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