The first race I ever entered was the Glasgow Half Marathon in 2001. I recently tried to find my result but all I found was a paragraph in the then Glasgow Herald:
“Congratulations to the 7,625 runners who completed the race. Results will be available in Glasgow libraries from Friday.”
Imagine entering a race now in which you only got your result a week later in a library.
For any kids reading this. Libraries are like a Kindle but in brick form.
When we were young Andrew and I would go to the local library in the morning to get a book each. We’d read the book in the afternoon and then return to the library to get another book to read in the evening.
Yes – we were the cool kids in school.
Myself, Andrew and one of his friends had entered the race. Andrew’s friend arrived at the start wearing a backpack that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Sherpa climbing Everest.
“Are you off to climb a Munro?” I joked.
The Sherpa didn’t laugh.
“No. I brought the backpack to carry my juice.” He pulled out a two litre bottle of orange.
I stared at it and said: “’You do know you get water on the course? You don’t need to bring your own.”
He looked at me like I was an idiot. “Of course I know that. That’s why I brought diluting juice!” He’d brought a two litre bottle of Robinson’s diluting orange juice.
How much juice can a man drink!? He either gets very thirsty or he was planning to open an orange juice stall.
The race started.
Someone from the crowd spotted the Sherpa and shouted, “are you off to climb a Munro?”
He didn’t laugh.
30 seconds later a woman from the crowd shouted, “are you off to climb a Munro?” This was going to be a long day…
My race was uneventful until I got to the nine mile point. I wanted to beat the other two. I looked at them. They weren’t paying attention so I started running as fast as I could. I’d run fast until I got to the finish line.
I ran hard. I saw the 10 mile sign in the distance. Not far to go now. One last push…I ran hard. I looked for the finish line…but there was no finish line. At this point I realised a half marathon is half a marathon and not, as I mistakenly thought, 10 miles.
I felt a bit stupid and the fast run had tired me out. I had to walk. The other two caught up with me.
“Why did you run off?” Asked Andrew.
I told them the truth…sort of.
“I was desperate for the loo….ummm…yes…that’s why.”
They continued running. I walked the last three miles until I got to the finish. I met Andrew and the Sherpa. The Sherpa offered me some juice. I said yes
He opened his bag to get it but pulled out a pair of boxing gloves.
WTF!!! Said the expression on my face. “Why did you run with them?”
“This is my boxing bag. Where else would I keep them?”
I had to admire his logic.
I’ve never seen him again since that day.