It was a cold, frosty and emotional morning at Pollok Park on Saturday, February 20 as an amazing 257 runners assembled for Glasgow parkrun 61. Although a number of big guns gave the weekly 5k time trial a miss to participate in the Scottish National Cross Country Championships in the afternoon or the Kirkintilloch 12.5k race on Sunday, the ranks were swelled by an influx of charity runners and walkers raising cash for the children's Make a Wish Foundation.
Bark in the Park
Making his sixth appearance, Stuart MacDougall (SM25-29) sprinted off at five minute mile pace to take an early lead. However he was overtaken in the first lap by the chasing pack of Ross Bark (25), James Breen (44) and Al MacLachlan (50) and that's the way it was to remain as the Stranraer athlete raced to a convincing win raising his arms skywards as he crossed the line in 17:47. Hamilton's Breen just managed to hold off a strong challenge from Bellahouston Road Runner MacLachlan to claim runner-up spot in 18:29, one second ahead of the super veteran.
Harder Than Auld Reekie
In the women's event the first prize went to Denise Muir (40) who crossed the line in 21:48, 75 seconds more than it took her to run the much flatter Edinburgh parkrun the week previous. The Portobello runner beat Solihul and Small Heath's Samantha Barrett (38) by 46 seconds. First time parkrunner, Maureen McGarvey (F40-44) placed third with a time of 22:38.
Immediately after winning, an emotional Ross Bark explained that he had made the 170 mile return journey with his wife and daughter to take part in the run to help him cope with the loss of his mother in law Mariel who had sadly recently passed away. He had therefore raised both hands as a celebration and pointed to the sky in memory of his mother in-law who he dedicated his win to.
In this week's Age Graded competition, Irvine's 58 year old Jim White scored 81.69% with a time of 19:18.
Al MacLachlan's fine performance keeps him at the top of the Men's Points Table with a total of 905, 114 points ahead of second placed John Gilhooly, with Ian Goudie of Kilmarnock Harriers third on 688.
Jeanette Whiteside sits at the top of the Women's Points Table on 770, 116 points ahead of Sophie Mary Parcell, with Bellahouston Harrier Erica Christie in third spot on 578.