Thursday, 24 April 2008

A New Outlook On Running

First of all let me say a few things about myself. I am a retired police officer whose main pastime is either running, coaching, or spending too much time aimlessly navigating through my PC. And if I get past Solitaire it has been a weel spent few hours!
I am a member of Milburn Harriers down in the Vale of Leven the main town of which is Alexandria. That's it on your map just at the bottom of Loch Lomond. Suffice to say we're spoilt for scenic training routes, although many are tough, muddy and sometimes not too appealing when you're on your own. Great when in company though and weekend runs around the lochside and further afield are a staple part of most member's schedules.
"The Millies" train on Tuesdays and Thursdays leaving the Alexandria CE centre on Main St about 18.10 or ten past six at night! We're a mixed bunch, mainly vets (masters) and our activities range from road and cross country, through to hill running, marathon and ultra.
Indeed this very Saturday 7 of our members will be tackling the 53 mile Highland Fling from Milngavie to Tyndrum. For my part I'm driving kit, food and essential supplies including my massage table and oils. I'm also taking my kit, in case I have to run with anyone struggling to finish. Having run the London Marathon just two weeks ago I'm still suffering from the wear and tear that has followed, but that isn't stopping two of the club "Flingers", Geraldine who ran London and Jim who ran Dumfries Marathon from taking part. The training runs these two and the others have put in over the past few months puts the marathon into the category of a wee training run!!!
I will be posting my experiences of supporting the club runners as soon as I can after the race.

I also spend a lot of time coaching young athletes at West Dunbartonshire A.C. and as a jogleader with JogScotland, Alexandria group. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from both of these groups which are at opposite ends of the athletics spectrum. The young athletes are, in the main, enthusiastic youngsters with terrific potential. I have been fortunate to be involved with some terrific young athletes who have medalled at Scottish championships,Scottish Schools as well as district and county level. JogScotland started in this area about six years ago and hundreds of previously sedentary, mainly overweight, unfit adults have benefitted from the various groups in West Dunbartonshire as well as the many groups throughout Scotland. Many of these joggers are now members of Milburn and keeping up with them is the main reason I'm as fit as I am! They have gone from complete beginners, some of whom struggled to do the first session of 30 sec jog , 30 sec walk x 10, to regular runners in local 10ks, half marathons and even the marathon. Recently a group of them spent a week walking the west Highland Way a 96 mile all terrain walk from Milngavie to Fort William.
I'm also a member of the Dumbarton Area Local Athletics Partnership (DALAP) an organisation encompassing most of the local clubs, West Dunbartonshire Sports Development, Argyll and Bute council, schools and Scottish Athletics. Through that and just getting the profile of athletics in this area raised by any and every means available to me and others, I just want to get people out running. It's a great sport and the benefits are beyond just being fit and healthy.
I must say having got this down I'm looking forward to keeping it up to date with whatever I can post. Speak Soon!


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