Category Archives: Race Report

Cowal Highland Gathering 5k


Picture by: Ken Clark

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I have just had a very busy week with the annual Cowal Highland Gathering where I am chairman and have just celebrated my 25th year of being involved in an official capacity with the Gathering. My involvement with the gathering was long before this as I had many happy years as a competitor in both the solo piping events and with the pipe band but now my piping days are long gone and last year I did take part as a competitor again, this time in the 5k road race and this year I was back again to try and better last years effort.

I spent all day on the games field and then rushed down after we finished to take part in the race. After wearing kilt brogues all day it was a relief to get into my running shoes to get going.

Arriving just in time to get registered and get a warm-up and jog, it was down to the start line. There were good number of runners taking part with a good quality field of club runners present and some of our friends here from Canada and the USA who were visiting the games. (Pictured below, our Canadian & American friends)

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Picture by: Archie Reid

(Above pictures by Ken Clark)

The direction of the race was changes this year and started at the Coal Pier out to Hunters Quay and back. A nice flat course so we new we were in for some good times.

For me, well all I was looking for was a personal best and pushed out trying to maintain a pace of 8.50 min miles. On the last half mile I really had to keep my concentration, which was hard as I passed people I knew and acknowledged their support. I dug deep and came over the finish line in a respectable 27mins 32 seconds which beat my PB by over a minute and seven minutes off my time from last year, so a job well done and all the training with Hawkins Running paid off.

This is now my tenth race with one more to go raising money for the Yorkhill Children’s Charity. My next race is the Great Scottish Run, which will be held in Glasgow in October.


Pictured here with my No1 fan, grandson Rory who came to cheer me on.


Bute 10k


Thanks to Archie Ferguson for this picture.

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I had a great day out at the Bute Highland Games, this weekend, catching up with some old friends and also taking part in the Bute 10k road race. The race was very well attended with 160 runners taking part. We had a great send-off and ran round the games field and then onto the road, which took us down into the town and along the promenade to Port Bannantyne and back. I always enjoy my day out at the Bute Games and this year was no exception but it was better taking part rather than just being a spectator.

We had great support out on the course with everyone cheering on the runners as they passed and the DSCF3248marshals looking after us on the the way. As I ran back into the town and started the short climb back to the games park I was overtaken by a woman who had some reserves left for that last push only to hear some people outside a local pub shout over to me “Go on Big-Yin, you can take her” If only I had it in me! I gritted my teeth and pushed on up the hill and back onto the track and onto the finishing straight, where everyone got a great reception from the crowds as they crossed the finish line.

DSCF3252My first Bute 10k was over and I enjoyed every minute of it, or all 58 minutes and 54 seconds of it, which was a personal best by just over 2 minutes.

This was my 9th race, this year, raising money for the Yorkhill Children’s Charity and I was joined by my son Iain and we both ran personal bests, Iain finished in 37 minutes which pleased our coach Derek Hawkins from Hawkins Running, who came over to Bute to see us race, so a good day all-round for Hawkins Running and Hill Runners.

My next race is the Cowal Games 5k on Thursday and then my final race of the year The Great Scottish Run, Half Marathon in October.

So far I have managed to raise £2,413.75 for my charity and I know I can do better with your help, so if you have not had the chance to sponsor me, please do so at

Dunoon Hill Runners – Volcano Run

IMG_0518I had a great day yesterday, taking part in the Volcano Race with The Dunoon Hill Runners. I joined the Dunoon Hill Runners this year and this is the first event I have been able to take part in and really enjoyed it apart from my navigation skills. Due to my error I ended up doing just over six miles rather than the four it should have been, but the one saving grace was that on my detour, I met up with fellow runner Shona Ritchie who had done the same thing and together we eventually found our way off the hill.

A big thank you to Kirsty Mundell for organising the race and to her and husband David for their kind hospitality afterwards. There is no better way to finish a race that with a few beers, a barbecue with good company. I will treasure my first hill-race medal, which as you can see by the picture was a piece of homemade shortbread on a string.

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Spot where I went wrong!

As I reached the top of the hill yesterday, I said to myself ‘never again’ but It’s amazing how those negative thoughts disappear once you complete a challenge and I will definitely be back next year and maybe I will actually run the course as it was planned!

