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Ben Nevis Race 2011

Chris Brotherston has just sent in his race report from the 2011 Ben Nevis Hill Race:

It seemed like a big ask with all that ascent using only two blistered feet, the rain plummeting from the heavens and the gallus mountain clothed in dank mist. This was it……the Ben Nevis Hill race, the thing you hear about as a kid and think to yourself “wow, these guys must be superhuman”. And then as you stand at the start line you see the super human athletes such as Finlay Wild (no relation to the humble Oscar or his long suffering wife) and Angela Mudge (whose dog is even faster than you) or Stuart Mathieson (just being pseudo sycophantic there Stuart). But they are in the minority the rest of us are human; some carrying injuries while others carry hangovers and overhanging bellies. But, that’s hill racing with its motley assortment of craggies on the crags, sloppers on the slopes…..and the illiterate alliteraters….

Anyway, back to the hill race……….and in a hill race everything is about feet….how many feet of ascent and descent…how are your feet…..what are you wearing on your feet……did you keep your feet (no I gave mine away to a passing tourist who got in the way on the bloody zig zags!)…wow what a feat (!).

Anyway back to the hill race….it starts as most race do and then finishes. In between there are a hell of a lot of feet (4370 feet of ascent, 1000 runners feet and 500 incredible feats). To some it is running up and down in an incredible 1 ½ hours, to others it is completing it in just under four hours, while all those in between have their own personal goals.

An experience it was; an achievement it was; an emotional experience it certainly was; a joyous pleasure…..well I think I will leave that feat to the imagination…….

Wouldn’t change it for the world though….

More details, results and… FEATures (boom *tisch*) about this famous hill race at http://www.bennevisrace.co.uk/

Clyde Stride 40

Grant MacDonald sent in this excellent race report from this year’s running of the Clyde Stride 40 mile ultra marathon:

I had been toying with the idea of an ultramarathon this year so when I found out there was one that started a few yards from my front door I thought it would be rude not to really.
So, the Clyde Stride. A 40 mile jaunt from Partick train station to the slightly more scenic New Lanark via the not very well signposted Clyde walkway.
About 100 of us gathered at the back of the train station and were set off running down the clyde battling against confused cyclists and dogs coming in the other direction. The 1st section goes along the clyde towards Glasgow Green and it was here I passed a few Bellas running in the opposite direction on their Saturday morning run, strangely none of them were tempted to turn around and join me. Otherwise it was an uneventful and almost pleasant run to the 1st checkpoint at Cambuslang. I shoved a banana down my gob and continued along the 2nd section towards Strathclyde Park. This section is mostly offroad trails and was a bit of a relief after pounding the tarmac. The only shock during this section was coming out of miles of serene woodland and suddenly finding yourself having to cross a massive roundabout with no marshals for assistance. After giving myself a pat on the back for not getting runover by a massive lorry I trundled on to the 2nd checkpoint where Elsie was helpfuly waiting to load me up with sugary things before shoving me in the direction of strathclyde park.
The race then follows the river through Barons Haugh Nature Reserve. It was around this point I suddenly heard the friendly voice of Matt W (who was doing the race in a relay team) say hello. Not someone I would normally expect to see at this stage in a race. He kindly slowed down for a chat before effortlessly bounding off into the distance. At this point I was still feeling really good and wondering how long it would last. The answer to that question was about 3 more miles. As I came into the final checkpoint i started to feel a bit sick and was starting to bonk a bit too. I tried to shove some food down me for the last 12 mile hilly section but was really struggling to swallow anything. I shuffled onwards and was confronted by a near verticle series of steps. At this point the most rational thing to do seemed to be to lie down and have a good cry, but probably due to dehydration the tears wouldn’t come so I had to carry on. After a seemingly endless series of ups and downs I eventually came into New Lanark, but here the race has a sting in the tail. Just when you think you are finished you are diverted back into the woods for another mile or so- I believe there may have been some fruity language coming out of my mouth at this point. But having a good swear lifted the spirits and I staggered over the line and was pleasantly surprised to have finished 9th in 5hrs 50mins. At the finish line a beer and a cup of tea was thrust into my hand and I thought- wasn’t such a bad day after all really.
I had been toying with the idea of an ultramarathon this year so when I found out there was one that started a few yards from my front door I thought it would be rude not to really.

