Saturday, 26 September 2015

Back to the John Lucas Memorial 50 Miles

This would be my 3rd John Lucas, so far it has been one finish from 2013, which i won and again in 2014 where i pulled out after going wrong  a couple of times with 38 miles in the legs, so i knew that i wanted to make amends for the previous year and do better in 2015, so fast forward to the Clyde Stride, i was running leg 3 which starts at Strathclyde Park when i got talking to David Meldrum, David has done a fantastic job with the event and i had mentioned that i planned to run so he advised me to get the entry in fast, so i did.

Race day arrived and i agreed to pick up Gerry Craig as he had kindly got me for the Clyde Stride Relay a few weeks earlier, we arrived at Strathaven and picked up our numbers, a quick chat to Greg Beattie running the event for the first time and a hello to Lee McLean, Helen and John Munro before. As we headed to the start i could see Grant Jeans in the distance, this year the race started on the main road so after David addressed the runners with the race brief we were off, Grant immediately went to the front but did not go off too fas compared to his tactics in the G2E earlier in the year, myself and Gerry just sat in close behind.

The event also offers a relay event which requires 5 in a team, good friend and training partner James Stewart had put a team in and at one stage i was in with a chance of possibly being part of the team, however the team picked remained the same which is why i ended up doing the whole thing, their loss as i could have bought them home even quicker, lol, seriously they blew the rest out the park, i am now putting a team together for next year, lol, anyway back to the race.

Within  a half mile of Checkpoint one, we were met with the relay runners warming up, a quick hello to Barry johnstone who was part of Jame's Team Vambo just  before we arrived at CP1, Grant still sitting in front of us crossed over to pick up his drink as he did we continued through the junction with a nice downhill section as i turned the bend, it was a quick hello to Janice Millar, i continued along and feeling good at this stage thought i would just work away and wait for Gerry and Grant to pull me back in, still a long way to go, this never seemed to happen possibly down to the fact that at this stage i was feeling good and managed to throw in seven sub seven minute miles before the next check point.

As i  arrived in Stonehouse still feeling reasonably good, it was a quick hello to Lee McLean and David Waterman who filled my drinks bottle back up, i was away again, just around the corner i got a shout from another training partner, Stephen Schofield, i was now approaching Marathon distance, which i went through in around 3:10, this is where the race can find you out as the next section has some nice climbs, i continued to work away and was keen after leaving Larkhall to make sure that i do not go wrong again this year.

The next point took me through Glassford which is around 31 miles, i went in to the hall and refilled my bottle, i was now starting to feel the going tough, i was struggling bad in this section with cramps and feeling dehydrated i decided to try and tuff it out until i could reach, David Gow, part of the relay team came flying past me,  Auldhouse which is 40 miles,  so it was a bit of running and walking, Auldhouse just felt like it was never arriving, suddenly i could see the checkpoint in the distance and stopped for a five minutes to refill my bottle, a quick hello to Karen Robertson on Marshalling duties and a chat with David Mooney, David was my wing man back in 2013 when i ran the race and have a lot of respect for, anyway we got chatting and his super hero Partner Julie Docherty nipped in to the Auldhouse Arms (Local Pub) and came out with a can of coke for me, this would later see me through to the end.

I was now into the last ten miles, Davy was cycling the last section and was giving me encouragement to continue but i was still cramping and had not recovered from the dehydration, he advised me that Gerry was closing in and was now only around two minutes behind me, this section continues to climb until you reach the summit where the wind turbines are, i happened to look round at 42 Miles and saw Gerry working towards me, as he closed in i decided to have another go at trying to stay as close as possible so i tucked in and kept working away, as we started to head downhill i found myself with a wee gap opening to Gerry, with Davy continuing to give us both support at this stage.

We arrived neck and neck at the junction and knew there was around 5 miles left to go so i continued to sit just behind Gerry, at one point i said on you go Gerry but within a minute or so i thought to myself you cannot stop now some how i found another wind and managed to get back up beside Gerry, all this time Davy was still willing us both on, the times started to pick up as the miles started to disappear, by now it was nip and tuck with both of us taking up pole position, we were now into the last mile and still neck and neck, this was how it would end as we both crossed the line together, both of us were greeted by David, Sarah Self (SUMS best Helper) and Team Vambo, we later found out that Grant had dropped out again and both Gerry an i would record PBs.

A huge thanks goes to Gerry for making me work right to the end, to Davy for the encouragement to continue, Julie for the can of coke, this certainly worked it magic in the last miles and to David Meldrum for putting on another superb event.

Monday, 21 September 2015

River Ayr Way Challenge

I had decide to enter the River Ayr Way Challenge only 2 days before entries closed, looking down the list of entries there was some decent names that i recognised immediately, Robert Turner, Grant Jeans, Jonny Pritchard, Mark Caldwell James Murray and Andrew Crichton,Glen Gemmell and Willie Robertson.

I had received a Facebook message from my friend James Stewart asking if i could give Jonny Pritchard a lift as he was travelling down from Stornoway and staying over in Glasgow. I picked up Jonny at 6am outside his hotel and we headed for Ayr, we arrived first in the car park i could see Anneke at the back of the van so we went over and i introduced Jonny as we got our numbers, shortly after Glen arrived and then Willie Robertson.

We got on the bus and started taking to a group of runners from Dumbarton AC, the jokes make the journey seem quick despite the ram shackle of a bus we were travelling in, as we arrived at Glenbuck, the first person i met was Greg Beattie who joked about offering me a 200 mtr lift to the meeting point, aye right, Mark, Andrew and James appeared and we had a few quick hellos before we got called to the start, after a quick photo shoot we were off.

As in previous years i set off at a steady pace, average 6:30, i happened to look on my shoulder and could see Willie Robertson, followed by Jonny, after the first checkpoint (Kames Carpark) at 5 miles we settled down and it did not feel like a race as we all started to chat, i happened to look back and saw Mark Caldwell closing in, Mark i know well from previous races and our 2011 West Highland Way Race anyway he came through and went to the front of the group until Checkpoint 2 Limmerhaugh (10 miles). on leaving the checkpoint both Willie and Jonny set off and opened up a gap of a few minutes on us, i continued to work away with Mark close by, i remember saying to Mark just to do our own race as i felt they could still take a wrong turn with not knowing the route, this turned out to be the case as i came through 19 miles after putting in a sub 7,  i saw Jonny and Willie running along a road, i shouted at them to say they were off course at this point i was back in front and decided to try and open a gap, knowing that if i could the possibility of them not knowing the course would be to my advantage, this turned out to be correct as i later found out it was one wrong turn was one too many for Willie and he pulled out leaving Jonny in second place for a long time, as i arrived at Failford (25 Miles) i picked up my juice and was greeted by Greg Beattie on Marshalling duties sporting his camera, a quick wave and i was back into the trail,  

I passed through Marathon distance in 3:21:46 and still feeling fresh i continued along through the detour down to Tarholm Bridge (i went wrong here last year) and i was not doing the same this time around, i continued to work away through Annbank, and along a road that Andrew Crichton calls Tomato Lane, again another tough spot as it twists climbs and turns until you reach the main A77 road, once here and over the bridge,i knew that my time was looking close for the record but just not sure how close, the last stretch is a small undulation before dropping down and then crossing  over the bridge knowing that Dam Park Stadium is under 3/4 mile away, on approach to the track the place was empty, one person was sitting in the stand and Anneke working away under the finish line tent, i crossed the line to be told that i had now recorded the fastest time, Richard Cooper who had finished 3rd at the Clyde Stride was 2nd to cross the line in 5:18:48 followed by Jonny in 5:22:32.