Thursday, 27 December 2018


As we finish off 2018 and a new age group entered the final and only second blog of the year brings to an end a year of quite honestly nothing of note running wise other than keeping the legs turning over and quite a bit of fun, some of the fun was painful but fun nonetheless and as long as I still have that in my running I will not complain.

Clyde Stride - Saturday 14th July

I had a JGS relay team entered and we had our eyes on the win with a good mix of runners. The original line up had Rob Soutar on leg 2 but on Thursday night pre race he hurt his back and we needed to call in a reserve and rejig the running order. Martin Hayes on leg 1 brought us in 10 minutes in the lead (to which he apologised as he should have been faster but didnt have a good run) handing over to me for leg 2. As I had marked this section of the course on the Thursday night getting lost would not be an issue. Still in the lead at Strathclyde Park I handed over to Norrie McNeill who ran a stormer of an altered leg which was now half marathon distance to Crossford due to bridge issues at Mauldslie and he handed over to Duncan Thomson for the glory leg bringing us home in 4hrs 21mins 40secs a full 25 minutes in the lead. We now have the Craig Cup in our possession.
Norrie at Crossford

Duncan leads us to victory

 Early results

Martin relaxed before the start


The Craig Cup

John Lucas Memorial Race

Next up was the John Lucas Memorial 50 mile race in Strathaven which was to be used as a final long training run for the Glenmore 12 hour race. There is never a large entry field for this race but on the start line were Rob Soutar, Marco Consani and Grant Jeans so pick from that a 1,2,3 and I would follow as close as I could. All went well till 40 miles and I as I left the last checkpoint both my hamstrings cramped up, not normally too much of an issue as a couple of s-caps and a drink sort it quite quickly but this took walking for 4 miles to ease by which point I had lost about half an hour of time so no chance of a good time but I soldiered on to the finish. Grant won the race beating the course record with Rob second and Marco 3rd, no shame trailing that line up with me in 4th. This sadly was the last running of the all tarmac 50 mile version of the race being updated for 2019 to only 40 miles and a mix of road and trail.
Race brief

Lonely runner

Glenmore 12 hour race
As the year progressed the realisation that apart from one race I had not been enjoying my running which I could see reflected in my training log with lots of missed runs and no focus so a decision to just get the last planned A race of the year done and then make plans for 2019. Conditions were great and I had settled in to a gentle pace but on a descent on lap 6 my right glute/hip became painfull. I gave it another 3 laps but had to call it a day at 36 miles in 5 or so hours, disappointing as I think I was leading but in hindsight a wise decision. The on course physio confirmed a glute issue but assured me it was fixable.

Glen Ogle 33

So onwards to November and a return to Glen Ogle to stay ever present and 8 in a row. Still not running anywhere near where I would like but progressing in the correct direction. The usual collection of seasoned ultra runners and a large number of 1st timers set off at 8am on a totally honking morning, biblical was one description for conditions at the top of the hill at after the climb out of Killin through the forest. On the approach to Balqhidder I got chatting to a couple of lads who had came down from the islands to run their first ultra and were loving the route and event, they finished just ahead of me and vowed to return and sample mod BAM events such wad the fun they had. I ran my slowest GO33 yet but still ever present and legs starting to work again.

All in all a mixed year of running but the one target of staying fit for my first year in the Vet 50 category, just need to select the races carefully and avoid races with a certain lad I train with.

Still lonely

We also had a rare event happen this year as part of the joint 50/40 birthday celebration at Crieff Hydro myself Michael and Chris had our first run together for goodness knows how many years.

And later the same day the fittest of us scaled a munro (Schiehallion)

As ever many thanks to all the race organisers, marshalls, timekeepers and spectators too as without all of this participation we wouldn't all be able to enjoy these and more wonderful events.

