Sunday, March 15, 2009

Running across Scotland - the Glasgow to Edinburgh canal race

When I wrote my report of the 24 hour race last September, I said something like "Went round the 1.5 mile circuit. Then did it again. Continued to do this for 24 hours". Well, yesterday's race almost matched the 24 hour race in terms of excitement. I would describe it as follows:

'Ran from Ruchill Park in Glasgow down to the Forth and Clyde canal. Continued to run alongside this canal for 22 mile or so until the Falkirk Wheel. Crossed the Forth and Clyde canal and joined the Union Canal. Continued to run alongside this canal (which looked very like the last canal) for 32 miles or so, until the finish at Harrison Park in Edinburgh. Then stopped and went home'.

It is strange running along a canal towpath. It is completely flat - no hills at all - which is actually more difficult than running an undulating route, as it is constantly sore on your muscles. For most of the route there isn't much to see at all. The canals were built for commercial purposes rather than recreation, and pass through Scotland's industrial heartland, with only the occasional town or village on route. The Falkirk Wheel is quite interesting, and it was good to see a group of youngsters out canoeing at Linlithgow. There is a nice marina at Auchinstarry, and a traditional looking pub at Ratho. And that's about it - the only other highlights along the way were passing the Young Offenders Institution at Polmont, going under the M8 just after Broxburn, and going through a tunnel that is more than half a mile long just after Falkirk. Keith Hughes was just in front of me going through the aforementioned tunnel, so we amused ourselves by making loud noises (such as 'oooooooo') and listening to it echo. What a laugh. I spent most of the rest of the run listening to my radio.

Anyway back to the race itself. I finished in 11th place from 19 finishers in a time of 9 hours 39 minutes. I was quite pleased with that. My stomach was not good for the first few hours, necessitating a couple of emergency pitstops. Thankfully that improved as the run went on, and I finished quite strongly. Allybea and Liz T, despite being frozen, provided excellent backup at various points on route - their support was gratefully appreciated, as was the high quality chicken soup allybea had made. At one point the wind was so strong it actually blew the soup away. We were really lucky, however, that it was behind us for almost all of the race - it would have been a lot harder if we had been running from Edinburgh to Glasgow.


John Kynaston said...

I hope they don't quote you in any publicity to encourage runners to enter this race!!

I think you need to enter the Hardmoors 110 - you will get lots of hills and variety and you won't need your radio!!

See you on the 29th where there will also be lots of hills and variety!

BTW - good run!


Brian Mc said...

The soup clearly wasn't thick enough. Tell allybea to add more cornflour or veg. :-)

Billy said...

Good effort Ian. I read on your blog a while back how much you hate canal runs, so it must have been a bit of a slog.

To make things more interesting next year, maybe they should have a rule that you have to keep the canal to your left? (and no running backwards, either).

Thomas said...

Ian, well done and good to hear you had a strong finish.
And now since I have done the canal run myself I have to admit there is some boring element to this. I cannot deny this.
However seeing a river crossing motorways (and not just below but above) and to see a few more engineering tricks was something very interesting! So doing the race at least once is probably not a bad idea.

Davie Bell said...

Good steady run Ian,I know where you're coming from regards sore legs, it was tough running 30 miles with stiffness and soreness in them.
I take it that was Mrs B and Mrs T who stopped and asked me directions to the finish as I was hobbling down to Haymarket?


Anonymous said...

There was some ok bits - there was some nice trees and it was very quiet past Linlithgow and heading to Bathgate. Thew Bridge Inn in Ratho do a decent pint... I was having a good time running to bridges then walking for a bit then starting up again when I saw the next bridge..Nice one to get the t-shirt for, but not sure if I will rush back.. Top run mate - Cheers KH

Lee Maclean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee Maclean said...

Mentalists the lot of you!!
Maybe fancy dress could have added some interest. Watcha think?
Maybe next year lol!

Well done, Mrs Mac x

allybea said...

Davie, yes that was us driving round in circles for ages. I could say I didn't recognise you with clothes on! (since I've only seen you in shorts before)

Brian, there was nowt wrong with my soup. Some eejit sat it on the bench and the cup blew away as it was a tad windy!!!

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Anonymous said...

was wondering if you have any info on this subject,as i was looking to run the glasgow to edinurgh canal for charity and was looking to find out if it was an offical race any info much appreciated
Graeme Grant

Anonymous said...

Hey, me and 6 friends are going to attempt to run this in June for fundraising for treatment for our seriously unwell friend. In sixth year and all in good shape, just wondering whether this was a huge slog that required lots of training, or a slog with little training. Aim to do it under 13 hours...any idea what pace we should aim for if I can do 1/2 marathon in 80 mins? With your time were you running hard constantly? And where did you manage to have pit stops where people not running could assist? Any advice appriciated. Thanks