So, the Clyde Stride. A 40 mile jaunt from Partick train station to the slightly more scenic New Lanark via the not very well signposted Clyde walkway.

About 100 of us gathered at the back of the train station and were set off running down the clyde battling against confused cyclists and dogs coming in the other direction. The 1st section goes along the clyde towards Glasgow Green and it was here I passed a few Bellas running in the opposite direction on their Saturday morning run, strangely none of them were tempted to turn around and join me. Otherwise it was an uneventful and almost pleasant run to the 1st checkpoint at Cambuslang. I shoved a banana down my gob and continued along the 2nd section towards Strathclyde Park. This section is mostly offroad trails and was a bit of a relief after pounding the tarmac. The only shock during this section was coming out of miles of serene woodland and suddenly finding yourself having to cross a massive roundabout with no marshals for assistance. After giving myself a pat on the back for not getting runover by a massive lorry I trundled on to the 2nd checkpoint where Elsie was helpfuly waiting to load me up with sugary things before shoving me in the direction of Strathclyde park.

The race then follows the river through Barons Haugh Nature Reserve. It was around this point I suddenly heard the friendly voice of Matt W (who was doing the race in a relay team) say hello. Not someone I would normally expect to see at this stage in a race. He kindly slowed down for a chat before effortlessly bounding off into the distance. At this point

I was still feeling really good and wondering how long it would last. The answer to that question was about 3 more miles. As I came into the final checkpoint i started to feel a bit sick and was starting to bonk a bit too. I tried to shove some food down me for the last 12 mile hilly section but was really struggling to swallow anything. I shuffled onwards and was confronted by a near verticle series of steps. At this point the most rational thing to do seemed to be to lie down and have a good cry, but probably due to dehydration the tears wouldn’t come so I had to carry on. After a seemingly endless series of ups and downs I eventually came into New Lanark, but here the race has a sting in the tail. Just when you think you are finished you are diverted back into the woods for another mile or so – I believe there may have been some fruity language coming out of my mouth at this point. But having a good swear lifted the spirits and I staggered over the line and was pleasantly surprised to have finished 9th in 5hrs 50mins.

At the finish line a beer and a cup of tea was thrust into my hand and I thought – wasn’t such a bad day after all really!

Scotland to the Sahara Ultra – 14th Nov 2010

For those of you that don’t know Andrew Murray is a rather optimistic chap who has set himself the goal of running from Scotland to the Sahara desert. This is a total of over 2600 miles which he is planning to do running on 85 consecutive days. In doing this he hopes to raise £100000 for the Yamaa trust, a charity aiming to eliminate poverty in the Gobi region of Mongolia.
As part of his run he invited people to take part in an ultra-marathon race from Kinlochleven to Tyndrum. In a moment of madness myself and Elsie decided this might be a fun thing to do.
We arrived in Kinlochleven in the dark the night before the race to find Andrew Murray drinking beer, showing off his swollen Achilles and dishing out kilts for the race in an attempt to break the world record for the number of people racing in kilts (rather unlikely that there is one to be broken, but anyway…) Andrew shared some of his running tips, like eating 480grams of scotch eggs for breakfast in preparation for his fifth day of ultra marathon running. After a hearty lasagne and a pint, we retired to our luxurious (not) accommodation at the Blackwater hostel. Due to a minor administrative error on my part, we had failed to get our entry in on time, but Elsie charmed Andrew into giving us entry into the race.
On the start line there was much discussion about the unconventional kit list for the race, which included safety pins and a mirror, but had no mention of items such as gloves or maps. There were also an impressive number of runners sporting kilts and other fancy dress items. We set off at 8:30 on a clear and cold morning, surrounded by snow covered mountains and headed south along the west highland way route. After a fair deal of climbing, most reached the devils staircase where there was plenty of ice and snow underfoot to make running interesting and a little bit scary. Others in the race (Grant included, Elsie excluded) failed to follow the well-marked path and ended up adding 3 miles of off-track, in-bog, over-mountain lost-shoe running…hmmmm, not what you need when doing an ultra, but what you get for assuming Andrew Murray knows the way and following him! Eventually us lost ones got back on course slightly muddier and tired than those competitors with the unfair advantage of being able to follow a path.
Other race highlights included a spectacularly leaking platypus, meeting deer at the Kings House pub, multiple toilet stops, incredible views, running alongside men and women in skirts, and very wet feet. After a very long 28 miles (more like 31 in my case due to the scenic detour) we reached the finish line tired but happy, Elsie and her sister even managed to raise a cheer with a sprint down the hill to cross the finish line. We retired to the pub in Tyndrum to stuff our faces and to delay the inevitable drive back to Glasgow. However hard the drive seemed after that run we were happy in the knowledge that unlike Andrew we didn’t have another 2000+ miles of running still to do.
You can follow Andrew’s progress at http://www.scotland2sahara.com/
he is hoping to raise £100000 for the Yamaa trust http://www.yamaatrust.com/
so if you are feeling generous please donate him a few of your hard earned pennies (or pounds).G

