ONE of the more challenging set of races in the Scottish athletics calendar is the Tour of Clydeside.
Four races, over four different distances and terrains, over four nights in one week make up the series.
This year, four members of Kirkintilloch Olympians took up the challenge.
After the Monday race held over 5.5 miles on the old railway line at Kilbarchan, David Gardner was in first place, with Gavin Harvie battling for second over Westerlands’ Chris Upson. A few minutes behind, Olympians Gary Mitchell and Robert Rogerson were in 6th and 8th places.
The second race held on the canal towpath at Clydebank resulted in the same race order amongst the top of the field, with David Gardiner extending his time advantage.
After Wednesday’s rest day, the tour moved to a 5k trail and hill race at Dawsholm Park in Glasgow.
Attracting new runners this was a difficult race, including jumps over fallen trees, ankle-deep mud and some sharp climbs. However, the Olympians held their own with David, Gavin, Gary and Robert remaining in 1st, 2nd, 6th and 8th places.
In the final race on the Friday, at Pollok Park, there was a more extensive field attracted to the 10k and the battle for places in the tour became more tactical.
David Gardiner completed the week with a third place to win the tour overall.
Gavin Harvie, entering with a 17-second advantage over third place Chris Upson, extended this by a few seconds to take 2nd place overall.
Behind, Gary Mitchell secured 6th place, whilst Robert Rogerson gained more than a minute advantage over Scott McCulloch to finish 7th overall and to win the M50 prize.
In the Friday 10k race, other Olympians participated as part of the club championship. Derek Martin finished in 39.51 and Neil Ramsay again set a PB time of 43.36.
Taking up a complete different challenge, Ada Stewart took part in the Devil of the Highlands race.
This 43-mile ultra-marathon runs from Tyndrum to Fort William and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland.
Runners go along the West Highland Way and Ada completed this challenge in 9hr 5min 24 secs to finish in 69th place.