My next scheduled race raising funds for Yorkhill Children’s Charity is the Bute 10k on the 22nd August. If you would like to sponsor me, please go to my JustGiving page

Glasgow Mens !0k

DSCF3039I had a great fathers day today and spent it running in the Men’s 10k in Glasgow. The highlight was being able to run over the Kingston Bridge I but never realised what a climb it was up and over. There were over 1500 men took part in the race today and everything went well and was very well organised. The race started at the Riverside Transport Museum and headed East along by the SECC, then around Finnieston onto St Vincent Street and down and over the Kingston Bridge, it then swung East and back over the river onto Argyll Street, up Buchanan Street and along past George Square. On leaving George Square it was back down to cross the river for the third time and through the Gorbals before crossing back over and on to the finish at Glasgow Green. I got my race tactics wrong today, not realising that the first 5k was rather hilly I went out a bit fast, which caught up with me on the second part of the race so much so that I started to feel a recurring injury come back and had to walk through the drinks station at George Square, loosing a bit of time. I however made it through and I reached Glasgow Green where the Yorkhill Childrens Charity Volunteer’s were out giving their support, which was a real boost to me through the final stage. As I turned into the finishing straight the atmosphere was great, with everyone cheering and supporting the runners. I crossed the line, looked at my time and realised that I had taken 20 seconds off my personal best so all was not in vain. DSCF3046 That’s my fifth race in six weeks so its now time for a bit of recovery and believe me I need it. My next scheduled race is Bute Highland Games 10k in August but in the meantime I will be continuing my training schedule with Hawkins Running and continuing to raise money for Yorkhill Children’s Charity. Please support my efforts by going to my JustGiving page and making a donation if you have not had time to do so. I really appreciate the great support I have had so far. DSCF3056DSCF3069DSCF3065 DSCF3063

Polaroid Vale of Leven 10k

IMG_0093This morning I completed the Vale of Leven 10k. I was in two minds about taking part in the race as I had a very busy Friday and Saturday, not getting home till late in the evening and have just recovered from Man-Flu and all the men reading this will realise what that takes out of you! All that said and done, I managed to pull myself out of bed early this morning and head for Lomond Shores, where the race started. This was the final race in the Polaroid Series and again very well organised with a big entry. The race route took us into Balloch Park with a reasonable steep climb at the beginning but then round and out into Balloch and back along the picturesque canal side to the finish at Lomond Shores. I have really enjoyed taking part in the Polaroid series and must thank the organisers for all the hard work they have done and especially the marshals at every race who were always on hand to direct us and give encouragement to everyone as they made there way round the course. I look forward to taking part again next year. Oh! It looks as although I have committed myself to keep running after my ten-race challenge raising money for the Yorkhill Childrens Charity is completed. Since I have started running, I have been buying running magazines, listening to running podcasts and reading running blogs to learn about training, injury prevention and leading a healthy lifestyle and diet. I recently read a very compelling article on the benefits of having a plant based diet but on the way back from the race today I stopped at the burger van at the top of the Rest And Be Thankful for a coffee and a bacon roll and as I munched through the bacon roll all thoughts of plant-based diets were banished from my mind. If I can go out and run a 10k, I should not feel guilty about having one of the pleasures in life! 741081_454339197964110_1164678010_oI would like to thank my sponsor for this race, Argyll Financial Services Limited for their support in helping me raise funds for the Yorkhill Childrens Charity and don’t forget if you would like to help, please go to my Just Giving page:

Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10k Race


Ronnie’s Race Face

I had a great weekend at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Tina and I went through on Friday night, booked into our hotel, had a walk down to the start to see all the event staff busily working away setting up for the event the next morning. We then walked up the Royal Mile and went into an Italian restaurant for a meal. The restaurant was packed with runners; I knew this with the amount of Garmin watches that were on show. It was then back to the hotel for an early night as I would be up at 6.30am for the 10k race at 9pm. On walking down to Holyrood Park in the morning there was a great vibe about the place with everyone arriving for the event. I dropped my bag off and went for a warm-up and then made my way up to the start. This was the biggest race I have taken part in so far but as usual everyone was so friendly as we waited for the start of the race. 9pm on the button the race got underway and with so many runners, it was hard at first to get going but as soon as we started to climb up and around Arthurs Seat, which I did curse as it was a long climb but after a while everyone started to thin out. There were some great views across to Leith as we ran round Arthurs Seat and I took some satisfaction in knowing that I had reached the highest part of the run and it could only be downhill from here and it was but we dipped that far downhill, there was another short climb on the way back before a nice downhill run to the finish line at Dynamic Earth. Again I experienced that great feeling, when you cross the finish line, picked up my medal and t-shirt, had a chat with some fellow competitors, many who were also running for different charities and all for their own reasons. I read recently that success is making it to the start of the race and not necessary when and where you finish, so congratulations to everyone, who made the start.DSCF0212 DSCF0179   I

I would like to thank all who have donated to my fund raising so far and the Benmore Shop and Café who were my race sponsors for this event. If you would like to make a donation to the Yorkhill Childrens Charity, please go to


Not the only dinasaur today!

Polaroid Dumbarton 10k Race

Dumbarton 10kWell that’s another race completed in my charity challenge to raise money for the Yorkhill Children’s Charity.

Last night I took part in the Polaroid Dumbarton 10k and my sponsored for this race by local company Tents and Events.

I was feeling pretty good about the race and was ready to give it a go to better last weeks time and get under that hour barrier. This race had it high points and low points, I started off well making sure not to dragged along with others runners and kept to my own pace and race plan. The course was reasonably flat with a few small rises and falls, so what you loose on the up’s you gain on the down’s, the opposite to real life I suppose! At the 5k mark I was ahead of schedule with my fastest 5k time so far and feeling that if I could just keep to a 6min kilometre pace on the next half of the race then I would be home and dry, little did I know what was ahead of me.

As I hit the 7k-mark the runner in front of me suddenly came to an abrupt halt, jerked back and fell to the ground. I managed to grab him before his head hit the tarmac but it was obvious he was in real trouble. With the help of another runner we managed to put him into the recovery position and as that is as far as my first aid skills go but luckily there was a nurse running who came to our aid. The man had stopped breathing so the nurse administered CPR, as we got someone to call for aid and an ambulance. Thankfully the runner came to and started to breath again and then a few minutes later the ambulance and paramedics arrived and took over.

As there was nothing else for me to do and although a bit shook up, I managed to resume the race with the others that had stopped to help. For some reason my personal best attempt now was of no significance thinking of that poor man. I finished with an official chip time of 66 minutes and 29 seconds so considering I had to stop for a while to help a fellow runner, I was happy with my performance and will just have to wait until another day to get my PB down.

I have learned a couple of things from this experience, firstly that I need to take a course on basic first aid as I did feel a bit helpless and it was fortunate that there were others who could assist and the need to get properly checked out by your doctor before taking up any form of regular strenuous exercise, which I had done before embarking on this challenge.

Sadly I will not be able to take part in the third of the Polaroid races at Clydebank next week due to other commitments but I am looking forward to the Edinburgh 10k on Saturday 30th May.

If you would like to donate to my fundraising efforts, please visit my Just Giving page and give what you can afford.

Polaroid Helensburgh 10k

    IMG_0015IMG_0012 I had a really enjoyable race this week in the first of the Polaroid 10k series in Helensburgh. It was a perfect night for a run, dry and sunny although there was a bit of a stiff breeze on the way back. The organisation was excellent and thanks you to all at Helensburgh ACC for being such great hosts, to their army of volunteers and marshals for their support and encouragement all the way to the finish and to the people of Helensburgh, who came out to support the runners. I was slightly nervous at the start of the race, because my new coach Derek Hawkins was also running and I new he would be looking for me to give it my best. I started well and decided that if I kept to a steady pace of 6 mins per kilometre then I had a chance of breaking the hour, which would be great. For the first 5k it went well and I was on schedule, having just run under 30mins which was my fastest 5k to date, then on a slight down hill, when I should have been making up a bit of time, I started chatting with a fellow runner which knocked me off pace slightly, I then decided to take some water on at the 6k point promptly choking as I tried to draw breath and drink at the same time. I managed to recover and realised I had to make up some time and tried a last push to the finish. As I came into the last 200m it was good to see the friendly face of Kenny Taylor from Dunoon Hill Runners, cheer me on. Kenny probably had enough time to finish his race have a shower and a drink before seeing me come in. I now knew I wasn’t even the first Dunoon runner home! I just missed out on my goal time by a minute but happy with a new PB and know it will not be long before I get that monkey off my back.