Grant MacDonald sent through this superb report after accompanying Andrew Murray on Sunday.

For those of you that don’t know Andrew Murray is a rather optimistic chap who has set himself the goal of running from Scotland to the Sahara desert. This is a total of over 2600 miles which he is planning to do running on 85 consecutive days. In doing this he hopes to raise £100000 for the Yamaa trust, a charity aiming to eliminate poverty in the Gobi region of Mongolia.

As part of his run he invited people to take part in an ultra-marathon race from Kinlochleven to Tyndrum. In a moment of madness myself and Elsie decided this might be a fun thing to do.

We arrived in Kinlochleven in the dark the night before the race to find Andrew Murray drinking beer, showing off his swollen Achilles and dishing out kilts for the race in an attempt to break the world record for the number of people racing in kilts (rather unlikely that there is one to be broken, but anyway…) Andrew shared some of his running tips, like eating 480grams of scotch eggs for breakfast in preparation for his fifth day of ultra marathon running. After a hearty lasagne and a pint, we retired to our luxurious (not) accommodation at the Blackwater hostel. Due to a minor administrative error on my part, we had failed to get our entry in on time, but Elsie charmed Andrew into giving us entry into the race.

On the start line there was much discussion about the unconventional kit list for the race, which included safety pins and a mirror, but had no mention of items such as gloves or maps. There were also an impressive number of runners sporting kilts and other fancy dress items. We set off at 8:30 on a clear and cold morning, surrounded by snow covered mountains and headed south along the west highland way route. After a fair deal of climbing, most reached the devils staircase where there was plenty of ice and snow underfoot to make running interesting and a little bit scary. Others in the race (Grant included, Elsie excluded) failed to follow the well-marked path and ended up adding 3 miles of off-track, in-bog, over-mountain lost-shoe running…hmmmm, not what you need when doing an ultra, but what you get for assuming Andrew Murray knows the way and following him! Eventually us lost ones got back on course slightly muddier and tired than those competitors with the unfair advantage of being able to follow a path.

Other race highlights included a spectacularly leaking platypus, meeting deer at the Kings House pub, multiple toilet stops, incredible views, running alongside men and women in skirts, and very wet feet. After a very long 28 miles (more like 31 in my case due to the scenic detour) we reached the finish line tired but happy, Elsie and her sister even managed to raise a cheer with a sprint down the hill to cross the finish line. We retired to the pub in Tyndrum to stuff our faces and to delay the inevitable drive back to Glasgow. However hard the drive seemed after that run we were happy in the knowledge that unlike Andrew we didn’t have another 2000+ miles of running still to do.

You can follow Andrew’s progress at http://www.scotland2sahara.com/ – He is hoping to raise £100000 for the Yamaa trust http://www.yamaatrust.com – So if you are feeling generous please donate him a few of your hard earned pennies (or pounds).

