Clyde Stride – July 15th 2017 – Gary Cook

Following on from last year’s relay run with Tinto and a previous year’s withdrawal due to Injury, I eventually made it to the start line for this year’s event – my first race over marathon distance. This was despite twisting my good ankle two weeks before the race at the trampoline park with the kids…Rock Tape worked a treat.

Congregating at Patrick Train station for registration at 8am were a mix of ultra, relay runners and supporters with the usual friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere despite the rain.

Registration done, Michael Jordan’s No: 23 pinned to my shorts…I dropped off the drop bags and a donation for the race’s chosen charity for this year Hamilton District Food Bank  then it was off to join the family in the cafe, I managed to abstain from a bacon roll which another ultra-runner was insisting was his normal pre-race choice. Pretty sure it must be the Morrison’s Café (and toilet) busiest day of the year.

With the weather starting to deteriorate Mrs Mac. (Lee Maclean) the race organiser gathered everyone for pre-race briefing around 8:45, then with her encouragement ringing in our ears it was off to the start line at the underpass on the cycle path beside the Express way.

Breaking with tradition of starting exactly at 9am, the race started a little early due to the rain. With the race being started this year by a real life hero Craig Calderwood we were off and running.

…and they’re off!

 

 

 

Start – Patrick to CP1 Cambuslang

Starting at Partick on the cycle route we were off and running alongside the express way with everyone bunched up and dodging the big puddles (trying to keep the feet dry for while…). Eventually crossing over at the old Pump house, around the SECC and down onto the riverside.

Onwards into Glasgow Green and trying to settle down into a steady pace as the crowd thinned out, it was good to get chatting to some other runners and pace each other for a few miles.

With no diversions this year it was a straight run along the walkway all to the way to CP1 at Cambuslang Bridge.

Arriving at CP1 I was feeling good and was greeted by enthusiastic Marshalls and helpers who eagerly assisted with my drop bag and drinks.

Leaving the checkpoint I received some surprise encourage from an old work colleague (and runner) Scott Fergus as I crossed the bridge.

 

CP1 Cambuslang to CP2 Strathclyde Park

Crossing the bridge I followed the cycle path for short distance, passing the fire station before leaving the cycle path for a proper grass\dirt path.

With the recent rain the path was a little muddy at times which wasn’t ideal with road shoes, but the newer sections of path along and around the new houses was ok.

Heading down to the miners footbridge the brick steps down were very slippy, having slipped here before I took my time. It was around here I decided to change my shoes at CP2 for trails shoes.

After crossing the Rotten Calder using the miner’s bridge it was a push up the hill and under the railway and heading for the crossing with Blantyre Farm Road, again some chat with a fellow runners helping the miles to pass by.

Volunteering at this crossing was our very own Susan Allison, so once again I received some great encouragement as I crossed the road and back into the woods.

Soon after crossing the road, I crossed the Clyde into Uddingstone..

 

Crossing into Uddingstone  (from Niall McLaren on the Clydestride FB page )

After the bridge it’s a decent path along the Clyde, still feeling ok I pushed on past Bothwell castle and back over the Clyde via the bridge at the David Livingstone centre.

Once I got onto the road at Blantyre I was starting to feel rubbish, seems to be that regardless of my fitness and choice of nutrition I still feel rubbish around 18 miles.

Hoping it would pass quickly I pushed onto Bothell Bridge and down and across the paths and bridges at the new super-duper Raith interchange. Although much safer these days, the new paths with long swooping bends for cyclists are a long road for a shortcut when you are running L

 

Arriving into CP2

 

Arriving at CP2 I was greeted by the more enthusiastic marshals and my family which was a great boost as was the flat coke they brought with them.  I took a little longer in this CP and took advantage of the company and I also took this opportunity to dodge what seems to be a Clyde stride forum hot topic each year..road shoes or trail shoes. Here I swapped from road shoes to trail due to the heavy rain in the last few days.

 

CP2 Strathclyde Park to CP3 Mauldslie Bridge

Leaving CP2 and heading through Strathclyde Park I was still not feeling great but glad to be off the road and heading out on the grass.

Slowly feeling better as I headed through Baron’s Haugh Nature Reserve and the bottom the Dalzell estate. Leaving the estate and just before entering the “Coo field” some kids were dishing out high-fives and support with their dad.

Heading into the Coo field I had a quick chat with a relay runner before dropping in behind her pace setting and getting my own rhythm back and finally feeling better again.

The feeling better continued, helped by 19th Motherwell Boys’ Brigade who had setup their own “water and Haribo station”. Water and sweeties gladly accepted I pushed on to CP3.

Crossing the A71 just up from Garrion Bridge receiving “aggressive” but enthusiastic encouragement and road safety tips from the marshals, it was then down the hill and into the woods again at the bridge on Brownlee Road with just the last mile or so into CP3.

Arriving into CP3, once again receiving fantastic support from the CP team. Filling drinks and ensuring I had everything I needed.   I didn’t hang around too long here as I was ok and keen to keep going.

 

CP3 Mauldslie Bridge to Finish New Lanark

Not long after leaving CP3, the path leaves the riverside to go around the “new” Milton-Lockhart estate, this is probably one of the toughest parts of the route with several climbs\descents on some rough and muddy paths. Here is where I started to encounter some cramp which bothered me (and my pace) all the way to end, despite my salty based nutrition.

Past the muddy up & downs it was a decent run along the river with plenty of company at this stage with several other runners close by having bunched up in CP3. Before the first of several sets of stairs (didn’t help the cramp) climbing away from the river before a quick decent and run along the river into Crossford.

Another marshalled road crossing at Crossford Bridge with more welcome encouragement, it was into the woods again and along the river (meeting the cheery Susan Allison for a second time dog walking this time today!) starting to climb up for a few miles around Stonebyres and into Kirkfield bank.

Crossing the dam at the power station I met Mark and Steven Yule who shared their ultra-running wisdom and encouragement to help me push for the end, which was starting to feel very close now that I was on very familiar ground.

Crossing the Old Bridge at Kirkfield bank and heading along the walkway up to the park I was able to encourage some struggling fellow runners by sharing my local knowledge that we really on had about 1 to go rather than the 3 or 4 they feared.

Last push down through New Lanark where I saw my family waiting at the start of the final loop along to the boardwalk, I took the opportunity to stop for walk up to them (cramp was still very much an issue here)  for a chat  but my wife “insisted”  I run for a photo….

Nearly there..(runnning)

Last run out and then back along the board walk and down the steps into the finish with Alan Tait shouting me into the finish.

Finish

Crossing the line with my girls where we all received huge hugs from Mrs Mac (think they are copyrighted) and medals for all (it was Ava’s birthday so this went down well!)

 

Last dash for the line for the line with Ava and Owlette:

 

 

 

 

Chilling

Post-race I grabbed my soup and headed to chill my feet in the burn, while the Cook & Tait kids played in the park.

 

I would encourage fellow Tinto runners who have not taken part in the race before to consider it next year (it’s a “home” race after all) and hopefully we will have a relay team entered again.

Maybe I will get the chance to shout at encourage you along the way J

 

 

Winners

The race was won by David McLure in 4:52 with Angela Reid first Lady (12th overall) in 5:43

I was some way back in 49th in 7:15.

(taken from the provisional results

Course: