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Have you tried?: The Glasgow Subrun

Written by Fiona

March 27 2018

I wrote about the Glasgow Subrun for my recent Sunday Mail outdoors column. See the pdf or read the story below.

We ran the Glasgow Subrun

Glasgow’s historic underground transport system, the Subway, has become the focus of a new sporting pursuit called the Subrun. Instead of traveling the 6.5-mile circuit by train beneath the ground, runners are taking on the challenge of reaching each station on foot.

There are 15 stations, both north and south of the River Clyde, and the full route extends to some 11 miles. While a circuit of the Subway by train takes just 24 minutes, the run is closer to two hours.

The Subrun was dreamt up by two members of Glasgow Triathlon Club (GTC), twins Iain and Andrew Todd.

Iain said: “I had heard of people running between all the London Underground stations, nicknamed the Tube Challenge, and I thought it would work really well in Glasgow.

“What is even better is that the Subway is much smaller than the Tube so it meant the run would be more achievable in a shorter timespan.”

It was his brother who coined the Glasgow challenge the Subrun, a clever twist on the somewhat less healthy Subcrawl.

Glasgow Triathlon Club run the Subrun.

Subcrawl becomes Subrun

Andrew said: “The right of passage of so many city students is the Subcrawl. The aim of that is to travel the Subway in one direction and have a drink in a pub close to each station.

“I’ve never done it because I doubt I would be able to drink that much but I did like Iain’s far healthier idea of running to the route of the Subway stops.

“The Subrun seemed like an obvious name, instead of the Subcrawl.”

On a chilly Saturday morning in December, a dozen runners met at St George’s Cross for the inaugural GTC Subrun.

The plan was to run the Subway clockwise and take a photograph at every station.

From St George’s Cross to Cowcaddens Station is around half a mile, followed by Buchanan Street and then St Enoch stations in fairly quick succession.

One of the runners, Christine Cruz, said: “We had to run around the shoppers on Buchanan Street and some people were obviously a bit confused by us.

“However, most were amused and we got a few ‘go on yerselves’ as we jogged by.”

The Subway, which is also known as the Clockwork Orange, was built in the late 1800s to serve both the north and south of the city centre.

The trains, which run clockwise on the Outer Circle and anti-clockwise on the Inner Circle, twice head beneath the River Clyde.

To reach the next station, Bridge Street, the runners left St Enoch to cross over the Clyde on Jamaica Bridge.

Andrew said: “We adapted the route of the underground system to create a mini tour of Glasgow above ground.”

The stations south of the Clyde, from Bridge Street include West Street, Shields Road, Kinning Park, Cessnock, Ibrox and Govan.

Another runner Billy Cameron said: “I’ve travelled on the Subway for the last 30 years, getting on and off at pretty much every stop, but this is the first time I’ve seen exactly how they all join up above ground.”

To run between Govan and Partick Subway stations the group used the Clyde Tunnel.

While driving the 2500ft long tunnel is a common occurrence, it was a new experience for almost everyone to run under the river.

Four more stations, Partick, Kelvinhall, Hillhead and Kelvinbridge, led the runners through the city’s west end.

The streets were by this point very busy with shoppers, especially on Dumbarton Road and Byres Road.

Runner Vicki McLaren was pleased to reach the last station, Kelvinbridge, before the finish back at St George’s Cross.

She said: “I haven’t run as far as this for a while and I was feeling quite tired by the last couple of stations.

“But it was a really good route and a great way to do a sightseeing tour of Glasgow.”

Since the first Subrun, several other groups have take on the same challenge.

Iain said: “I can see the Subrun becoming a must-do for city runners, maybe like the Subcrawl for students.”

Iain and Andrew.

How to do the Subrun

  • Start at any of the Glasgow Subway stations.
  • Run clockwise or anti-clockwise around the 15 stations.
  • You just go to each station as they appear on the Subway map.
  • You must include the Clyde Tunnel in the run.
  • You should take a selfie – or group photo – at each station.
  • You must finish at the station that you started at.

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