Wednesday, October 1, 2014
For the 2014 Clyde Stride Ultra Marathon and Relay, we had a group of brave women taking on the whole 40-mile distance, and a relay team taking on the slightly less daunting relay with legs of about 10 miles each.
The Clyde Stride Ultra runs from the centre of Glasgow to the World Heritage site at New Lanark, following the River Clyde Walkway. It's a really nice event, very well organised and friendly, and of course has happy memories of the first year we ran the relay, when the Strathearn Stags actually won the race.
The five brave women running the whole distance were Kerry (not long after her Glenmore 24 exploits), Nicola, Susan, Julia and Wendy, running her first ultra, and we shouldn't forget Kirsty, who might be running for Wee County these days, but we still love her and it was great to see her running with the Harriers girls. The relay team consisted of Ruth on Leg 1, Fi on Leg 2, Al on Leg 3 and me on the final stretch. Not surprisingly, things gets a bit stretched, so I'm afraid the relay team didn't see much of the others after the first half until the finish.
The very scenic Checkpoint 1 had the lead relay runners from both Bellahouston Harriers teams coming through in about an hour, but Robert Soutar wasn't far behind on his way to eventual victory. Ruth came in at a good clip, having set 5k and 10k pbs along the way, which is pretty impressive going! At this point, the awesome Harriers support team of Shelagh, Tracey and Donna arrived with enough food and drink and enthusiasm to stock a small shop, in good time to meet the Harriers runners, arriving en masse, pretty much on schedule.
The second leg goes from urban to rural and back again, and features some traffic-dodging, and judging by the photos, picnics and hand-holding across the meadows - all good wholesome stuff. Fi managed to pick up a few relay places before handing over to Al at Strathclyde Park.
Al ran a storming leg, having a race with the Carluke Jog Scotland team before he took a wrong turn almost within sight of the handover point. We'll make him recce the leg repeatedly before we let him back in the team for next year (although to his credit, he did take about 7 minutes off his previous time for the leg). I took over at Maudslie Bridge for the very scenic final leg. It really is lovely, although I'd forgotten about some of the short sharp hills. I felt a bit guilty passing a few ultra runners, particularly when I passed Rebecca Johnson, winners of the women's race, who looked a bit put out when I caught her with about 4 miles to go. And then, on the slope down into New Lanark, I spotted another relay runner about 400 metres ahead, and I reckoned I could catch whoever it was. Sure enough, the extra wee loop beyond New Lanark gave me just enough time to catch and pass her, to give us 7th position in the relay event.
Meanwhile, the girls were making their way serenely towards the finish in their own good time. Nic and Wendy came in looking as fresh as daisies along with Kirsty and Kerry, who, surprise surprise, had sore legs. Susan and Julia were a few minutes later, and just for a change, the Harriers supporters made a huge noise when the runners came in - can't take them anywhere!
Great day out all round. Terrific efforts from all the runners, nice t-shirts, great weather and lots of friendly smiley faces in the sunshine. More of the same next year.