Sunday, 2 September 2012

Another Glasgow Running Route

Last weekend for my "long Sunday run", training for the Great North Run in two weeks time, I ran 13 miles around the senior football stadia of Glasgow. This week as I wind down the distances before race day I sought an 9 mile Sunday run and sticking with the footballing theme decided to step down a level to the Juniors. From my house I could only take in a few in 9 miles, but I just find having a goal like this keeps my interest up, as going over the same training routes does become a wee bit dull. No? Perhaps another time I could take in some of Glasgow's other Juniors teams such as Bellshill Athletic at Tollcross, Benburb near Ibrox, Pollok, Rutherglen Glencairn, Shettleston Juniors, St. Anthony's in Cardonald, St. Roch's in Royston as I've never been to any of these grounds. As I say, another time.

The two grounds that I tried to squeeze into this route because I've been in them to watch football before were Holm Park, where Clydebank and Yoker Athletic play, and Western Park on Inchinnan Road where Renfrew FC play. However as this would have involved a few too many miles and hanging about for a wee bit for the Renfrew Ferry at the bottom of Yoker Ferry Road I decided not to bother.
2.5km in, Firhill Complex

 Heading up Byres Road I had to stop myself going straight to Firhill in auto-pilot, but passing the Firhill Complex I headed up Possil Road, then across Springburn Road to come to Petershill Park. This is home to Petershill FC and also to Glasgow City FC, Scotland's top women's football team who have again qualified for the last 32 of the UEFA Champions League. Their next tie in this, against Denmark's Fortuna Hjørring is on 26th September at this ground. Now that Partick Thistle have been dumped out of the League Cup, which is played that night, I may try and go along.

Petershill Park, 6km
A mackerel sky, altocumulus, over Sighthill
(I looked that bit up)
 So back up Springburn Road a wee bit and along Hawthorn Street to Saracen Park, home to Ashfield Juniors. Also most Sunday afternoons at 4pm speedway is held here, home ground of the Glasgow Tigers. The speedway is one of these things I keep meaning to go along and see, but never have managed to get around to it. I've watched it on telly a couple of times and it looks like it'd be good fun to watch, once you've worked out the scoring system. Maybe next week...

Saracen Park, 7.5km
Ruchill Church Hall
Next, up over Bilsland Drive, then Ruchill Street (resisting the temptation to turn left and just head to Firhill) and emerging onto Maryhill Road beside one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's less heralded buildings, Ruchill Church Hall, which is a lovely wee building, built in 1899, now with fine views of McDonald's and Tesco. I won't give you the full Maryhill tour as I head up Maryhill Road but maybe just point out the walls of the former Maryhill Barracks, now the Wynford housing estate. Not only did the barracks house my grandad before he headed off to Normandy in World War II, but Rudolf Hess was a prisoner here in Maryhill in 1941.
Lochburn Park, Maryhill Juniors, 11km
Maryhill Juniors ground on Lochburn Road was my next target. In the past players like Tommy Burns, Danny McGrain and Jim Duffy have donned the red and black of Maryhill, but in recent times the club have been going down through the leagues. Lochburn Park has the distinction of being the only ground in Scotland I was almost thrown out of as a youth. My brother and I, aged about 8 and 6 years old were a bit bored by the action I presume when we were upbraided for idly kicking the harling off a wee wall around the pitch.

My final destination on this footballing run was the site of the world's first international football match. It was played between Scotland and England in 1872, in Partick, in the westend of Glasgow. 4000 peole paid a shilling each to see a 0-0 draw played at Hamilton Crescent, home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club. The club received £1.10s for the hire of the ground that day, and hosted 2 further Scotland vs England games and the Scottish Cup final of 1877, which Rangers lost 3-2 to Vale of Leven.
14km, West of Scotland Cricket Club. The flats at the back
mark the site of Partick Thistle's ground around 1884, Muir Park
Anyway, I finished my run by heading up the hill that is Gardner Street to make it a round 15km circle, and from the top looked down towards Ibrox Stadium across the river.

Looking down Gardner Street to Partick
and over the Clyde to Ibrox Stadium
One of the grounds, Muir Park, which Partick Thistle were based at in their early years was at the bottom of what is now Gardner Street. A ground which was overlooked by a private zoo on the hillside before the land was sold for housing in the expanding city. For more information on the early years of Partick Thistle look no further than the excellent "Partick Thistle - The Early Years" website.
Muirpark Street sign on
an 1187 tenement in Partick

Anyway, that's my last long-ish run until after the Great North Run on 16th of September. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me and helped me reach my target of £350 for Diabetes UK. All I have to do now is finish the race!

My JustGiving page.   

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