Sunday, 30 December 2012


Well I have left it to the last minute for the review of the year, and as I have had such a varied year with events I do not know exactly where to begin.  The month of December has been great with the Marcothon taking up more time than Mrs Wife appreciates.

So up until tonight 30 days have been completed and as long as I am fit and healthy tomorrow the full challenge will be completed. I have managed one race this month which nearly ended the rest of the months running but it was only a bit of sliding and bumping and a great race in to the bargain, the Pentland 7reservoirs half was a truly excellent event and I thoroughly recommend it for next year.

Strathclyde Park

I ended the year with a small challenge of taking part in a Saturday morning Parkrun, not much of a challenge for a lot of folk but as I work Saturdays and need to negotiate one off they are normally taken up with marathons or ultras. So as this one was the first and only spare in the 2 years since I registered I was down to Strathclyde Park (10 mins from my house) and finally registered on the finish list. It was not pretty and it was most definitely a great workout, a 4th place finish in 18min 32 secs. Only my third ever 5k and a total gutbuster after a week of beer and food but I really enjoyed it and I shall be back whenever I can make it.

Below is the list from the Power of 10 website of all the events they have captured me at this year, although I wonder who entered an event in my name with my SA number as I was not at that event and did not even enter it as MHFS 10k is not mine.

2012 V40 Victoria Park City of Glasgow
5.8ML34:5427L6LivingstoneScottish Relays Championships31 Mar 12
12.5K47:4243KirkintillochKirkintilloch 12.5K12 Feb 12
33MMT3:55:0152AberdeenD33 Ultra17 Mar 12
33MMT4:00:275StrathyreGlen Ogle 333 Nov 12
40MMT5:31:306GlasgowClyde Stride Ultra Marathon 4021 Jul 12
43MMT6:33:0254Fort WilliamDevil O The Highlands 434 Aug 12
53MMT9:35:353716MilngavieHOKA Highland Fling 5328 Apr 12
1000037:24.012CoatbridgeSVHC 10,000m Championships21 Oct 12
5K18:35144CumbernauldToC Broadwood 5K16 Aug 12
4.8M29:1093CoatbridgeSVHC Snowball Race 4.82 May 12
10K36:56103GlasgowSVHC Open Masters 10K19 Aug 12
10K37:07115GlasgowSVHC Walter Ross 10K6 May 12
10K48:1447:4366781GlasgowMHFS 10K17 Jun 12
10KMT37:1272KirkintillochKirkintilloch Olympians 10K14 Jun 12
HM80:452615KirkintillochNeil McCover Memorial Half Marathon (Inc BMAF Champs)7 Oct 12
HM80:50143DumfriesDumfries Half Marathon23 Sep 12
HM83:0683:0361CoatbridgeMonklands Half Marathon13 May 12
HM87:1483PerthHeaven & Hell Half Marathon8 Apr 12
Mar2:53:242:53:22263LiverpoolRunLiverpool Marathon14 Oct 12
Mar2:59:5554ComrieStrathearn Marathon10 Jun 12
ZRDL19:2922GlasgowMcAndrew Relays6 Oct 12
ZXC35:047832KilmarnockScottish National Masters' Championships4 Feb 12
ZXC50:13211FalkirkScottish National Championships18 Feb 12
ZXCL11:598L4DumbartonDunbartonshire County Relay Championships20 Oct 12
ZXCL15:5964L2CumbernauldScottish National Relay Championships27 Oct 12

So best wishes to all you runners out there and heres to a really enjoyable 2013.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


With no sign of the packed ice on the pavements shifting I bit the bullet and decided that after Sundays falling down session I would finally give in and add a bit of traction to my shoes. I have ordered a pair of  "Ice Runner" grippers online but will not be here for a few days so a quick call to my mate Gav @ Sweatshop Glasgow and a pair of Yaktrax were on my feet ready for a christening along my Tuesday evening run from Anniesland to Bishopbriggs. This would allow me to stay upright and enjoy all the Christmas decor along Bilsland Drive, which most Glasgow residents know is always the street to go along to see the first tree of the season and normally an indication Easter has passed.

