Tuesday, 4 November 2014



After a fairly easy October of half marathon and cross country running the double header loomed and I started doubting the wisdom of entering a 33 mile ultra and a 16 mile city tour on the same weekend but had faith in my bodies healing power to see me through.

First up it was off to Killin early on Saturday morning for the final piece in the BaM triple crown 2014 for the Glen Ogle 33. Due to flooding earlier in the week much rejigging had taken place and the start point changed but still the same route with a little in and out of Killin. I picked James Stewart up at 6am enroute and had a good bit of chat about the race and future plans on the journey. He did question whether I would make the start line on Sunday morning and I assured him if I could walk I would be there.

Race plan for the day was easy first 20 miles and then see what was left in the tank for the climb back up the hill. From the start there were two fast boys off in the distance closely followed by John Duffy who shot off in hot pursuit as we descended to the first checkpoint. The next few miles to checkpoint two saw James and then Peter Buchanan fall behind and I was accompanied by Alan Tait for section 2-3. Alan had not done this race before so I was giving him little pointers to what was coming next and sensed he wasn't listening as we approached checkpoint two and I said turn right here and he promptly headed left away from the checkpoint. We crossed the shoogly bridge at the original finish together and made our way across the road for the forest climb.

Me and Alan @ Shoogly Bridge
On the final forest climb we caught sight of John for the first time in a while and he was walking uphill so I pushed on here to make up some distance on him remembering he is a faster descender than me. On approach to checkpoint 3 I decide to stop and grab the can of Red Bull and caffeine gel I had put in my only drop bag. At this point as I was gulping down the juice Alan carried on just as James came in. The next 2 miles saw me catch and pull away from Alan and then at 23 miles just before the chicane up to the viaduct path catch and leave John moving myself into 3rd place. Well from this point I was now the hunted in my mind and after 4th place finished in the last 2 BaM events hoped I could hold on to 3rd but with James in hot pursuit I knew I couldn't  ease up.

The next 3 photos show us going through checkpoint 4 with a 4 mile downhill sprint to the finish.


I was directed down the hill through the forest by Robin who told me 2nd place was about 5 minutes ahead but struggling but I just could not pick up the pace with the downhill hurting my quads. Out of the woods and on to the main street in Killin with a short road section to the finish. I glimpsed behind and couldn't see anyone so relaxed a little for the finish. Over the finish line in 3rd place in 3 hours 56 minutes. Finally a podium finish after all the miles this year. First place was 9 minutes ahead and 2nd 1 minute and 8 seconds so I had been pulling him back all the way but ran out of distance. James trundled in 4 minutes behind so I had at least managed to maintain my lead.

View from the bridge just before the finish

Mark Ashby finishing in 4:30:58
 Glen Ogle 33 2014 Results

I cannot really improve on the positive comments regarding this race, it really is a superb event from start to finish and especially this year with the logistical nightmare of moving the start 15 miles up the road at short notice. Thanks again to team BaM and the merry band of helpers it has been a great year of racing.

So on to Sunday morning and my legs waking me up at 4am telling me they need some drugs to ease the discomfort. I downed a 500ml sis rego recovery drink and 2 paracetamol and lay down again praying that would do the trick. Alarm goes off at 7.30 and still my legs won't work. I look outside for any small reason for a cancellation of the race but no all seems fine and dandy and I cursed this unseasonably warm weather. Southside Six it is then.

Linda drove me over to Queens Park and I walked through the park in hunt of the Glasshouse where registration was. It was a sea of familiar faced road runners and fellow London Marathon drinking buddies Al McLachlan and George Taylor remarked how impressed they were I had turned up never mind was putting on my number and going to run. RUN being the word here and not RACE, although I think they did fear I would get anywhere near them.

The Southside 6 is a tour of the parks on obviously the south of Glasgow : Queens, Kings, Linn, Rouken Glen, Pollock, Bellahouston and then back to Queens Park to finish. There is a mix of road, trail, mud, stairs and a few busy road junctions for good measure.

I will not bore you with all the details but my legs eased off enough to sustain a good effort and I enjoyed seeing parts of the city I haven't before. Bellahouston Park was the final park before the return to Queens and a cunningly positioned cameraman awaited at the top of a staircase.

Wheres the top?

I could have done without this
Alison Kerr sprinting the stairs
After this wee climb it was along Nithsdale Road then back in to Queens Park for another set of stairs which were even steeper with a 50 yard shuffle to the finish afterwards. I have never been more delighted to get to a finish line, I was totally done. 15.7 miles in 1:48:10 24th place.

All stickers collected

Another gem of a race with a great friendly feel to it and a smashing home made soup as reward. Many thanks to all the guys who organise and help out.

