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.