AFTER 25 years of blisters, sweat and tears, organisers have announced that the Glasgow Women’s 10k has reached the end of the road. Numbers of entrants have gradually dwindled from just under 8000 in 2014, to 3200 last year, they say, but add that the event is ending as a success story, having achieved what it set out to do.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said: “The Great Women’s 10k was introduced in 1993 in order to encourage more women to participate in sport and this goal has been achieved.”

The Great Run Company said more women are now taking part in the mixed Great Scottish Run, which it also organises.

The first event of its kind in the UK, the women’s 10k was set up by Glasgow City Council in 1993, shortly after its jogging network was created. Over the years it was seen as a “first race” for women starting out on their running journey.

I was one of those women, having answered an email sent around the office looking for participants to help raise money for charity. The team approach and the opportunity to raise cash for a deserving cause were the main motivations. But could I run the length of myself? I’d been in the athletics team at school, but had stuck to sprinting. The quicker the running was over the better, was my general philosophy. I had continued to try to stay fit in the intervening years, slogging it out at the gym and bouncing around at aerobics classes. But running further than the bus stop? I was about to find out.

I’ve just had a wee rummage in the loft and found my hard-won medals. It’s like it was another wummin who actually collected them, but there they were: eight for 10k, four half-marathons and, after a moment of madness, one for the Edinburgh Marathon (which I enjoyed so much, I spun it out for five whole hours).

Alas, the marathon was probably a birl too far. The old joints had had it. It was time to hang up the running shoes. But I cherish the memories, and the story of my running journey is just one of many thousands sparked by the women’s 10k. Looking back I’m just delighted to have been able to take part and raise charity cash along the way. And no matter how tough the going got, there was always a friendly word of encouragement from fellow runners and the many spectators who lined the route to cheer us on and dish out jelly babies.

But my memories are tinged with sadness that this very special event has hit the wall. Some argue it’s out of kilter with an inclusive society that events should be restricted by gender. But it’s also true that many women who have taken part gained confidence in doing so because it was a women-only event. Many of those I have spoken with along the way certainly confirmed this.

So farewell, women’s 10k.

The atmosphere was always brilliant, the mix of participants all-encompassing, and the money raised and the lives remembered a testament to the spirit of the run. Or walk. Or for those pushing buggies or using a wheelchair. That was the beauty … every woman of any ability was part of the women’s 10k family.

And everyone was a winner.