Derek Hawkins

I collected my medal and my goodie-bag and went for a change of shirt, a cool-down and stretch and have a well-earned cup of tea and a scone. Oh! How things have changed for me since taking up running. I stayed around for the presentation and was delighted to see that Derek had won the race with an incredible time of 30mins 30 secs. I went over to catch-up and congratulate him but him but he was more interested in my time and how I got on and talking about my preparation for next week’s race in Dumbarton. So that’s my first 10k completed and I can now look forward to next week, where I can do it all again raising funds for the Yorkhill Children’s Charity.

The Kiltwalk

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That my second event of ten now completed for my fund raising campaign for Yorkhill Children’s Charity. I just got back from a weeks family holiday in Disney Paris, where I must have walked miles only to fly in at 10.30pm last night and then join the Kiltwalk this morning. As you can see by the picture there is no better way to finish that with Pasta and a Pint!
If you would like to make a donation to my Yorkhill, then please go to my JustGiving page –

The Dunoon Ride and Run (28th March 2015)

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Well my first race completed, I did it! I had a great day taking part in the 1st Dunoon Ride and Run for many reasons.

I got my picture taken with Graeme Obree (The Flying Scotsman) – cycling legend, two times world pursuit gold medallist and twice holder of the renowned hour record, who was the guest of honour at today’s event. Graeme also took part in the cycling race and yes, he did win it and on a recycled bike, not one of the high-tech ones he usually races with. I also found out that we both have something in common: Graeme also supports my chosen charity, The Yorkhill Children’s Charity.

I really must take this opportunity to thank the organisers PA23 BID – Destination Dunoon and No Fuss Events for putting on this event. It was a fantastic experience for me and I enjoyed every minute of it.

People make events and that will never change. When I used to take part in running events back in the late 70’s and 80’s people were the same, full of enthusiasm and encouragement for each other. The only thing that has changed for me is that they all seem so much younger now!
Sitting here at the computer, I am looking back on the day with many fond memories. From mingling about and chatting to competitors and supporters before the start, to when the race started and all the runners who gave me encouragement as they flew by me until I found my pace. Thankfully I met with Linda Nairn and Shona Ritchie who seemed to know what they were doing and I then managed to settle in to a comfortable rhythm with them.

The first stage on the map seemed to be an easy run until I realised the organisers had put in a slight twist on it, sending us through a wooded area in Hafton where even dog walkers do not venture which seemed more like a Tough Mudder than a trail section. I managed to get though it and traversed the next section, which I thought would be tough going with the conditions underfoot. I need not have worried because I had the company of Jean Bryson for this part of the race – we both just talked our way through the section and it was over before I knew it!

A quick drink and it was then onto the Dunoon Stadium for a sprint of two laps of the track! “Sprint” may have been taking it too far, more like a reasonable canter. Then it was the long traverse to the Bishops Glen. On the way it was great to see some of the local residents at their doors and conservatories cheering on the runners as they passed. As I arrived at the start of the stage, the Marshall said: “Well done, only another three miles to go”. I did not say to him what I was thinking at that point and just went on my way. I have run up the Bishops Glen many times in training but for some reason my legs were starting to feel the worse for wear this time. The momentum kept me going and before I knew it I was on the downhill and onto the promenade for the run home. I’m sure the local council extended the promenade for this race or maybe it just felt like it.

As I came into the finishing straight I was met with the most wonderful of welcomes I could hope for – there were all my grandchildren with posters saying “Go Paps”. I could not help but go up to them for a hug only to realise that I had not clocked in my timing chip. So no matter what you see, I was at least two minutes faster than the official time.

The other highlight of the day was taking part in the event with my two sons, Grant and Iain, something we have not done since the Innellan fun run back in late 80’s. The only difference being that I used to beat them back then.

For those that have been following me on Facebook, this was just my first event of ten, which I am doing to raise funds for the Yorkhill Children’s Charity. If you would like to know my story and donate, please go to the following link