The Yaktrax were easy to fit and after the initial mile or two I did actually stop and check to see if they were still there as I could not feel them on my shoes. The only time I noticed them was when the ice ran out and I was on tarmac but even then they were fine for running on. I actually added a few sharp left and right hand corners to give them an extra test and they passed with flying colours. Seven miles on mostly packed ice and no slips at all, excelent product and it does what it says on the box. The ice runners are going to have to go some to beat these but time will tell and so shall I.

Monday, 3 December 2012


There was a limit of 100 entries for this race and luckily I secured one as soon as the entries opened as it was full within hours. Never having set foot in the Pentland Hills before it was to be an new adventure. Minus 4C when I set off from home along the M8 but a beautiful crisp clear day. Managed to find Threipmuir Farm for registration where the first indication of what lay ahead was in the signing of a disclaimer absolving the race organisers of any liability to injuries caused while running the route. The word was there was some ice on the course, how much was still to be discovered.

Race Route.

Footwear was going to be key to survival today so a tricky decision had to be made. The last 3 Decembers have thrown some treacherous icy conditions at us and I have stuck with my road shoes and thankfully they have kept me upright but as this was more trail and fell running I went with my new bright orange Adidas trail shoes. The race start was moved onto the grass verge along the first reservoir as the path was like a skating rink. You soon realise this is a serious race when the runners vests all have a mention of 'HILL' in the club name. So off we went sliding away for a few miles and after my second fall I admitted to myself I was a twat and 'yes' I had made the wrong shoe choice. There were 6 runners ahead and I could not hear anyone close behind so the target was the man ahead and hope he is going the correct way. The paths were just all ice so bounding across the grass and heather and anything resembling green stuff was the only option. Once I reached the tarmac path at the next reservoir I was back on terra firma but still had to be cautious. I had lost a bit of ground while performing like a newly born calf trying to stand for the first time. Bambi did come to mind but I think he got the hang of it quicker than me.

A kind steward pointed me up a hill as he mentioned that we were at halfway and although I could not see the top of the hill at least it was grass and not ice. As I got higher a layer of icy snow was reached and a few miles on this was bliss, it was really great running and I started pulling in the runner in front.

Picture courtesy of Bob Marshall.

The view over Edinburgh and most of central Scotland was spectacular just before the descent and I wished I had brought my camera but in hindsight probably just as well I hadn't as it would have been in bits by now. I passed the runner in front of me around about the last reservoir and with 3 miles to go tried pushing on a bit but a long icy uphill path put paid to that although there was a short stretch of forest to the left of the path which I jooked through. Downhill now and onto the final straight to the finish, across a small bridge and through a gap in a wall and 'wallop' , I was now staring at a clear blue sky. I don't believe it, 100mtrs to go and I land flat on my back with a bit of a somersault into the bargain.

A mere flesh wound.
The steward on hand kindly asked if I was ok and as I hobbled up the grass verge I proclaimed I would be once I finished. So hobbled to the line finishing in 1hr 38mins 5secs in 6th place and was handed the 1st vets prize so a good day out in the hills. The medic on hand cleared the muck out of my leg and I refueled with a mug of tea and a couple of slices of fruit cake (how appropriate).

This was a belter of an event and superbly organised by Harmeny Pentland Runners, many congratulations guys this race will be very popular next year.

Results :
Garmin details :

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


The second running of the Glen Ogle 33 and fingers crossed for as great a day as last year. Up at 5am and showered (like to start off smelling fresh) rattled down a bowl of porage and a banana and wash it down with tea and coffee. After scraping the ice off the car windscreen my thoughts were on how many layers would be required as although cold it was so far dry but as I passed through Callander it actually started to snow, not that pretty christmassy snow it was the wet sleety stuff. As I parked at Immervoulin Campsite daylight was starting to show off the snow peaked hills surrounding us and an overcast sky.

Mark adopts the frozen look.
Met up with fellow VP-Glasgow runner Mark Ashby and handed in my safety form in return for my number from Julie, a regular marshall/helper/dogsbody at many ultra events. Placed my dropbags in the appropriate piles although they were only for emergency today as I had decided to run with my camelbak to save any stops. A swift race briefing and across the road for the new race start which unsurprisingly was at the bottom of a hill, last years start was all uphill but an extra mile had been added on and it is also uphill, oh well stops you setting off at a mad pace.

