Saturday 15th July saw the Maryhillbillies return to the Clyde Stride Relay. Unlike previous years, the team lining up at Partick station was the same as had originally been agreed at the beginning of the year. It was, however, a patched up squad consisting of an injured Andy (with no running in 7 weeks) and a tired Craig who had only returned from a relaxing break up and down the French Alps on his bike that morning. Thankfully Chris and I were on hand to carry the weight of expectation.
Andy got us underway, taking off from Partick towards Cambuslang just as the rain begin to pick up. Despite being more than a little ring rusty, the team were surprised how quickly he zipped past us at one of our look out points, and delighted when he came steaming into the Cambuslang checkpoint in 2nd place. A brilliant achievement given the lack of running and considering the very evident pain he was in by the end. Hopefully your exertions don’t keep you out of action for too much longer Andy!
Chris then picked up the baton for the 2nd leg from Cambuslang into Strathclyde Park. This leg as advertised as the shortest of the 4, but upon post-race reflection there didn’t appear to be much difference between any of the sections and with the undulating trails this was probably one of the more difficult. Some of the other teams behind us had front loaded their speedy runners into this section as well judging on the pace they passed by the watching team at the David Livingstone centre bridge. Chris battled away valiantly and pulled into Strathclyde Park with the team in 5th place.
I ran the 3rd section, which winds round Strathclyde Park and onto the path towards Maudslie bridge. I had ran this section a few years ago and it is fairly straight forward, however the wet conditions of the day made the course a bit slipper than I remembered. After a fast start I slogged away for a while, receiving a bit of a boost when I managed to overtake two relay teams in quick succession about half way in. With no one else in eye sight in front of me, the rest of the race was about holding off those behind which I managed despite not running as fast as I would have liked. I passed into checkpoint 3 with the team in 3rd.
Craig took over for the final section towards New Lanark. This is the longest leg of the 4 and notoriously difficult, with some steep hills and stairs to navigate as well as plenty of potential for getting lost. Thankfully, Craig had no problems with the latter and, when you consider his exertions of the previous week, ran well to only drop the one place and bring us over the line in 4th place out of the 15 teams. No podium place, but given the relative fitness of our competitors, a heroic triumph over adversity for the Hillbillies!
The relay race was one comprehensively by ‘Hills thrills and $10 Bills’ in a great time of 4:41:10.
Overall Time :
Maryhillbillies – 5:18:59
Individual times below (approx):
Andy Sutherland (10 miles) – 1:05:23
Chris Hever (9.3 miles) – 1:30:09
Scott Coulter (9.4 miles) – 1:13:44
Craig White (10 miles) – 1:29:43