Sunday, 22 July 2012

Clyde Stride Ultra 2012

Well unlike last year I finished!!!!!!!

Garmin map and stats here

The sun came out and the it was dry and a nice day, temp was reported to be up to 17C but in places it felt warmer and others a little colder.


  • Normal Road Shoes
  • Shorts with inner compression built in
  • Light top white
  • Race Number on my leg to get max ventilation 
  • Back pack with bladder 
  • Bottle 700ml filled with flat cola
  • Gels, crisps, choc, bag crisps
Check Point 2 Drop Bag
  • Flat coke rest of 2 litre bottle
  • Gels
  • Sandwich : chicken, sweet-chilli
  • 2 x Choc bars
  • Crisps

Section 1  Partick to Cambuslang 10 Miles

Registration and bag drop was well organised and their was a chatty relaxed feel. Race brief over and we assembled on the start line, time to go. Assembled and chatted to a runner or two. 10k and marathon  starts seemed tense by comparison.

The aim of this for me was to keep slow and I mean really slow as I did not want to burn up too fast. So I totted along and followed the crowd through Glasgow and the onto the path towards Cambuslang. Kept path between 9:30 - 10min/miles. Within a couple of miles you are in almost countryside running along the river. I bumped into two jog leaders from the Glasgow Running Network Bob and Caroline which I did the marathon training with over the last couple of years. This was great and gave me a real boost. Later met Ann another jog leader who was running the last section of the relay. This section is flat and and easy run on tarmac tracks and its ever so tempting to increase your speed.  Chatted to a couple runners along the way.

At the check point at Cambuslang I chatted with Ann for a few mins and grabbed a bottle of water (provided by Morrison's, cheers) to supplement my flat cola.

Section 2 Cambuslang to StrathClyde Park: 9 Miles

Gentle jog on the path past the new fire station till we hit raw path at the heron. Chatted along the way to another runner who was a sweeper last year.  He left me as we left the path for the trail. This part is my least favorite. As it leaves the tarmac the path is very narrow and very rutted it is not wide enough to get good traction on. I was left to hobble and stumble along for a few miles into the rolling hills and a couple of steep climbs nothing to big but with undergrowth tugging at you constantly it was draining. Once you drop down on to the miners bridge on the Caulder it gets easier. The cycle route via Newton and road seems like heaven but this would not be the Clyde walk way and quite possibly cheating. I did use the uphills to get a drink or two and eat some crisps.  Always amazed as you are running through sections like this you come across really warms bit lasting a few seconds and really cool bits a few seconds later. Finished my flat cola and filled up my bottle with the water from check point one.

Feeling tired at the Bothwell castle section and started to flag a bit, I was not even half way yet. Just past Bothwell castle I took the path up and over and miss out a rather bad section that runs right next to the clyde, some of the path is in the river and you have to hang onto branches to get past a few bits. If you fell in you might not get out as the clyde is fast flowing.

I've run that Newton section a few times and it always drains me.  Got a gel down my neck and pushed on. Across the Livingston bridge  passed a few runners and the weir looking stunning with a good head of water and cut down toward Blanytre. Took the stairs up rather than the route round here and bumped into my sisters ex-man who was drinking on the path with some mates. He never recognised me at first, it has been quite a few years.  A runner going in the oposite direction gave me some jelly babies; always impressed and thankful for these smalls gifts. 

The Blantre to Strathclyde park section is on road and you have to follow the signs on the road and seems longer than I remember. Down the big hill and across Bothwell bridge back on the path and avoid the smashed and broken board walk.

Section 3  Strathclyde Park to Maudslie Bridge 10 miles

Hit the check point and picked up my drop back, which was handed to me (nice). I decided to eat my sandwich here and take on some flat cola. Gave my extra choc bars away to some kid who was helping with the bags. I never ate the ones I had taken so didn't need them. Could only eat half my sandwich. Was hot, really hot and my pack was sticking to my back. Other runners where zipping about with water proof jackets and me with me lightest teeshirt on dripping with sweat (yip I'm Scottish).