I caught up with Craig Reid and Robert Soutar with whom I have had a enjoyable year chasing and had a wee chat, Craig went on to win the race by a clear 4 minutes. The first 4 miles are just a steady uphill slog on rough forest roads before a sharp descent down onto the tarmac road at the Kings House Hotel and onto the national cycle route uphill towards Killin. I was a couple of hundred yards behind a group of 4 or 5 runners and quite happy with my pace so not too bothered not to be in a pack. Once over the road at checkpoint 2 and in to the forest the hard work begins, a couple of miles downhill then a brutal climb to the top again. This is where the hard work starts and the damage is done to the legs. For those who like their statistics from the low point in the forest at 14.11miles you are at 459ft and the climb finishes at 17.88 miles at 1179ft. From this point it is straight downhill to the checkpoint where I stopped for a can of red bull as I was starting to feel the pace and needed a wee boost.

Course profile.

I was hoping to pick up a bit of speed on the return section down the track but my legs had other plans and the races from the previous 4 weekends took their toll, no pain but just a sense of tiredness. At the last checkpoint I had another red bull and set off on what I term as the road 10k section of the race. This is a rollercoaster section to the finish and where I caught John Duffy who had passed me while I was downing the red bull at checkpoint 3. He was not really up for a chat and was hanging on in for the finish so I left him to his own demons and faced the last few climbs along the quiet country roads past Rob Roys grave. Last year on this section I had to walk one of the hills but this year I was fine and trotted along to the finish over the shoogly bridge which just about throws you over and stumbled across the finish line.

Finished in 5th place in 4hours and 27 seconds.

Results :

Garmin :

Many thanks to Mike and Bill and all of their team of helpers and sponsors, a truly wonderful event.

I received a letter last week with a prize for winning the Run Kirkintilloch Road Series for 2012, which consisted of 4 races which were a 12.5k, 10k,  5k and a half marathon. The link to a newspaper article is here :

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Feeling rather fit and having missed the entry for Loch Ness I noticed that the Liverpool Marathon entries were still open so online entry in all I needed was a hotel. The closest I could get was at John Lennon Airport  and this looked fine as it was a straight road in to the city centre so the plan was I would just get a bus in to start in the morning and Linda and the wee man would check out later and come along and watch the finish. We travelled down on Saturday and dumped the bags at the hotel and headed off for a recce of the city centre. On the way in it became apparent getting a car anywhere near here on Sunday when the race was on would be impossible so a rejig of the plans and I drive and leave the car in the car park and they get the bus in.

 Picked up a ticket for the shuttle bus in the morning to take me over to Birkenhead Park for the marathon start and went on a bit of sightseeing as I had not been here since 1984 and even then only saw a few football fields as we were playing a tournament.

So touristy bit over it was out for the pre race meal which as always was steak/chips/pepper sauce although I refrained on the beer front this time due to the fact I had to drive back to the hotel as mrs wife was not too happy on foreign roads.

So to marathon morning and Holiday Inn Express breakie washed down with a couple of lattes and I was good to go till I set foot outside the hotel to an welcoming temperature of 2c. Parked the car and caught the shuttle bus, all running smoothly and the sun starting to shine. Birkenhead Park was buzzing with nervous runners, singing groups and music blaring, a real happy atmosphere. Met fellow Scot and ultra nutter Ross Moreland lurking around and had a wee blether.

