"We're only making plans for Nigel" so sang XTC in their 1979 hit single. If only Joe McKnight had followed their lead he would have been £100 richer today and the proud winner of the 2010 Nigel Barge 10k Memorial Road Race.
The Nigel Barge is one of Scotland's oldest road races, being run now for more than 60 years, however the route has changed over the years and now starts at Garscube Sports Complex on the northern edge of Glasgow. The undulating route consists of a two lap course, consisting of an internal loop of the grounds before making its way upward onto Bearsden Road, along Dalsholm Road, onto Maryhill Road and back to the sports complex. After the first lap Cambuslang's Robert Gilroy was winning with Inverclyde's Kevin Kane sitting on his shoulder with McKnight, the Garscube Harriers' Captain, a little behind in third spot. However by the eighth kilometre mark, McKnight had made his move and had opened up a lead of some 200 metres on his rivals. He entered the sports complex and was first to cross the finishing line but it was all to go pear shape as he later learned that he had forgotten to run the internal loop before crossing the line and was therefore disqualified. Kane ran the full 10k route to earn gold in a time of 32:24, just three seconds ahead of Gilroy.
In a great day for Dumfries Running Club, the 'Doonhamers' took first and second prize in the women's race and collected the women's team race prize too. First home was Joasia Zakrzewski ,who obviously did not leave all her speed behind in the Chile desert, crossing the line in a time of 38:50. Her club mate Mhairi Duff (pictured) earned silver with 39:12 and Bellahouston Road Runner Jane Simpson placed third with 41:08.
After the race Joe McKnight told www.scottishrunningguide.com: "Aw man, I knew I wouldn't be able to live this one down! There was no marshal and I didn't think we had to do the wee extra bit both times. Doh!"
The race commemorates Nigel Barge who was killed in action in Dunkirk during World War II. Nigel was an outstanding officer who trained as a Royal Engineer and was killed at Dunkirk. He came top of his class at Woolwich ("The Shop") and had helped prepare and map defences around Dunkirk and had assisted in the repairing of small craft to ensure the debarkation of his comrades. He was also a licensed pilot and a keen athlete. Nigel's father was Kenneth Barge, late of the Bengal Lancers, a member of the committee of Maryhill Harriers. The race has run every year since 1943.