Christmas Runnings in and around Dunoon

Has anyone else put on half a stone over Christmas? Just me then? I reckon if I hadn’t gone a few runs over the festive period that would be closer to the full stone.

Yo ho ho etc

The Christmas Holidays got off to a good start with a parkrun on the 22nd. I had looked out an elf hat to wear but it had a bell on it which would have only been slightly annoying with every step I ran! A quick Asda stop on the way down to Strathclyde Park and I had bought the above hat / beard combination. The beard is lost already though.

Could not run with that beard on

My time was ok, I’m still not getting beneath the 25 minute mark that I’ve only managed once but I’m happy enough to be running around the 26 / 27 minute mark pretty comfortably.

My splits show that I still have a bit left in the tank going into the final kilometre so maybe it’s time to try running that first kilometre a little faster although it is pretty crowded at the start so I will need to move further forward nearer the start line, a move I’m not happy making!

Sunday I was meant to do a 75 minute easy run but I sacked that off until Monday, Christmas Eve, a day I had loads of other jobs to do, as you can see below.

My jobs

I got them all done by 6pm though, I surprised myself with that. The Christmas Eve run was rather convoluted. I started in Hamilton which was choc-a-bloc packed with last minute Christmas shoppers. I ran from Hamilton over into Strathclyde Park, did the parkrun route then came back over and ran around a playing field type area for a while before finishing at a statue of Scottish football legend Davie Cooper. He scored the penalty in 1985 that put Scotland into a playoff for the 1986 World Cup. I’ve never been so nervous watching a penalty and had to lock myself in the toilet. Jock Stein also sadly died that night.

Davie Cooper Statue

This is quite a nice area of Hamilton, the mausoleum is here and this is where the Commonwealth Games baton ended up one sunny evening in 2014.

One thing that slowed me down was the bridge into Strathclyde Park, it was awfully icy and I had to walk over it.

The River Clyde, I would be running past the same river in a couple of days where it is 2 miles wide

You can see from my split times below the two times that I crossed the bridge slowly, kilometre 2 and kilometre 9.

Onto Christmas Day, a drive to Dunoon for dinner with the family but first of all a stop at Cappielow!

Then onto a parkrun. This was the first time I had been to Greenock parkrun and what a friendly bunch they were. Someone was dressed as a zebra loads of people wished me a Happy Christmas as they overtook me! I was a bit too out of breath to say it back clearly so if anyone is reading this that thought me a miserable git then I’m sorry. There were a load of serious runners here and, because of the layout of the course, they run past you a few times.

Greenock parkrun start

The speed these people are the front go at is amazing, I can only imagine what kind of speeds Olympic athletes must go at, it’s not until you start trying to run yourself that you fully appreciate the fitness and athleticism of these runners.

Again, looking at these splits, I could push myself more at the start. An encouraging thing from this run was my pulse being lower than it has previously been whilst running, a sign of improving fitness maybe?

Then onto the ferry to Dunoon. It was a foggy day and here is a poor photo of a ferry emerging from the fog.

McInroy’s Point

Another great family Christmas Dinner in Dunoon. My Auntie Irene’s Turkey Broth was spot on as always and my cousin Moira did a great job with the turkey.

Table always looks great

Because I had that morning run I figured I could have 3 puddings!

I got home well and truly stuffed and had an early night.

Next morning I woke up around 5 and decided to go a run around Dunoon, right around the outskirts of Dunoon. Halfway up Kilbride Road I thought about sacking it off but I decided to just keep going, I’m glad I did.

The route involved starting at my Dad’s house on the dangerous Dunoon / Kirn border and running along the West Bay, past the swing park before turning right up Kilbride Road (which is surprisingly steep). I ran along there, past Neil Walker’s house send along over the bridge that I used to think trolls lived under.

From there I ran past where Highland Mary was born. My wife calls her Dirty Mary but that’s another story.

Along Alexander Street next and down McArthur Street, I missed out Cowal Place and Valrose because I couldn’t face that hill! Along King Street, down Jessie Place and then around to join Argyll Street at the Police Station. I ran out past the hospital and then onto Bencorrum Brae where I had to walk. You can see by my split times exactly where Bencorrum Brae was in the run, kilometre 6!

Next I ran along Ardenslate Road stopping for a wee seat on the bench at the school in memory of my Mum. It was nice stopping here, I would like to say i reflected upon life and how lucky I was to be able to do this at this poignant spot, but i was knackered and trying to catch my breath!

Next, left along Hunter Street, past the school hostel, round that weird curvy, scary bit with the trees, onto James Street past the haunted house (called Bonnie Blink I think) before turning left onto George Street and passing my old house. Then down onto Cammersrianach Brae where I got a view of the deserted ferry terminal that would be mobbed in a few hours.

Then back along to my Dad’s house where I went back to my bed, I was shattered!

So, here we are, lying on the couch on the 28th December, half a stone heavier, watching the darts and getting ready to start again with another parkrun tomorrow – bring it on.

As always, people can donate if they want to donate to the RNIB for me running the London Marathon at

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuartmtaylor

Thanks a lot for reading this, hope everyone has a great new year.