The race started bang on time and off we went downhill for a mile or so out of the park, although it was a bit tricky sussing out the marathon runners and Wirral 10k runners as both races started at the same time. I settled into a steady rythmn and just enjoyed the varying houses and architecture. If anyone can remember the BBC programme BREAD then yes a lot of it does look like that. The 10k cut off into a field on the front for its final 500mtrs and the marathon carried on to a turning point and then back along the seafront at New Brighton. My 10k split was 36.57 which is nearly as fast as I have ran a 10k this year so that was a sign I was going a tad too fast but did feel comfortable so kept the pace going.  Just after 11 miles we enter the Mersey (Queensway) tunnel for a 3 mile stretch. Quite warm and sticky in there and a climb of a mile but not complaining as it was downhill for a mile on the way in. The crowds grew as we exited the tunnel and run through the centre of the dock area and out towards Sefton Park. Just after mile 17 a brutal climb started but once it was out the road the rest of the route was fairly flat and after looping round the park it was back towards the docks and the Liver Building down the same hill for the last mile and a half. Crossed the line in 26th place in 2hr 53m 22 secs and 3rd Vet40.

An excellent event from start to finish and superbly organised and marshalled, easy access and great marathon route.

Results :

Garmin Activity :  Ok till mile 12 where it loses signal in the tunnel hence the 10 min mile, running time and mile splits correct but it shows a short distance due to no signal.

Monday, 8 October 2012



Another one of those weekends with races on consecutive days, my own clubs road relays on Saturday and the Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon on the Sunday. How much damage could a wee 3.22 mile leg of a hilly road relay inflict on me, well more than I thought to be honest. I was on the 3rd leg for the vets A team and we finished in 2nd place with a time of 1hr 18 min 7 secs, my leg being 19min 30 secs. It really is a hard shift especially when you have done next to no track or speed work all year. I had an added incentive this year when my younger brother set off on the 3rd leg 2 minutes ahead of me running for Kirkie Olympians, it was a push to catch him but with a mile to go a wee word in his ear and wave were followed by a string of well wishing and encouragement, well not exactly but I couldn't repeat it. On the plus side our VP-Glasgow 'A' won the race outright for the first time since 1966, a superb achievement for our younger guys and a little taste of future success for a fast group of guys.

Full report and link to results here :

Garmin details :

On to Sunday morning and a chilly but perfectly clear and calm morning, perfect day for a race.

Short trip to Kirkintilloch and registration at the leisure centre. This race was also the British Masters and SVHC championships and also the last race in the Run Kirkintilloch race series for the year so lots of races within a race taking place.

The route for the race is the old Luddon half marathon route from the 80's so I am told by older runners for those with good memories, but the jist of it is - head for Milton of Campsie, hang a left to Lennoxtown, left again to Torrance, up the hill to Bishopbriggs, pass Marley then hang a left at Burger King, pass the prison down Boghead Road to where you started. If you understood that last sentence you also know it is not the flatest route on the planet so with this in mind a sensible pace would be adopted, my mistake being I did not start with the sensible pace till mile 5. Feeling the effects of the previous days race and a fast few miles I was wondering if I was pushing too hard so decided that with the Liverpool Marathon next Sunday it would be best just to ease off and run an enjoyable race rather than totally wreck myself. There is a climb of about half a mile at 9 miles and having the benefit of training on this route I knew that once this was out of the way it was mostly flat to the end. Cheered on by a group of the Springburdz at Burger King I shared the pace with a V60 from Ronhill and although felt a little guilty pushed on and left him with about a mile to go. Finished in 26th place in 80 min 45 secs , 5 seconds faster than Dumfries  last week and a seasons best. Very pleasant run in the end on a glorious autumn morning.

Massive thumbs up to Robert, Ada and all connected with this event from the marshalls to the local constabulary a superb Half and 3k fun run.

Full results here :

Garmin details :

Photos courtesy of Karen Craig , aka Ma sister in law.

Monday, 24 September 2012


Readers of this blog will notice no report of the much anticipated Glenmore 24, well my mum who had been ill for while took a turn for the worse the day before the race so there was no way I could head off for the weekend knowing what was going to happen. She sadly passed away and the last couple of weeks have been hard but she always encouraged her families sporting pursuits, although since I progressed to ultras she did worry a little more and a quick phone call or text at the end of a race always put her at ease. So having done all the training I was at a loose end and also feeling rather fit although not a fast fit and having ran Dumfries before knew it was an excellent event and well worth a wee drive down the M74.

