Rob and Izzy win Glasgow to Edinburgh ultramarathon
I have long been fascinated by ultra distance runners. I find it hard to understand their determination to run hundreds and hundreds of miles in training and then pull off incredible speeds and distances in bonkers-sounding races. Yet, whenever you speak to a keen ultra runner, you can’t help but be impressed by their modesty, their sense of humour and their friendliness.
Great examples are the winners of Saturday’s Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultramarathon (the G2E 2015), Rob Soutar and Izzy Knox. While chatting to them after their respective fastest male and fastest female results I wrote down:
- I like to get my training out of the way early on each so I get up at 4am (R & I).
- I go to bed at 10pm. I am a bit sad like that! (R)
- I run 10 to 22 miles in rain, snow, winter or summer as many mornings as I can and I enjoy it. (R)
- I kickstart my season with December’s Marcothon, during which I ran 780 miles that month in 2014. (R)
- Some weeks I run 250 miles or more .(R)
- I swear by back-to-back runs, that’s long runs one day after the next. (I)
- I have a wicked imagination and think about all sorts of random things to pass the time while running (I)
- I enjoy running on my own and don’t ever seem to get bored. (R)
- I fuel my training and races with jelly babies and jelly tots. (R)
- I fuel my races with tuna sandwiches. (I)
- I love a cup of tea while I am racing. (I)
See, I told you that these ultra runners are a little mad but they do make great stories.
Racing the G2E 2015
The Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultramarathon is 55 miles and follows the course of the Forth & Clyde and Union canals, taking in the Antonine Wall and the Falkirk Wheel to reach Scotland’s capital city. It is organised by Resolute Events.
The course record is held by Marco Consani in 6hrs 19 mins and 35 seconds. The Glasgow runner recorded this in 2014. Another Scottish runner, Lucy Colquhoun, holds the female record (although the course was one mile shorter in 2009) of 6:50.
This year’s event saw Rob, of Stepps, Glasgow, come home first in 6:51:20. Second was Duncan Oakes in 7:14:32, while third place for the men was Gerry Craig (also Scottish) in 7:17:43.
The first woman home was Izzy Knox, of Innerleithen, in the Scottish Borders, in 8:09:02. She was also seventh overall. Second was Shona Young in 9:12:40, while Debbie King (Scottish) came third in 9:43:20.
While Rob, 50, describes “running my own race and not being influenced by anyone else around me”, Izzy, 36, says she took the opportunity to be “pushed along by some of the male runners”.
This was the first time entering the G2E for both Rob and Izzy.
Rob’s G2E race win
Rob, who last year won the 44-mile River Ayr Way Challenge and the 40-mile Clydestride Ultra Marathon, said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect in the G2E so I relied on my experience of other ultras and stuck to my own plan. I knew by looking around me that there was some good competition but I just kept my pace steady and did what I knew I could do.
“As it turned out the two men,Robert Turner and Grant Jones, that went off the fastest, I ended up catching because they were struggling at 38 miles and then 41 miles. I don’t think they finished in the end.
“I ran lot of the race with Gerry Craig, who I know well, but I still just stuck to my own plan.
“I guess, on the day, I had the best race while other people didn’t have such good days and so I was fortunate to be able to come home first.”
Rob said: “After winning the G2E I am really looking forward to the Grand Union event. I know it’s a very long way but I really enjoy running along canal towpaths.
“I have no idea why I like them or really what the appeal is but it’s something I seem to be quite good at. I only took up ultra distance running about five years ago after being more of a club runner for 30 years.
“It is amazing what you can do even at my age. I am really pleased with my result from Saturday.”
Izzy’s G2E race win
Izzy has been plagued by injuries, especially in her back, over the last year or so and had not been confident about her performance in the G2E. However, when prompted and cajoled she eventually admitted that she was “quite a good distance runner”. She is actually is a Scottish 100km running champion!
Still, Izzy had only once run a traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles in recent months and had not had the chance to run her usual confidence-boosting back-to-back next day training runs.
She said: “I had no idea what to expect of myself when I started the G2E but I was keen to give it a go. I confess I started out quite fast but I managed to find some fast guys to stick with and I just tried to hold on.
“On the day I felt pretty good and although the last 10 miles were tough I enjoyed the rest of the race. I was surprised to come home first for the ladies but I was also very pleased.”
Izzy has the West Highland Way Race in June, which she didn’t finish last year, in her sights for 2015.
See the full Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultramarathon results.
Thanks to Sandra McDougall and Nicola May for the photographs.