Thanks also to all the photographers, it is always great to see how bad we look when running.

Southside Six Results

Strava details for Southside Six Race

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


A little slow on the race updates recently so I will not bore you with all the details of eating, drinking, pacing and suffering involved in running around a forest in the Scottish Highlands for 24 hours too much.

The picture to the right details my splits for the race which were kindly noted by Sarah Self who had generously offered to assist me as I was basically running unsupported. She was also supporting for James Stewart and David Meldrum so had a busy few hours ahead.

Basically my 1st target was to go past 100 miles and this was achieved in 19hr 45minutes and then see what else I could accumulate. The weather was a total mixture of sunshine/wind/rain and even a hailstone shower for good measure. After receiving the 'HORN' from Ada at 100 miles I retired to my tent for a total change of clothing as I was cooling down rapidly. Sarah had a pot of porage and a sugary coffee ready for me and I swiftly downed them and carried back on my merry way. Ok not so merry but with just over 4 hours to go the end was in sight.
James had been storming around the course and had passed 100 miles in under 17 hours but soon after had twisted his knee and had to pull out, very sad as he had been in a commanding lead and it would have been great to see what distance he could have covered.

Losing track of where you are in a lapped race is not uncommon and it was interesting trying to figure out positions although I did figure I was sitting 4th with John Duncan, Grant McDonald and Gregor Heron having passed me at various points but you never know if they have been resting at any point. On the last lap I passed Gregor but he was not for letting me go any further ahead and we strolled back together. I knew he was a lap ahead but he was unsure. The hooter at 12 midday signalled the end and we all planted our pegs in the grass at the point where we stood for an exact measurement of our distance covered, mine being 116.68 miles.

24 Hour Results

There were two special reasons for wanting to cover as much distance as possible on the day, the main one being to raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust (Scotland) who have been so supportive to my nephew Matthew this year and I had had lots of generous donations. It was also the second anniversary of my mums death and certainly through the dark night fond memories came flooding back.

My Just Giving page
 A fantastic event throughout and one I would not hesitate in recommending whether the 12 hour or 24 hour it is just such a happy atmosphere all weekend. Bill and Mike manage to gather together a wonderful professional team who give a whole weekend and more so we can have a jollie.

Sarah you were a star all day and I actually felt guilty on one occasion as I came around to start another lap and woke you from a snooze on the chair.

September weekend was the date this year for the Clyde Stride due to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow blocking off part of the route in July. I had a sponsors relay team entered for JGS and had selected a team of ringers to see how well we could do although actually 2 family members and 2 customers so effectively still a company team. The team was me, my brother Michael and Vicky Park team mates Alison Kerr and Mark Ashby. I was also providing back up for Robert Soutar who went on to win the solo race in a remarkable time.

Pre race coffee

 Alison kindly stepped in at late notice due to an injury and would only be running at 90% as by her coaches instructions as she has a marathon this week but she still rattled in a fast time and had us in 6th place at the 1st checkpoint within about 5 minutes of the leading teams. By the time Mark reached Strathclyde Park he had us in 3rd place and Michael stormed off on leg 3 with a 2 minute lead on 4th. Michael reached Mauldslie Bridge still in 3rd and I set off on the glory leg hoping to catch 2nd place but knowing it was nearly impossible trailing about 15 minutes but more importantly hold on to 3rd and don't get caught.

Mark looking for Michael

Flying runner
I managed to hold on to 3rd place as we finished in 4 hours 29 mins 54 secs.

 Robert completed a great month of running winning in 4 hours 44 mins 50 secs , just 6 seconds outside the course record.

The winner

Another great day out and a great advert for Scottish Ultra running. The Stride team have a great event here and one it is a delight to take part in and a support.

Friday, 22 August 2014


Team Craig have added a new member to the team as Holly is now old enough to compete for the ever growing all sibling team so a five leg relay was ideal for our debut. The John Lucas Memorial 50 Mile Race has slowly grown over the last few years under David Meldrums stewardship and the relay race alongside the cycle event certainly deliver an excellent event.

As team manager I had the thankless task of assigning runners leg order and in my mind had it perfected with Michael leading us off on leg 1 which was 10.8 miles. As we awaited his arrival at the first checkpoint there was mention of runners taking the wrong turn early on and unfortunately he was one of them going from 3rd/4th to last/second last. He was a bit disappointed and hoped it would not cost us a podium place and we did not let this drop all day, even though he had ran 11.9 miles and was a little gubbed after chasing all the back markers.

