Not the best start to my day....
I was halfway to Gilmour Street railway station when the heavens opened and got soaked to the skin. When I asked for my ticket to Glasgow I was told the trains were all off and the next rail replacement bus wasn't for 50 minutes. I couldn't afford to wait that long as I knew these buses meander around all the intermediate stations. So i ended up running to the high street and managed to get a bus along to Cessnock to get the underground to Partick. So I was a bit stressed by the time I got here!!
So, the Clyde Stride, 40 miles from Partick Train station to New Lanark following the'Clyde Walkway Route' is this years 6th race of the SUMS. My initial target time was 7.5 hours and was quite confident of doing this. I met a few familiar faces at the start, chatting briefly to Mark Caldwell, Karin McKendrick (who was there supporting her Husband Bill) and Ray McCurdy. I met a few others at the start for the first time today, David Hall, Lee McLean,Victoria O'Reilly and Ali Beattie (thanks for the hug!). There was a good turn out here today with all the regular 'big guns' in attendance. Defending winner Grant Jeans, Lucy Colquhoun (2nd overall last year and who was first lady again this year), Debbie Martin-Consani (who was second lady this year), Sharon Law and Richie Cunningham (who won the WHW again this year), so with this in mind it looked like it would be a great competitive race at the front.
The last few miles were tough from the pain my feet gave me. My legs were fine and the brain was willing. There were a few tough climbs on this section which didn't make it easier. At the top of one really brutal climb I suddnly caught a glimpse of New Lanark through the trees which gave a much need boost. I then caught sight of a couple of runners in front as I decended the road into New Lanark. The sting in the tail with this route is that when you drop down to the Mill and you think its all over, its not!! You have one more climb back up above the site and loop round behind the finish before you rejoin the riverside path to then approach the finish. Down the steps, through the archway, over the grass....the end!!
I found this tough today from the heat and blisters on both feet. Finishing in 8 hours 28 minutes, which is a wee bit disapointing but it's a finish which is always a bonus. A hand shake and a hug from David Hall and Lee McLean (the hug was from Lee i hasten to add) at the finish and a cup of tea. As a finisher today we got a medal and a great technical t-shirt.
Lee had done a fantastic job of organising and running the day and greeting each runner as they finished which was very much appreciated. So was the beer!! So a big, no make that HUGE, well done and thanks to her and her team of marshalls and volunteers for making it an awesome day. I headed to the Mill hotel for a shower, which were were suposed to pay for but I think when the staff saw me limping in they took pity on me and didn't charge me. Bonus. After when I went to get the shuttle bus to the train station I discovered the last one for the night had gone and would have to walk the mile and a half into Lanark. If you know New Lanark then you will know of the monumental hill you have to climb, which after running 40 miles was chuffin brutal!! I collapsed into a seat in the station waiting room and then who of all people shows up? Ray McCurdy. On the train journey to Glasgow I don't think I got more than a dozen words in. Man, Ray can talk!!! But I could listen to Ray for hours talking about his 'millions' of runs.