Glasgow Triathlon Club

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GTC returns to rugged runs for autumn & winter

The popular Rugged Runs are back and coach/organiser Iain Todd has named it the Lockdown to Summit Series. This year’s rugged runs are designed to get people back on to the trails. They are suitable for any runner who has a reasonable level of fitness.

Iain says: “If you are a member of this tri club you will be fit enough for the rugged runs.”

The Rugged Runs in 2020 will all take place on the north side of Glasgow and it’s hoped that a similar southside series will be organised as we head into 2021.

Iain says: “In lockdown, many people explored their local areas and discovered just how many trails are available on our doorsteps. The aim of the runs is to demonstrate all the different locations you can visit, starting from just one place. In this series, we will start from Chapel Street Car Park, Lennoxtown (G66 7DE).”

The rugged runs will generally start at 9.30am. Keep an eye on the Facebook group for updated details of each one.

North side Rugged Runs

Sept 26: Lennoxtown via Milton of Campsie


This is an introduction to trail running and features some off-road sections as well as some good paths. There is a short climb at the end that leads to a viewpoint where you will be able to see where you’ve just been and it looks out over where the subsequent runs will be.

Oct 17: Lennoxtown via Finglen


One of the most beautiful parts of the Campsie Fells and surprisingly rarely visited. The climb is harder than run 1 but it is worth it for the views. The paths are all excellent, so it a good opportunity to practice running downhill.

October 31: Lennoxtown via Lennox Forest


This is a mix of the first two runs. The route includes a similar climb to Finglen but on paths similar to Milton of Campsie. From the viewpoint at the top of the run, you can see all the way to the Isle of Arran on a clear day. It is Hallowe’en, so costumes will be compulsory!

December 12: Lennoxtown via Cort Ma Law


The final challenge of the series includes a harder climb, but one that is achievable by anyone with reasonable fitness. It combines all the skills used in the previous three runs and you will be rewarded with beautiful descent with views looking down the valley towards Strathblane.

Cort Ma Law.

A bonus rugged run at Mugdock

November 21: Mugdock trail run

Nicola Dawson, who is a club member, coach and the founder of Epic Trails, will lead a double session at Mugdock Country Park. The distances will be 5k and 10k.

Meet at Mugdock Visitor Centre, G62 8EL.

Cost: Each run is £1.50, payable through the online booking system.

Tips for Rugged Runs

Footwear: There will be a mix of terrain in each run but the best footwear is off-road running shoes. If you are not sure what you need, ask other people on Facebook. The shoes will get wet and muddy. Read this guide to choosing trail running shoes.

What to wear: It depends on the temperature, but it’s a good idea to carry some spare layers in a small rucksack. Most people wear shorts/skorts/tights and then a base-layer on top (a technical t-shirt or long-sleeved top that allows sweat to evaporate. Avoid cotton fabrics.)

Bring a waterproof and/or windproof outer layer (depending on the weather). Add an extra baselayer to your rucksack, if you know that you get cold easily. With Rugged Runs, there is a fair amount of stopping and re-grouping so that it feels more sociable (at a social distance, obviously) and this means it is handy to have a layer to put on if you get chilly.

A hat or buff and gloves are a great idea, too.

Food and water: It depends on how far the run is, but many people take water and a snack/energy bar to keep them going. Trail routes generally take longer to run than tarmac routes.

Mobile phone: A phone is useful for taking photos – and for staying in touch in an emergency. It’s unlikely anyone will be so far ahead or behind that they are ever on their own, but having a phone is always a good idea when trail running.

Will I be fit enough?: If you know you can run the distance on tarmac, you will be able to cope with the trail run. You do not need to be super speedy and one of the joys of trail running is that you can stop and start at hills, when negotiating muddy puddles and where there are other natural obstacles, such as tree roots and rocks.

The benefits of trail running: If you are a bit bored of running the same roads, or you are keen to try a new activity, trail running is ideal. You’ll enjoy exploring new places and seeing new views.

Trail running is said to be better for your physical health, too, because the terrain is more forgiving and less repetitive. It is usually easier on your joints, too.

Running while surrounded by nature offers a great boost to mental health as well.

  • Covid-19 info: The Rugged Runs are formalised and planned with risk assessments, as well as a review by GTC’s COVID officer Dan Gates, to allow them to go ahead and in accordance with Covid-19 guidance.
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