Registration was in a lovely new building at the Glasgow University Crichton Campus, nowhere near Glasgow so if anyone is planning on doing this race check a map and get the correct postcode before you set off. Met a few familiar faces pre race and had a wee chat with Craig Reid who was adamant he was going to struggle after his run at the RAW last weekend, well he did not struggle and finished 3rd. A loop of the campus and then out onto country roads which were a bit windy but fine for running and I settled into steady rythm hoping to hit around about 1.20-1.21. The course is undulating for the first 6 miles then a drop down onto the road alongside the River Nith and head straight back into Dumfries. Well marshalled all the way and very little traffic it was a great run and as I came down to Kingholm Quay at 12 miles I still had plenty left in the tank so pushed on a bit and passed 3 runners I had been steadily reeling in. The last mile is flat on a cycle path but you cannot see the finish line till 100mtrs to go and it felt a long time coming. Well would you believe I was actually dipped on the line by one of the guys I had passed, I was not expecting that and it will teach me not to ease up at the line. Finished in 14th place, 3rd Vet 40 in 1:20:50 . Shower and cup of tea after and then hunt down wife and child who had not made it to the finish for the photo opportunity for a change!!

Garmin details :

Results :

Monday, 20 August 2012


So with about 2 weeks to go till the longest race of my running career (well thats the plan, although no promises) the taper has begun and I thought I would stick in a couple of short races to get my lungs opened up again and gasp for breath for a wee while.

Thursday 16th August : Broadwood 5k

How hard could this be? It is only 5k after all, a mere 3.1 miles. Well when the wippets blast off straight away and you try and hang on in there for as long as possible it hurts. My chest did not know what was happening and my arms felt like they would fall off. I started to get into the rythm of the race about 4k and just pushed along to the finish line as best I could but there just was no oomph and could not catch any of the runners ahead although I was catching them and not being caught from behind. Finished in 14th position in 18min 35 secs , slower than the previous two years but after two 40 mile ultras in the last few weeks not too bad a time.  Garmin :

Friday 17th August : Rest

Saturday 18th August : Long slow run

Morning shift at work and the run home, nice wee stroll from Anniesland to Glenboig along the Forth + Clyde Canal and the Strathkelvin Way railway line. Nice flat and easy pace with Sundays 10k in mind.
Garmin :

Sunday 19th August : Scottish Veteran Harriers Club 10k

Lots of familiar faces at Pollock Park for the 2 loops of the vets 10k around Pollock Park. I try to do as many of the vets races as possible during the year as they have a competition for all the age groups throughout the year with the series sponsored by Run and Become although as I have not done enough races this series to worry about placing in this years series I could just run along not thinking about who I had to catch or avoid. This is not an easy route with the same climbs coming twice but I still managed my fastest 10k of the year with 36min 55secs on a hot day. Really enjoyed the workout ensuring not to push too hard on the first lap and keep the pace even. Delighted with my time as it was actually faster than the previous two years with fresher legs. Garmin :

The link to the vets website is here for those interested in becoming a member :

So the moral is don't try a 5k race after a hard shift at work, easier racing on fresh legs. My 5k splits during the 10k were actually faster than the 5k race so go work that one out.

Now its rest a fuel for the Glenmore 24, a trip into the unknown but one I am looking forward to.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Devil O The Highlands

As I had been on the reserve list for a while this was not the main focus of the training recently but about 3 weeks ago I received an email offering a place which was quickly snapped up thus changing the plans a bit for racing the Clyde Stride changing that to a more 99.5% effort rather than 100%. So back up crew organised and a very miffed wife told that a 3am wake up call was the order of the day. When the midge net/hat arrived the comment was "no way am I wearing that", prompt reply from me "honestly you will thank me".

Two ladies and a strange looking fella.
We arrived at Tyndrum in plenty of time for registration and managed a coffee and toilet break and promptly started racing bang on 6am in glorious weather. My main objective today to set off steady and keep a little in reserve for the 'death march' section from Kinlochleven to Fort William, this being the section where it all went wrong last year. The first section to Bridge of Orchy is relatively flat and I strolled along enjoying the day and met the crew who handed me my juice and a gel and off I went up the hill through the forest and down the hill to the hotel and on to Rannoch Moor. This is a long lonely stretch when you are running alone so I just ran along keeping a steady pace making sure I didn't push it too early on. My plan of taking it easy was undone as I reached the Glencoe checkpoint before the crew had arrived. I was a few minutes ahead of schedule but as they were nowhere to be seen I just carried on to Kingshouse Hotel hoping they would be there instead. Well that hope was extinguished when they were not to be found here either and I was going to need more juice soon for the climb up the Devils staircase so I pulled my phone out and tried calling them but no answer on either phones.QUESTION: What to do at a moment like this when the runner worries that his crew could be in trouble? ANSWER : Take a photo and carry on running.