10k parking

We’ve received a lot of entries, so we expect that parking will be tight in the Palace of Arts. If you’re not arriving via foot, bike or public transport, we’d encourage participants to consider parking along Mosspark Boulevard (plenty of free parking spaces available), and then walking or jogging the short distance across Bellahouston park, past the sports centre, to the Palace of Arts (by the hockey pitches) for registration. Directions available here (link).

Details on getting to the park on the event page. Public transport details are also on our main club page (note though registration is in the Palace of Arts).

Bella 10k entries received to 7th November

An updated list of all entries received to the Jimmy Irvine Achilles Heel Bella 10k so far (7th November) is available here. If you’ve entered, please check your details are on the list, and get in touch by e-mailing info@bellahoustonroadrunners.co.uk if you’re not on the list as you’d expect.

The event is filling up fast. See the event pages for entry details, and get your form in the post quickly

Bella 10k Entries received to 31st October

Update: Entries to 7th November have been posted here.

A list of all entries received to the Jimmy Irvine Achilles Heel Bella 10k, so far (31st October, 2010) is available here. If you’ve entered, please check your details are on the list, and get in touch by e-mailing info@bellahoustonroadrunners.co.uk if you’re not on the list as you’d expect.

If you’ve not entered yet, there’s still time, but the event is filling up fast. See the event pages for entry details, and get your form in the post.

The course maps have been updated on the Events page also.  If you have been studying the maps, you’ll now notice a slight change in some of the markers to reflect the fact that the course has now been accurately measured by an approved measurer.  This resulted in a change of position for some markers, and a new finish point.

Birkebeinerløpet, Norway

Elsie Downham ventured a bit further afield to our usual race reports…

I thought I would write up my latest (and now not so recent) racing experience as it was a bit different and very fun. And muddy. On 18th September I went to Norway to run an off-road/x-country/hilly half marathon race. I have a friend living in Oslo who told me about the event and twisted my arm to enter it back in the spring when running in the Norwegian hills for 13.1 miles seemed like a good plan.

The race is famous amongst Norwegians, and they are very proud that 8000 people run it each year (given that the Norwegian population stands at only about 7 million, I guess this is quite an achievement!)
So, the race is called, take a deep breath, the Birkebeinerløpet and takes place just outside of Lillehammer (a 2.5 hour train journey north of Oslo). There is a website to visit which has information about the race I did, as well as other running events (on the same day there is the Halvbirken, 11km and the Ultrabirken, 73km) and cycling and skiing races which take part at the same location http://www.birkebeiner.no/ – you can translate the page to English if your Norwegian is a bit rusty :)

I flew to Oslo on the Friday. We woke up very early on Saturday morning for porridge and sandwich making (Norway is super expensive so you always need to make sure you have a good food supply on you so as not to blow your credit card on a banana (£1.59 I paid for ONE banana on the morning of the race, not amused). We then got on a train (nice trains in Norway) to Lillehammer with lots of other runners. There was a very complex but well organised system for leaving your bags at the finish (the stadium in Lillehammer), and for dropping any extra layers just before the start which were then shipped back to the finish for you. We were then bussed up the mountain to the start at Sjusjøen, just less than 900m above sea level. 

It was cold when we got off the bus, and being a true northerner I’d already stripped down to my shorts. Lots of funny looks from sensible Norwegians in full length tights, long sleeves, hats and gloves. What a bunch of wusses! I was very glad to be sporting my new INOV8 Mudclaws – lots of boggy and muddy sections, very steep downhills, rocky and rooty singletrack, and some sneaky uphills too. I managed to more or less stick to a 5 minute kilometre pace and finished the race in 1hr48min28sec, which they seemed to think put me above average for my age group and I got a small silver cup :D (average finishing time for women aged 25-29 was 1hr59min02sec). There was a good spread for race finishers – soup, bread, cinnamon buns, bananas, and even showers!

So, all in all a long way to go for a race, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of variation in terrain, a good post-race feed, and Scandinavian blondes of course.