Time to push on and over Strathclyde park, it was still hot here (well hot for me) and the park seemed long. This is also not one of my favourite sections either as the path over the park is open and has no shelter from sun nor wind nor rain.  Back in to the trees after the park and it gets a little cooler. Take on some gels and some flat cola along the way. Miles 20-25 were tough and this is were I chucked it last year. I dig in and push past it.  I'm exhausted, no really exhausted. Now I'm not keeping my pace down I fighting not to walk all the time.

Mile 25 and I start to pick up again, I run to near exhaustion then walk for 30 seconds and then repeat.  This section also has a cow field along the river or is this before the 25 mile mark, its hard to tell as I'm on autopilot for some of it. The cow field is open and its hard to get a grip on and makes any real progress difficult, but at least its dry and quite short about a mile. I pass the runner I was chatting to just after check point one who left me at Newton. He's a bit bust and walking, still cheery though.  I push on and hit stairs, these drain me but I suspect they are better than a very steep rough trail.

I start talking to another runner who I think is South African and we play tag for a good few miles walk and running and swapping positions when not chatting. He encourages me along as I'm faster running and he's faster at walking.  We together push onto Check Point 3 where I hang about and fill up my bladder (from my pack) with water. I like and don't like bladders on packs, it's handy to get a quick sip and bad for drinking too much (drinking too much is much worse than not drinking enough).

Section 4 - Mauldslie Bridge to New Lanark 12 miles

I get badgered to get a move on push on. More stairs and they are steep and then a drop and steep section then a big climb. Runners are thin on the ground now and I don't see any of them. I'm knackered with the climbs and drops and my toes start to really ache as they are getting bashed off the top of my trainers, convinced I'm getting serious blisters and a few bruised toes (not as bad I thought in the end).

We cross a road near a mini steam railway  with a runner is on his bum at a corner. He's bust, really bust and we chat for a few mins, I am hesitant to leave him even though he insits I push on.  He been sick and can't keep down water or food and is going to get a taxi. I call the number for race control and tell them he is quitting, I put him on the phone to get his bag collected by a mate.  He's not got a phone with him (bad); if he buggered off he very well may has started a full search and rescue.

I leave him and within 50 feet get talking to a couple who ask about the race (about the 5th time this happened so far), I ask if they could get a taxi for the runner I just left and they offer to take him home to Carluke. Amazing how good, nice and helpful some folk are.

I push on and after a few miles of flat and gates we start to climb and I walk most of the climbs and run some of the gentler ones. The climb up to Stomebyres Weir is grassy and slippy and wet, I can't run on it and walk. After Clydeholm bridge it drops then climbs again I'm knackered I'm panting after every climb and force some runs. This is followed a series of hair pin drops through the forest back onto the river level which I jog down as my toes scream at me to stop.  This section is really really beautify and has a certain calm. There are a lot of stairs as you climb towards Lanark village and the finish. I get a lift as I haul myself up stairs and spot New Lanark.

I get some energy and run down the hill toward the finish line, only to remember that I have to loop the falls of clyde and back to the village. This seems cruel and I push up I hope to be the falls of clyde and my final climb. This is hard as I'm beat and want to finish. I've 15 mins to make the final mile to get under 8 hours. I push on and up and drop down to the clyde level. I know I've no more climbing and near the start I push on and sprint (well seems like a sprint) toward the finish with my garmin reading 7:59:12.


I get my goodie bag and a cupa tea and head over to the Hotel to get a couple of pints of beer. Only to tell my sister I saw her ex-man.

Post Race 

Really good day out, knacked and really chuffed with my time.  The race was super and the runners and race crews were really friendly and chatty. The flat cola worked really well and I would use it again. Not having my bladder (in backback) filled too early stopped me drinking too much too early.

Next day I was slightly stiff and my toes seemed to have settled down a bit.

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