On the approach to the staircase Chris was waiting at a gate and explained the had parked at Glencoe ski centre and were walking down the hill to the checkpoint as I had went through so after confirming this with the marshalls had to hot foot it back up the hill, miss out Kingshouse and head straight for the staircase. Linda handed me 2 s caps a gel and 500ml of water with a nuun tab added all of which were downed rapid, requests for Kinlochleven given and off I went up the Devils staircase. Decided the best option for this was walk most of it as it really is of no benefit to run it. As I neared the top elite runner Gareth passed me and he was actually running it at quite a pace, quick pleasantries and off he went into the distance, I was impressed how fast he disappeared into the distance, although unsure why he was actually behind me. Right at the top I got cramp in both calfs and hamstrings, I think due to not getting my juice at the correct time but I knew it would ease once the salt tablets kicked in so just carried on and hoped for the best.

View from near the top.
Onwards to Kinlochleven and as the cramp eased I really started to enjoy the run and the scenery, it was just such a beautiful morning to be up on the trails. Took the descent gently and arrived in Kinlochleven to a waiting crew with everything to hand. Half a banana consumed (the only solid food of the race) another 500ml nuun mix and camelbak refilled and Chris offered to carry a bottle of water up the hill a bit for me. I shot off and presumed he was following but turns out he went to change his t-shirt first and I was off round the corner. He caught me as I was walking up the brutal climb on to the Lairig Mor and said "here's your water I am not going any further up this bloody hill". I did explain this was only a quarter of the climb but he did offer to meet me at Lundavra. At the top I met Gareth who was not in a good place and he mentioned he had had enough, I think he pulled out here (maybe not the best plan to run up the Devils Staircase).
On to Lundavra and still feeling good but glad to see Chris and Linda who offered a can of  red bull which did not even touch the sides. Last stretch through the invisible forest to the top of the hill and unlike last year legs that could actually run downhill, what a relief I had actually paced myself for once. Downhill for 2 miles and 1 mile flat along the road to finish. 5th place in 6hours 33mins, a PB by 18 minutes and feeling tired but not the wreck I was previously.

Pics courtesy of Chris Craig.

To my back up crew many thanks for a day out of your lives, I will willingly return the favour if you wish to enter. One question though : Was the delay at Glencoe due to waiting for 2 rolls with links sausage????

Many thanks and best wishes to the Devils crew for such a superb event, organised to perfection.

Results :

Garmin :

Sunday, 22 July 2012


After weeks of awful weather we awoke to clear blue skies and the prospect of the route being a little more kind underfoot than had been anticipated earlier in the week. As you will note from the photo underneath there had been a wee bit of rainfall recently as can be seen from the recce run a couple of weeks ago.

Email message on Friday morning from my brother Michael worrying about his flight from Marrakech being changed and struggling to catch the last flight from Heathrow on Friday night just meant six drop bags to prepare instead of three. He did make it although I don't think he landed till about midnight, but after all the training he was not going to miss this.

Duncan, Michael, Mark and Me. Duncan was running last leg of relay for  Sweatshop.

Usual scenes at Partick station of worried and excited runners and even more worried organisers hoping the best laid plans would all go smoothly and not even the late route change due to some old pop group playing in Glasgow Green could derail this smoothly tuned race. Bang on 9.00am we were sent on our merry way, 150 or so individual runners and about 20 relay teams.

Photo courtesy David Searil

I was experimenting today with the my water intake after several people recommended Nuun tablets instead of sports drinks, and always willing to give anything a try had a 500ml bottle in each of my three drop bags.
That said I did throw in a few other liquids just in case it all went pear shaped.