Hope to be back at training sometime soon…

Ben Venue 2010 Results

After last year’s gale force winds, the weather gods were slightly kinder to the 95 runners at the Bella Ben Venue Hill Race today, with a torrential downpour on the start line and only 30mph winds on the ridge to contend with.

But the weather did not stop some fast racing, with the lead changing hands many times between the top group before Matt Sullivan (Shettleston) & Peter Devenport (Bellahouston) used local knowledge for a good line on the final downhill on the open hillside from the ridge into Gleann Riabhach, and managed to pull away from the others. Matt held off Peter to win in a time of 1 hour 10 mins for the 8 mile course, but if Peter had not been forced to stop and tie a shoe lace in the run-in, the finish could have been even tighter. Finishing close behind this pair were the Shettleston duo, Tom Owens and Jethro Lennox.

In the ladies competition, Jacqui Higginbottom (Carnethy) used her speed (& long legs) on the steep trail section to overcome Shona Robertson of Westies, while Ellie Homewood, also of Westies finished in third.

In a tightly fought male vet race, the eventual winner was Bruce Smith (Carnethy) from Will Manners (Strathearn) and Alan Gilkison (Westerlands). In the ladies vet competition Fabienne Thompson of Carnegie held off the Carnethy pair, Joanne Anderson & Joan Wilson.

The teams prizes were split to the east & west of the country, with Shettleston winning the men’s (Matt Sullivan, Tom Owens, Jethro Lennox) and Carnethy winning the ladies (Jacqui Higginbottom, Fiona McKinnon & Joanne Anderson).

Being a new race, not everyone took the optimum route today, and I’m sure everyone knows of places where they can shave off a few seconds in the big race next year, but spare a thought for the runner who took a very non-optimum route, and ended up at Kinlochard, resulting in a 12 mile taxi ride back to the finish!

Ben Venue is one of the SHR championship races in 2011, so with this being the first race over the full course, we are keen to learn from your experience, so please send any comments or suggestions for improvement to benvenue@bellahoustonroadrunners.co.uk

The race doubles as a fundraiser for the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team, so many thanks to all the runners, marshalls & helpers who helped raise £500 for team funds.

Hope to see you all next year!

Results available as either a PDF (link) or Excel (link)

Bella 5k Race Report

Sunday 8th August was a fine day for the Achilles Heel Bella 5k race, with the sun making a pleasant appearance for the first time in a while.

152 runners took part in the event, 35 from the host club Bella Road Runners. Achilies Heel Bella 5k Results 2010

Winning the mens race in fine style was Paul Sorrie from Shettleston Harriers in an excellent time of 14:59, a new course record.

Eilis McKechanie from HBT won the womens’ race in an equally impressive time of 18 mins.

Paul was followed by David Millar, Irvine AC who took the M40 prize and third was Bella’s own Kenny Richmond. In the ladies race Garscube Harriers runners Lesley Chisholm and Kirsty Husband took second and third place respectively and Lesley first FV35.

First Male Team prize went to Bella Road Runners: Kenny Richmond, Ciaran Dougherty and Craig Ross. First Female Team was Garscube: Lesley Chisholm, Kirsty Husband and Jill O’Neil.

A fine selection of food was on offer after the race in the Palace of Art for runners and helpers to savour and enjoy the excellent sunshine. Many thanks to all of the volunteers who helped provide such excellent support to the event.

Photos will follow soon. Thanks to Gerry Scullion for the race report!

Why not volunteer at the Women’s and Men’s 10k events?

The club has – as usual – been asked to provide start area marshals for the forthcoming Ignis Asset Management Women’s 10k on 9th May, 2010. Gent’s from the club, and ladies who aren’t running, can sign up to help out on the club forum.

The MHFS 10k for men, on 20th June is also on the lookout for volunteers. The event – the only men-only 10k in the country – is run by a small charity, so is dependent on lots of volunteers coming forward. Find out more, and sign up, on their website.

This year all members wishing to complete the club’s championship criteria need to volunteer at at least one running event.