Thistle-themed mascot, Clyde, was one of the stars of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He appeared at venues around the city and even managed to be cast in steel for his own series of statues. Inspired by the success of the Games, school teachers Jack Arnold of Bellahouston Harriers and Kenny Taylor of Dunoon Hill Runners and Westerland Cross Country Club set off to run by all 29 Clyde mascots on Wednesday 6 August. They told scottishrunningguide.com about their adventure.
After studying the map we decided to start out in the west of the city and met in the Botanic Gardens. Together we estimated that a 13-mile easy paced trot around the city lay ahead of us and we set off in high spirits. The early morning saw us move onwards to Victoria Park before circling back to the Clyde at the Riverside Museum. Three Clydes down and we were approaching 5 miles on the Garmins, not the easy start that we had expected and perhaps the first signs that the geography teacher should not have been in charge of deciding the best route to navigate the city. Doubts were starting to creep into our minds about the size of the challenge ahead of us.
Mid-morning saw us check off a number of west-end Clydes in relatively quick succession including those at Yorkhill Hospital, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Kelvingrove Park. Re-energised, we moved through the city centre collecting more QR codes on Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Bus Station and Queen Street Station. The QR codes on each statue were scanned using an app to chart progress towards completion of the trail.
After queuing for a photo with the Big G in George Square (not technically a Clyde Statue but part of the official Clyde’s Trail route) and collecting another two Clydes on Buchanan Street and St. Enoch Square we broke for lunch and reevaluated our route. We were 1/3rd of the way through our challenge and at the 9-mile mark. And it was lunch. We were meant to be in the pub by lunch!
Unperturbed, we made out east passing through Glasgow Cross and Parkhead before touching base with Clyde in Tollcross Park home to the swimming events during the Games. By this point fatigue was setting in but we managed to sum up the enthusiasm to bound back towards the city centre at 8.5 minute mile pace – our fastest of the day. Clyde’s were scanned and photographs were taken at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and Bridgeton cross before we made our way to Glasgow Green. Security was tight and we had to get the long lens out to photograph the second giant Clyde of the day due to the dismantling of the Games Park.
Legs were tiring fast so we stopped for second lunch on the banks of the Clyde. A quick scan of the Garmin showed we had passed half marathon distance expected and were now sitting at 15 miles. After looking at the map again we realised we had to cross the city en route to the BBC before crossing for statues in the south of the city. Heads down time as we collected statues at Broomielaw and Lancefield Quay before catching glimpse of the Hydro and Exhibition Centre, where so much great action had taken place the week before.
Desperate by now to finish we checked off Ibrox, home of the Rugby 7s, and made the long run along Paisley Road West to visit Clyde in the Gorbals before cutting south to Hampden and our temporary athletics stadium. Another pit stop saw a few more energy drinks guzzled and stockpiles of sweets replenished for the home straight.
Map out again, we decided to head to King’s Park before finishing the route in Queen’s Park with the final statue and giant wooden Clyde sculpture. Whether it was fatigue, delirium or poor map reading skills again the King’s Cross Clyde proved the hardest to find at a time when we would gladly have kissed his feet to appear in front of us. Feet shuffling much more slowly we quickened the pace yet barely noticed as the watches died on us. Six and a half hours later we finished having clocked up an estimated 27 miles – passing our personal furthest distance of the marathon without even planning it.
It was sad to hear the next day that the Clyde on Edmiston Drive had gone missing, presumed stolen, and that the other outdoor statues were to be removed for safekeeping. Despite what people who know us might say we both have strong alibis of being asleep the next morning when he was knocked!