Section 1 : Partick to Cambuslang

The first 10 miles are fairly flat after leaving the Metropolis and running alongside the Clyde on tarmac path and this passed quickly chatting away to firstly Andy John and then Robert Soutar and Craig Reid. One question was "where did George go?" . George Taylor just shot off at the start in his usual marathon pace and we wondered if we we see him again before the end. Well I did and more of that in section three. Arrived at checkpoint one and quickly downed two gels and grabbed said bottle of water with Nuun and carried on.

Section 2 : Cambuslang to Strathclyde Park

This is the section where you come off the tarmac cycle route and go through a field of overgrown vegetation. There is a clearly trodden path in the cold weather but with the rain and a bit of warmth recently short guys like myself could get lost in here. Negotiated our way through here and headed on to Blantyre past Bothwell Castle and the David Livingstone Bridge. As you come to the opening heading for the main road down to Strathclyde Park a group of lads were congregating with their carry out for the day and cheered me through telling me a guy with a yellow jersey had passed them 5 minutes ago. Well at least he was on the correct route, I was sorely tempted to take up the offer of a bottle of Miller. Ran down into Strathclyde Park with Robert to checkpoint two, Craig having pulled away a little while after the undergrowth, well he does have a height advantage! Pulled another gel from the drop bag and downed a mars drink and carried my second water bottle.

Section 3 : Strathclyde Park to Mauldslie Bridge

Fairly uneventful section here although I caught sight of George nearing the watersports centre at the end of the park as I was half way along, Robert had just about caught him having not stopped at the checkpoint. As we neared the field withe cows and bulls I closed in on George and was thinking to myself that there were quite a few big beasts lurking around. Well as we neared the end of the field and the stile you need to climb to get out of it George slowed down a mentioned he was struggling with the terrain but I sussed he had just wanted me to try and move the bull which was having lunch at the first step. Not wanting to hang about too much or get flattened it was a quick excuse me sir and jump, George was on his own. Still he made it out and promptly shot off past me again. A kind lady jogging down the path just before the road junction told us there was water further up the road and lo and behold a pack of bottles was lying at the roadside, thank you very much whoever you were. I was starting to flag now and in need of more juice so delighted to reach checkpoint three and rip open the drop bag. Mars drink in rapid and gel down right on top, although a little too quick as I nearly brought them back up, and it would have been all over the drop bags (how popular would I have been).

Section 4 : Mauldslie Bridge to New Lanark

Set off on this section with Robert but he mentioned a niggle in his calf after changing shoes, He subsequently pulled out which I know he will be very disapointed with. The climbs and stairs on this section drain you and I just felt the energy go and the first signs of cramp kicked in, which was unexpected as not usually an issue in ultras for me. A squad of guys were out withe strimmers clearing the path and I found this ironic due to the banter in the last few weeks regarding the fields at Cambuslang. Gavin passed me and mentioned I had went off too fast as usual and although I could not disagree the cramp issue was my only problem as everything else was fine. I ran out of water/nuun just before crossing the road at the wee train place but knew I could get a bottle at the shop in Kirkfieldbank. That is a long section when you are thirsty and the shop was like an oasis when I got to it. I pushed the door open and glimpsed the fridge to the right with the chilled beers but hung a left for the water, hell it was only 3 miles to go for a beer. Emergency £20 handed over and £19.50 given in change, well they will hear me coming at the finish. Onwards to the finish, up that slope, down those stairs and then up them again and a very scenic finsh around New Lanark to be greeted by a hug from Lee and a well done from Julie. Finishing time of  5hr 31mins in 6th place.

Verdict : Well on Saturday I would have said no more Nuun drink and back to Viper but I do not have any pain in my legs apart from the usual tired feeling after a long run so I think I may stick with it as my water but also use the Viper. We shall find out in the next installment on the 4th August at the Devil O the Highlands.

Many thanks to Lee and her family and all of the support group she has, you know who you all are : take a bow.

The boss and the apprentice.

