.
Hi viz heroes
As always we can’t do this without those amazing volunteers. If you thought it was cold for running, it felt even colder for standing about in! They were brilliant and adpated to the late changes to the course in true hero style.
Lynn Connor, Katie Tallon, Cedric Moreau, Debbie Wright and Paige, Angus Robibson, Steven Gilligan, Clare Taylor, Deidre Hoyle, Zuzana Recova, Nick McKerral, Becca Cram, Fraser Hill, Steven Prentice, James Chesnet, David Powrie, Mark King, Garry Smith and Connor & Leah, Michael McNamara, Charlene Harris, Damien McFarland, Callum Wallace and Conrad.
We’re off to Pollok Park for the Christmas jaunt! Mince pies, mulled wine and optional fancy dress. We’re running last year’s hastily adapted route following the feedback received! We’re saving the glorious Rhododendron Trail for the Pollok Park Trail Race in March. Enter that one here.
If you’ve entered the Queens Park event, there was options to add on South by Five specific t-shirts and buffs. That option is now closed.
You may have seen the 2023 Sx5 hoodie being worn by Michelle and Alex.
Anyone wishing to order that can do so on this link here….
Also available on that link are this year’s South By Five buffs and tshirts. With thanks to our amazing pal Sam for the design work.
See you all at Pollok Park