The special bond that unites long-distance runners was in full display at this year’s Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run – and none were it more prevalent in than Alistair Garroway.
The uplifting display of human spirit and endurance in these events are exhibited by few greater than North Lanarkshire representative Alistair.
The 50-year-old has completed a multitude of long-distance events in his time, despite suffering a car crash 23 years ago that initially left him out of work and with life-long back issues.
This doesn’t deter the Rutherglen man from living life to the fullest and helping other people through their problems – as was displayed at last weekend’s Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run.
Alistair’s long-term friend Gary suffers from Crohn’s disease, and having completed the Edinburgh marathon together three years ago in a time of 4 hours 39 minutes, Gary’s ability to run long-distance races has diminished.
Having signed the pair up for the first Stirling marathon last year, Gary’s illness prevented him from taking part.
Alistair remembers the moment he lined up without his usual marathon companion.
“It was like, ‘Where’s my wee running partner, my pal?’ It was quite sad,” he said.
“He’s had quite a lot of surgery this year. He’s been in hospital more than he’s been out.”
Thankfully, Bank of Scotland’s ‘10 week to 10k’ challenge, allowed the twosome to reunite on Sunday – to the pleasant surprise of Alistair.
“It was by pure chance,” he said. “I was South Lanarkshire and he was North Lanarkshire. He saw the advert and said I should apply and we got selected – I was quite chuffed at that.”
The pair made the most of being back in each other’s company, to the cost of Alistair’s partner Mary Dunsmore, who also competed.
“My girlfriend complained about us being too boisterous and making too much noise!
“The runners kept everyone going. Me and Gary are the kind of people that shout and make sure everybody’s okay, because we’ve all had our issues in the past.”
Despite wanting to achieve a personal best, Alistair’s concerns quickly changed when he had Gary and Mary next to him at the start line.
“My priorities were motivating my girlfriend to get around, and motivating Gary getting around.
“My training hadn’t been the best. I wasn’t going to kid myself! It made it a much more fun day, that’s the ethos of it.
“Me and Gary have a laugh and a joke, then go and have a couple of beers and a kebab! I really enjoyed it.
“We had a lot of joy in the VIP tent.”
Alistair was running as part of the Community Challenge, launched by sponsors Bank of Scotland to help get Scotland active – with the programme in its second year.
The campaign aims to recruit one runner from each of the 32 local authorities in Scotland to take on a ‘10 week to 10k’ running challenge.
This atmosphere was shared by Dame Kelly Holmes, who was sat next to Alistair’s table. Alistair recalled the moment Dame Kelly met Gary.
“Gary asked, ‘Who are you?’ and she said, ‘I’m Dame Kelly Holmes.’ Then Gary said, ‘And what do you do?’ He didn’t have a clue who she was!
“She was an absolute joy: very approachable and spoke to everybody. I think she quite enjoyed the banter too!
“The whole day was brilliant. I really, really enjoyed it.”
Bank of Scotland is celebrating its 10th year as partner of the Great Scottish Run.
The Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run 2019 is now open for entry, offering both 10k and half marathon distances. To find out more and enter click here
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