Me and Michael.
Results :
                                                                                                                                                      Garmin : No, as I forgot to fully charge it. TWAT

Sunday, 10 June 2012


A short drive over to Comrie in Perthshire this morning for the inaugural Strathearn Marathon. Advertised as a hilly route with 1500ft of ascending I knew this was not going to be a fast one but it was all on road so I was really looking forward to it even with two sore achilles and a niggle in my back. The roads to Comrie take you along the route part of the race and it was apparent on arrival that the first 7 miles was uphill, oh well just get on with it. Registration was at the Cultybraggan Scout Camp which I think is a prisoner of war camp from the last world war. Met up with Gavin Harvie and we decided to cruise along and enjoy this as we were both looking for a good workout but unsure how of how the route was going to be.

It really is an extremely friendly and enthusiastic group from Strathearn who have organised this race and from start to finish they were really supportive at all the waterstops and road junctions, even the wee guy Gavin soaked at the first water station, we could still hear the laughter from the rest of the youngsters 200 mtrs up the road. The first 7 miles were uphill but it did level out and from there to about 11 miles it was gradually downhill so time to relax a bit and get a bit of a rythmn going.

10.5 miles.
 From 10.5 miles there is a cruel climb for about 1.5 miles which just got steeper and steeper but after that most of the race was flattish, when I say flattish I mean not as bad the previous bit. Gavin caught sight of the 3rd place runner about 19 miles and decided to go after him and I just left him to it as I was enjoying myself and not really bothered and also thinking that he was being reeled in slowly anyway so I will just wait and see. I couldn't quite catch either of them them although had them in view all the rest of the way and also could see the 2nd place runner being slowly dragged in all the way. The winner was well clear in 2.45 but the rest of us followed in quick succession like aircraft landing. I think 2nd was 2.57.?? 3rd (Gav) 2.58.?? 4th 2.58.?? and then me 2.59.57. I had not checked my watch for time and presumed it was well over 3hrs but as I approached the finish line the announcer shouted at me to shift myself to get under 3hrs, so just made it.

Dog tries to prevent sub 3hr marathon.

Felt fine all the way and no problems so hopefully the wee niggles are clearing up for the Clyde Stride and then the Glenmore 24. Also hoping to squeeze in the Devil O the Highlands if I make it off the waiting list.

So once again thanks to all at Strathearn Harriers for this race and I would imagine early entry will be required for next years race.

Results : To follow

Garmin details :

Friday, 25 May 2012


Listening to one of the WHW podcasts I am sure a request went out for blogs on your favourite running mile and this reminded me of a plan for a blog I had been meaning to write but never quite got to, so here we go.


As the sign shows this route is 10.5km loop of the reservoir although there are a couple of variations for longer routes depending on the plan for the run. My preferred direction is anti clockwise in the early morning as this gives the best views on the return which is where my favourite mile occurs.

As you can see from this photo there is a boardwalk which runs around the shore of parts of the reservoir but that is for lazy days when you can't be bothered with trails and hills.

Half way round you get to the ranger station where us mortals from cooler climates can rehydrate from the drinking taps and freshen up for the return section. There is also the option to add in a wee loop and take in the treetop walk, although it does include several hundred stairs getting to and from it from the trail.

After the treetop walk the next vantage point is the Jelutong Tower which is another 100 or so stairs but straight up and down.

After the tower it is on to the boardwalk through what used to be a rather soggy section linking the trail to the golf course, where runners are made to feel most unwelcome by golfers who seem to think they are the only people who have a right of way here. As you emerge from the trees here this is the point where my FAVOURITE MILE starts.

Favourite mile begins.
This mile is just so enjoyable as you skirt the golf course and reservoir in such a tranquil setting in the warmth of an early morning, about 80 degrees and rather humid into the bargain.

Golf Course Link.

Back on to the trail after the golf course and the next section takes you to fitness corner, where you can stop for a few upper body excercises if you so desire.

Fitness Corner.

Favourite mile over but still about a mile or so to go to the zig-zag bridge and a wee stroll down to the car park and the Mushroom Cafe where recovery breakfast of a soft boiled egg, thick slice of bread with peanut butter and cornflakes on top washe down with a cup of tea finish of a most enjoyable morning run.

Garmin route here :