After weeks of persistent rainfall, Saturday's Clyde Stride Ultra witnessed some precious hours of sunshine as runners embarked on the 40 mile race. 119 individual runners and 22 relay teams lined up to hear the starter's pistol fired by Brian MacLeod, store manager of Morrison's supermarket and host of race registration, and at 9am, 141 runners began their journey to New Lanark.
From the outset it was clear that Giffnock North's George Taylor intended to employ a self-proclaimed sprint-and-hang-on strategy as he led the field out of Glasgow toward the first check point at Cambuslang. A surprise leader in the women's race was ultra marathon newbie, Charlotte Black who had travelled from Shetland for her first race beyond 26.2 miles and her first off-road.
The fine weather continued throughout the day although the course failed to dry out completely, a fact that was made evident by Paul Giblin who arrived at the second checkpoint in Strathclyde Park covered head to toe in mud. Unfortunately the fall that led to his immersion also caused some mild concussion and dictated his reluctant withdrawal at Mauldslie Bridge.
The battle for first place was now being fought out between Donnie Campbell and Craig Reid with the former leading by under a minute going through the 28 mile check point. The race director, Lee Maclean, and her band of assistants were now set up with beer and tablet to receive the winner in New Lanark and their anticipation was relieved when Donnie Campbell came storming down the hill to break the tape in 5:05:42. In second place was Craig Reid in 5:18:30 who bettered third place finisher, George Taylor by a little over a minute.
In the women's field Charlotte Black was overwhelmed at success in her first ultra when she claimed top female in 6:06:00. Despite Rosie Bell's outstanding victory in the West Highland Way Race just four weeks previous, the Strathaven hotshot proved that she had the legs and heart to make the podium in 6:13:12 with her Strathaven Striders team-mate, Elaine Calder claiming third place in 6:22:14.
The relay finish was a fiercely battled affair and resulted in Motherwell AC eventually claiming top spot in front of Rebel Runners 1 and Strathclyde Park Run 1 who were beaten into second and third places respectively.In total 106 individual runners claimed their finishers' medals and all 22 relay teams covered the 40 miles to make the sun-drenched Clyde Stride the sixth success in the 2012 Scottish Ultra Marathon Series.
Scottish Running Guide would like to thank race organiser Lee Maclean, David Waterman for kindly submitting this race report and David Searil, for providing the image.