7:10:16 M4

Thursday, 21 June 2018


On the run up to the big 5oh I have been just doing enough to keep my legs turning over. I decided months ago last years racing had taken its toll so would go easy on my body and let all the little niggles in my shoulder/hip/foot /achilles get a bit of respite and hopefully hit the new age category with everything finely tuned and ready to race. Well that plan was a great thought but when you want to run anyway and prefer racing to training a wee rejig was done and I came up with the a plan of easy during the week and a race a month just to keep a little competitive edge. No specific target of times is involved and all the races are more for enjoyment than competitiveness so less pressure and more fun all round. So as I haven't updated the blog for a while this is how it has all gone so far :


Keeping up my ever present here was a challenge as the weather gods conspired to snow me in at home but to much amazement the Trossachs were not as badly affected by the weather as the rest of the country and after battling through snowstorms we got to the start line.

This was one of the coldest races I have completed and the driving wind/snow at the far end of the loch was brutal but got it done albeit my slowest time on that route so far.

Credit to Audrey on another great festival of running with all three races being a great success again.


A mere 5 weeks later and a total contrast in conditions brought us the warmest London Marathon for several years. Sadly this was to be my first ever marathon DNF with a bizarre dodgy gut feeling from about Cutty Sark I had to stop running at Tower Bridge and take the underground back to the finish. A strange feeling arriving at the Mall from the opposite end to pick up your drop bag but I wasn't alone as the heat took its toll on many a runner that day. Michael, Rob and Alex did finish although none of them looked as if they had enjoyed it much, I on the other hand was feeling rather perky after only doing a half then getting a pint of lager to cure the pain.


Initially this was meant to be a recovery race after London but seeing as I had only ran a London half my legs were rather fresh so expected a decent paced run. Never having seen the route it was a whole new experience and one I rather enjoyed with several river crossings and an undulating and windy route. Never expecting to podium I moved from fourth place at 5 miles to 2nd with about 3 miles to go, I say about as the advertised distance was 14.5 miles but it actually is 15.5 miles. After moving up to 2nd place I just kept the pace even as I just could not see the leader but as I came round a bend I spied him up ahead maybe about 2 minutes ahead, at which point I booted a rock and did my best impression of Ronaldo in the penalty box. It hurt, it hurt a lot and the blood streaming from my knee, shoulder, forearm and forehead indicated I had maybe taken a little dunt. Undettered I plodded on and reeled in the leader who glanced at me as I acknowledged him whilst passing and he had a look of 'look at the state of him'. The dam crossing before the finish is a long way when you are unsure how far behind the guy chasing you is but at halfway I glanced round and he was not at the dam yet so knew I could ease off then. Crossing the finish line the full extent of hurt kicked in and the BAM medical team of Ruth, Alice and Monica got me patched up. An unexpected race win and thoroughly enjoyable race altogether.


The closest race I can find near my home and one I try and do every year. This race is slowly growing in entrants every year under the stewardship of NL Leisure. Michael was over for a few days and had entered too as well as wee sis. Not the flattest course and with the same loop twice you know after the 1st circuit you have another climb coming 5 miles later. A rather fresh running John Duffy had passed me on loop one and I had been reeling him back in until the climb on the second lap Marie McChord shouted encouragement which let John know I was closing and he got a second wind and wasn't for letting me catch him. Another race done and perfect leg stretcher for the upcoming Edinburgh Marathon.


In an attempt to redeem myself after the DNF in London I secured a late GFA for Edinburgh and going by the last few weeks running would be in not too bad shape for a sub 3 attempt, only issue with Edinburgh is it can be a bit windy enroute. It was an early rise as wee sis was doing the half with Holly and a couple of her mates and that was starting at 8am with the marathon not starting till 10am.
The expected heatwave had not materialised and Edinburgh was shrouded in fog or as they call it over there *haar*. The start of the race has been changed to take in the sights in Edinburgh but unfortunately they were all shrouded in the aforementiond haar. It was rather chilly but great running temperature with a gentle headwind on the way out which was ideal as it meant after the turning point a tailwind blew us back to Musselburgh. The splits were even and I came in on 2:58:44 , delighted with another sub 3 and happy to have laid the dnf to rest.