Michael passes on to Kate (finally)
Kate set off on leg 2 which was 8.3 miles with us now having to pull our way through the field which she managed rather admirably and commented how much she had enjoyed her leg  on arrival at checkpoint 3 where Holly was waiting nervously eyeing all the cakes up and receiving reasurance from her dad.

Kate had pulled back a couple of places and Holly set off on her 6.3 mile leg into a swirling wind which just would not let up. Michael meanwhile had been handed a new job by the team.

Demoted to tea boy
Navigating to and from the checkpoints was really easy as we were basically in and out of Strathaven every time as the route just circles the town, a big circle mind. We parked up at checkpoint 3 and I had a little catch up with Lee Mclean, David Waterman and Sarah Self amongst others as we discussed the next leg which I was running and I remembered it from last year as the one with the big hill, I had forgotten about that thinking it was on the leg Holly was running. Holly duly arrived looking rather fresh and I set off on the penultimate leg of 14.7 miles. Knowing that the next checkpoint was outside a pub I requested a pint of lager
for my recovery drink.

Still no let up with the wind I started picking off relay runners after a couple of miles and had a great moment when a lady cyclist shouted she was packing it in as I cruised past her up a hill. By the time I reached Auldhouse several cyclists had been demoralised and that lady certainly never seen again.

Approaching Auldhouse

Chris was waiting as I passed on to him and retired to the pub for refreshment. He had 9.7 miles to go into the remnants of a hurricane so knew I had time for at least one.

My Run leg on Strava

We headed back to the start/finish line in time to see several of the leaders finishing the full race and awaited Chris's arrival. The time lost on Michael's leg was now starting to eat in to our finishing position as 3rd then 4th team came in. Chris brought us storming home finishing in 8th place and a close look at the results below indicate how many positions Michael's mishap probably cost us and missing out on being the first mixed team home. 

Sprint finish from Chris
Top 10 Teams from 30 finishing teams :

1 Ayr Seaforth A Male 5.11.28 Ayr  Seaforth
2 Krazy Killie Harriers Male 5.43.55 Kilmarnock Harriers
3 Speed of Light Male 5.57.38 Calderglen Harriers
4 Party Fuds Female 1st ladies 6.10.49 Falkirk Victoria
5 4 Men and a Lady Mixed 1st mixed 6.21.07 Strathaven Striders
6 Ayr Seaforth C Male 6.22.23 Ayr  Seaforth
7 Ayr Seaforth B Male 6.24.36 Ayr  Seaforth
8 Team Craig (JGS) Mixed 6.26.39
9 Ayr Seaforth Ladies Female 6.35.35 Ayr  Seaforth
10 Linlithgow Ladies Female 6.37.06 Linlithgow AC

Great day out and a race we will hopefully be back to do again next year and improve on our finishing time now we all know the route!!!!

Many thanks to David and all of his team of stewards, helpers and timekeepers for a wonderful day out.

Monday, 18 August 2014


The Tour of Clydeside is as it says a series of short race of varied terrain in and around Glasgow with a race each night for 5 nights. Sounds simple enough but as the week goes on and the legs begin to tire and throw in the missing dinner each evening it is a proper week of training. I had only entered as Michael, Holly and Kate had entered already and I was talked around. As it turned out I was the only one to complete the series.

Race one on Monday was the Kilbarchan Klassic 8k road race, flat out and back in 29:53. Average pace 6:02 per mile.  Race 1

Race two on Tuesday was the Garscube Gallop 7k trail race, a mix of tarmac, mud and tree jumping in 28:29. Average pace 6:50 per mile.  Race 2

Race three on Wednesday Clydebank Canal Canter 8k road race, flattish out and back along the canal and by now tiredness was creeping in. 29:59 , average pace 6:02 per mile.  Race 3

Race four on Thursday at my favourite training ground Mugdock for the Meander 7k trail race, 27:09 average pace 6:19 per mile. At this point Kate pulled out of the series as in her words 'i am knackered' .
Race 4

Race five on Friday and the finale at Pollock Park for the Bella Belter 10k road race. By now I was almost burst but as I was sitting as third V40 wanted to hold on to that position at least. I had a lead of 29 seconds going into the race and only lost a further 8 seconds to the fourth place V40 so overall more than satisfied with my weeks work. 37:16 for the 10k, average pace 6:03 per mile.  Race 5  Both Michael and Holly sadly could not make it for this race as they had to go to an 80th birthday party.

Overall position 11th, 3rd MV40 in a cumulative time of 2:32:46 .

A great week of running and an event I would encourage people to enter next year, well organised  and marshalled at each race.

Full series results here : Tour of Clydeside results

Monday, 14 July 2014


The Great Glen Ultra is the newest addition to the Scottish Ultra running scene and gives a new triple crown challenge as an addition to the Glenmore 24 and Glen Ogle 33 organised by BAM Ultrarunning 72 miles from Fort William to Inverness along the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness.

