Great Scottish Run: a student’s guide on how to own it

Published

Credit: Geograph / Thomas Nugent

Rory Clark
Sport Editor

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, here’s everything you’ll need to know for Sunday

Last year, a rainy September afternoon in George Square failed to batter the spirits of 30,000 runners piling onto St. Vincent Street for the Great Scottish Run. The gun would go and they’d simply take off, the elites and the club runners carving a path which would become increasingly trodden as the day went on. Muscles ached, bones compacted relentlessly and joints squeaked and stretched but by the time we all reached Glasgow Green, (after the finishing straight that seems to go on and on) elation, ecstasy and endorphins mixed together to create a cocktail of sheer pleasure. The sense of accomplishment is hard to beat. Randomers congratulate each other with hearty pats on the back, boys and girls in rival slips cross the divide and give in to a jovial show of mutual respect and all you can hear are incessant choruses of congratulations. It is one of the biggest public events that Glasgow has to offer for good reason.

Whether you’re running the 10k or the Half Marathon, you’ll now be in top shape and raring to go come Sunday morning. Here, it’s important that you do you. Before you leave the house, have a good breakfast. There’s no Atkins here, get some complex carbs into your system pronto! Get spruced up. Then, focus. Before you leave the house, you want to get into the right frame of running mind. For me, no song can do that better than Salva Mea by Faithless. However, there are still a few things you have to check. First things first, clothing. If you’re one of the brave souls competing in a morph suit for a charity of your choice, then Godspeed. Running thirteen miles in the equivalent of an internal oven is not my idea of fun. Of course, you’ll be battling the elements as well as the set course. Provided we are blessed with good weather this Sunday, a vest and some good old short shorts will likely do the trick. More importantly though, get your kicks right. Do you value support? You should. Whether it’s Asics or Adidas, Nike or New Balance, make sure they’re doing at least some of the work for you. Regardless of the distance, you’ll be pounding at the pavement for a good chunk of time (this isn’t your ordinary Sunday morning breezy park run) and the twists and turns of Paisley Road West and Bellahouston Park can be tricky to negotiate at the best of times. Apart from that, all you need to bring is yourself and don’t forget your safety pins, you’ll need them for your number. Also, a little Vaseline will go a long way…

Although it sounds hard, once you’re in the pen you’re ready to go. You’re focused entirely on the task at hand and so is everyone around you. Don’t underestimate this because it’s a huge help on the day. To see so many people collected together to do the same thing, in good spirits and champing at the bit is some buzz. Adrenaline will be coursing through you here so once the gun goes, resist the urge to go hell for leather and take time to ease your way into it. Remember, you want to be doing the overtaking, not being overtaken. This will only sap at your morale and you’ll get kicked from your mindset pretty quickly. Once you have negotiated the immediate hill of St Vincent Street, you’ll be running more or less on flat ground for the remains of the day. Take it mile by mile, they’ll keep ticking down faster and faster. Last year, there were pipers at each checkpoint which is a lovely touch by the organisers. It will keep you sane when the going gets tough. Don’t forget that you’re running in Glasgow too, which means the public will be at their glorious best by the side of the road. If your name is on your jersey, it will most definitely be roared from the side of the road.

Finish line in sight, you will be spent. You will be tired. You might want to give in. Don’t. The home stretch is intolerably long but keep going because once you’ve broken the tape, you will want to chase the feeling again. If you want your arms aloft, rightly triumphant, do it. If you want to hug your fellow athlete, do it. If you want to break down into tears of joy, do it.

Good luck and good running. I’ll see you there.