Perhaps a little early to be doing another marathon but headed off to this one with Rob Soutar with little more than an expectation of finishing pain free but with heavy legs I knew a bit of effort was required. 8 miles uphill and then 3 down to recover before another brutal climb and a long slow 13 mile slog to the finish. My pain doesn't create a pretty picture but the setting and route for this race is simply stunning. Well marshaled throughout apart from one little problem at 24 miles where 2 runners went past a turning and had to double back. I was passed several times by Ruth Howie (in her car) who kept reminding me not to fall over like Loch Lyon. The race was a close finish for 1,2,3 all coming in between 2:52 and 2:53. Rob had a great day coming in 3rd. I sauntered home in 3:07.

A fair few races with a mix of terrain and distance, all good training in the long run and lots of fun had throughout. Looking forward to the next few months and a stab at the Vet 50 category.

Thursday, 1 February 2018


A little ultramarathon to round the year off nicely was the thinking, only drawback was it was in Singapore and as near as dam it on the equator. How to train for 90f (32F) and almost 100% humidity during a Scottish winter was not the only problem I was going to have to overcome as there was also  the undulating course of tree roots and rocks and the odd monkey, lizard or snake. The Macritchie Runners race is an annual event, a 12 hour race from 7am to 7pm around the Macritchie reservoir consisting of a 10.5km out and back loop.Only full laps count so you need to be sure when setting off on your last lap you will complete it. There is a complete loop of the reservoir but the local authority and golf club have blocked the sensible route to races.

We had a great week pre-race celebrating Christmas with Michael, Janet and the girls allowing me to carbo load and get a few runs in to aclimatise culminating in the customary steak and chips washed down with lager race eve meal.

As the reservoir is 5 minutes from Michaels house there were no logistical issues and we headed over to the start ready to run, setting our table out near the start line. I hadn't even started and sweat was streaming off of me.

Pre race photo
Looking at previous results the sensible approach was to run a lap in around about an hour and see how it felt but as there are not many who have won with over 10 laps that was an indication as to the degree of difficulty ahead. Laps one and two were uneventful and on lap 3 Michael pushed ahead but I was quite happy to plod on at my own steady pace, already starting to feel the heat and humidity drain me.

Just before the forest exit on the 3rd lap at the top of a climb I could see a body sprawled across the trail, Michael had booted a rock and taken a tumble hitting his head on the floor and taking a blow to his shoulder and hip. He was a bit dazed and had to be lifted upright, after assessing him I got him moving again although rather gingerly and we finished lap 3 together with him stopping to get cleaned up and see what the damage was.

As it turned out he managed to get moving again but took another tumble on his 5th lap and decided to call it quits before he done any more damage. Finishing 5 laps also meant a finisher t-shirt and medal for the ultra distance of 50km. My race carried on with relentless sweating in the sticky hot conditions. I was drinking 1.5 litres of fluid every lap now just to stay hydrated which consisted of 500ml Tailwind mix and 1 litre of water and at the turnaround was having slices of orange and watermelon. I had made up small soft rolls with ham on them but only consumed one for the whole race.

The support throughout the race from the MR25 family throughout the race was brilliant from the guys at the start/finish to the photographers and the younger members at the turnaround point in the forest offering all sorts of food from Oreos to bananas and even bags of tea with straws attached.

On lap 7 I had decided I had had enough and decided to stop when I got to start/finish line and sat down to relax and recuperate but Auntie Evelyn came over and told me I was in 4th place and suggested I should maybe at least give another lap a try and did I need anything to help to which I replied 'beer'. In an instant I was handed a can of lager which was promptly drank and off I went on my merry way. Now normally I wouldn't have thought of this as rehydrating during a race moreso afterwards but that alcoholic beverage saw me through one of the best laps I ran all day.

Evelyn and Cassandra (alcohol providers)

I returned from lap 8 just under in 10 hours and having the benefit of seeing how far 1st, 2nd and 3rd were in front of me on my final return decided that as only one more lap was possible and I couldn't catch them it was time to stop. I had also mentally calculated 5th place could only finish 8 laps and as I had already finished my final position wouldn't alter and this proved to be correct.

Distance84 km

Looking for a volunteer to take off my socks

Literally finished

1-5 in the male race

Many thanks to everyone at MR25 for the support throughout the race, a truly memorable experience and one I thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in running in an oven.

MR25 Ulramarathon 2017 Results

Photos: Various MR25 volunteers