I had the Friday off work so had a long lie and relaxed a bit in the morning before heading off to Fort William with Mrs Wife and the little dude and checked in to the Premier Inn which was the closest hotel I could find near the finish line, working on the principal I would be slightly tired after the race and as short a distance as possible to crawl would be best. The logistics for the evening were easy enough as we would be collected from Bught Park (Inverness Stadium) at 9.30pm and bused to Fort William for the 1.00am start at Neptune's Staircase. This all went to plan and on the bus journey it finally sank in the enormity of the task as I watched the race route unfold in reverse. In all of the 72 miles I had only ever set foot on the last 100mtrs on the track in the stadium, and the closest I had been to the start was coming down the mountainside into Fort William to the finish of the West Highland Way as recently as 2 weeks ago as a support runner in that race. As the bus progressed down the route Bill pointed out a few markers and waypoints which did actually help out as I would find out.

We arrived in plenty of time to register and squeeze in a pot of tea and a catch up with several friends before the off. A short race brief and we were off into the darkness of the night.

Neptunes staircase

Mike Raffan and Craig Mackay shot off into the darkness and decided I would try and keep them in sight as long as possible hoping they knew the correct route. I was running a fairly comfortable pace along the canal averaging 7:45 per mile. After crossing the canal a wooded section near Gairlochy gave me my first of two uncertain moment of navigation during the race, a point mentioned in Mikes blog as well where there were 3 paths and no marker so unsure I waited for the chasing group who arrived and one person knew which way to go and I just tagged in behind and trusted their judgement. The next few miles seemed to fly by as the terrain gently undulated with nothing too serious to tire the legs. Checkpoints 1 and 2 came and went and we came back down onto the canal for the approach to Fort Augustus and checkpoint 3 at 30 miles.

Garmin to Fort Augustus

At this checkpoint I was greeted by Ada, Alice, Susan, Monica and Fiona and was asked how I was feeling. My reply was honest and to the point mentioning I was starting to feel a little tired and no sooner had those words left my mouth and a mention of MTFU and 'cattle prod' and I was out of there. Now the serious stuff was beginning. The leading lady runner  (Morgan) caught me here and we seemed to play cat and mouse for the next 30 miles. One mile out of Fort Augustus the second navigation problem occurred when we ended up on the main road having missed a sign 20 yards previous, short retrace of steps and back on course.
The next 30 miles were just like a rollercoaster up and down hills with lovely views over Loch Ness with a few brutal climbs thrown in. In total 10800ft of climbing with the associated descending along with it. Around about 60 miles Ryan passed me moving in to 3rd place and he was moving at just too fast a pace for me to even latch on to and follow.

Approaching checkpoint 6, photo by Fiona Rennie

I was delighted to reach the final checkpoint at 64 miles and open my drop bag and guzzle the contents of a bottle of Red Bull, a small bottle of coke and 1 energy gel. Onwards to the finish through a nature reserve where strangely there were signs for a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere leading through some bushes. Tempted though I was I could smell the beer in the goody bag some 7 miles off and just kept heading for the finish. With about 4 miles to go Lorna and Carol had set up a small checkpoint where they were offering water and wine and possibly some other alcohol but a quick glug of water and and off I went.

The last section through the woods is a gentle downhill grind to the finish, through a field between some houses then an almighty staircase ( about 7 steps but felt like a mountain) up onto the canal path with about 800 mtrs to the finish. Over the road and in the back gate of the stadium and round the track to the finish.

Finishing time of 11:40:24 in 4th place.

Mike had a storming race finishing in 10:48 followed by Gareth 11:23 and Ryan 11:24 .

Garmin details Ft Augustus-Inverness : A bit wonky at Ft Augustus where it goes all over the place and logs 23 minutes and a few squiggles for 3 miles.

On the nutrition side I have almost cracked it with the extra runny and salty cold home made soup in a coke bottle, although Carol Martin may not agree to it being runners food.

On the footwear issue my clown shoes (Hoka Rapa Nui Trail) suited me perfectly and brought me home with no foot issues whatsoever and my calves were pain free the following day.

The race organisation was superb and the marshalls were a delight to see at the checkpoints with a cheery welcome and slick bag finding.

I was surprised at the awards ceremony the following morning when Antonia was given 1st lady as Morgan had finished about 5 minutes after me in 5th place about 35 minutes ahead of her but it seems she fell foul of the CLEAR race rules of no support whatsoever. We had ran together quite a bit of the way and she had finished in a great time but it just goes to show that the rules must be obeyed.

GGU Results