Northern Skies*

I have a soft spot for Scotland. In my younger days, I spent a lot of time there, and know (or knew!) its mountains very well indeed. I had family in Glasgow until not long ago, too. I didn’t take a lot of persuading to enter the Scottish Masters Open Championships in January, as a way to start my competitive season on the track. I also hoped to spend some of the weekend seeing my sister and her husband, who had not long moved back to Glasgow. However, their Christmas card came from New Zealand. The lengths my family will go to avoid me….

My strongest recollections of Glasgow come from the many hours I had spent in the past, waiting for the midnight coach to London from the Buchanan Street bus station. In the 1970s and 1980s this was notorious for its drunks and tramps, and contributed greatly to the “Rab C Nesbitt” image of Glasgow. Happy to say that the place appears to have changed enormously, and the city was a really good venue for a weekend away.

I even managed to take in one of the best folk concerts I have ever been to. The cognoscenti will be amused at the thought of Dick Gaughan and Dave Swarbrick fronting a seven piece Canadian reggae band, with three backing singers. The segue of “My Love is like a Red, Red Rose” with “No Woman No Cry” will stay with me for ever. Fantastic evening.

 The five lane track in the Kelvin Hall arena has mountainous bends, even by indoor track standards. I was lucky to get lane 2 in my 200m race, and although I am weeks away yet from doing any speed training, so were most of the rest of the field. I won comfortably. I also managed to win the 60m a couple of hours earlier, by the closest of margins, with the decision going down to thousandths of a second off the photo finish times. That’ll teach me to pay more attention when I’m on my starting blocks, and not get left napping.

Less good was the cold I developed just before heading off to Glasgow. I’m pretty sure the endurance training I’ve been doing was a contributory factor. I’d not realised the effect the sessions were having on my overall health until I almost ran myself to a standstill about a week ago. Beware making every session effectively into a fitness test! I’m going to spend a few weeks experimenting with the “less is more” principle.

I’m about to get “covered” on the brilliant Web Atletica web site, which covers all things athletic in Italy, especially Masters. My Italian sprinting friend Andrea Benatti is a leading light in the running of the site, and has an “interview” with me going live very soon.. That web site is so good that I use it to get some of my information about what’s going on in Masters athletics in the UK. Such a shame that there is little prospect at present of the British Masters Athletics Federation running something that even comes close.

Southern Counties Masters Indoor Championships in a couple of weeks from now.

Tom

* Yes, the musos will have spotted the vague Nick Drake reference.

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