faq

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Why is the club called "Westerlands"?
  • When the club was founded, members trained at Westerlands, the University of Glasgow's Athletic Grounds at Anniesland (http://scottishdistancerunninghistory.co.uk/Westerlands.htm). An account from the club founder, Bill Sheridan, can be found at westerlandsccc.co.uk/bill.php
  • What kind of running do Westerlands do?
  • We do both kinds: hill running and cross country!

    Hill running is our main focus from around March to November. The cross-country season takes place over the winter. That said, we do take a keen interest in and support all aspects of running.

    Members of the club compete in numerous events during the year, primarily hill and trail races, but road also features in the calendar. We are granted a guaranteed place in the London Marathon each year. All can be publicised, reported on and discussed via the website and the email list.

    If competitive running is not your cup of tea, the club also caters for those who just want to run for reasons of fitness, enjoyment, mental health, vanity, etc.
  • Can I just come along or do I have to join?
  • Feel free to come and give it a bash. There will always be a friendly face to welcome you, whether you are a member or not. If you want a taste of the full benefits of joining, just browse the rest of this site. You will need to join in order to compete for us though.
  • What do the "Route descriptors" on the club runs mean?
  • ROUGH: The terrain you will be running on is likely to include extended sections of uneven stony or rocky ground, deep heather, tussocks and bog. The route will include some short steep ascents and descents and the path may be faint or non-existent. You are likely to get wet feet!

    MODERATE: The terrain you will be running on is likely to include sections of slightly uneven stony and grassy or heathery ground. The route will be undulating but not too steep and there will be a clearly defined path for most of the way. You may get wet feet!

    EASY: You will be running off road but across fairly even grassland, short heather or compacted stony ground. The route will be gently undulating and you will be on a clearly defined track and/ or footpath. You are unlikely to get wet feet!

    Our Medium runs usually take around 90 minutes. Short runs are closer to one hour, and long runs may take closer to two hours.
  • How can I join?
  • Contact the secretary using the Contact Form for more information.
  • What do I get for my membership?
  • You get to be part of what is a very special club full of history and atmosphere. Just browse this website to be convinced. On a practical level, the club will pay your entry fees to any of the many team relay and cross country events held throughout the year, and in many cases will also subsidise club outings. For example,

    - Annual "Extravaganza" long-distance relay

    - Running and fancy-dress weekend at Loch Ossian

    - Paid entry to Devil's Burdens, Comrie relay, Round Array relay, FRA relays, and all Cross Country events

    - Our very own winter version of the Southside Six

    - Regular club runs and handicaps

    - Ballot for London Marathon entries

    - Grudge matches
  • Do you have to be a hard-core runner to join Westerlands?
  • Absolutely not. There are runs and sessions to cater for all levels; see the section on training for details of what is available. In particular, there are several easy runs put on during the week specifically for beginners and those who just like to run for fitness and relaxation. The route and pace on these runs is such that absolutely no one is dropped. In fact, please do not be put off by any of the sessions. Even in the repetition sessions, we regroup regularly and bigger groups make for a more enjoyable workout.

    There are many stories of people taking up running for the first time, with Westerlands, only to find they really love it. Even the most competitive athletes love to run just because it feels good. So, even if you're not yet a member, come along and give it a try. You will always be welcome.
  • I am a total beginner, where do I start?
  • Just start! Many members will tell you they could barely run the length of a field when they started. Build up steadily, challenging yourself to run a little further. Set yourself a modest goal, and when you achieve it set yourself another. Once you reach the stage of running 10km comfortably in an hour or less, you should be quite able to keep up with the Wednesday night off-road runs.
  • Should I wait until I'm fitter?
  • No! You will not struggle on one of the Monday training sessions. Attending an organized run, setting off at a particular time, is the best way to stop procrastinating. There will be many others there in the same boat. Besides, running is the way to get fitter.
  • What kit do I need and how can I get hold of it?
  • - Running vest - we will give you one when you first join.

    - Fell shoes - available in any good running shop.

    - Full body cover - this means waterproof jacket, overtrousers, hat and gloves. Outdoor specialist shops stock good quality lightweight gear.

    - Map of the route, compass and a whistle - available at any outdoor shop. Maps for many races are available on-line for printing; don't assume the race organisers will provide them.

    - A bum-bag or back pack to store kit while you're running. Again, good outdoor and running shops stock these.

    All organised hill races have a minimum kit requirement of at least windproof jacket, hat, gloves, map and whistle. Longer races will require more, including full waterproofs (with sealed seams), emergency blanket, mobile phone and possibly other additional kit as determined by the race organisers. You risk being REFUSED ENTRY to a hill race if you arrive without the required kit.
  • Map and compass?
  • While most hill races have well-defined routes, there are occasions where runners will need to navigate across complex terrain in low visibility. This is particularly the case in longer races, races run in poor weather and races with small fields, where it is not possible to simply follow the runner in front. Knowing when you have strayed off course and how to navigate back is an essential skill.

    Navigation practice should be included as a part of your hill running training. Organisations like the Mountain Council offer training courses to get you started, and the club has many experienced members (including a number of Mountain Leaders) who are more than happy to offer practical help and advice.
  • Is there a club mailing list?
  • Yes there is. It's available exclusively to all members.
  • How do I find out about the arrangements for training sessions and races?
  • Training times and venues are posted on the website show the schedule for the next few weeks. However, more detailed information about particular sessions, and any last-minute changes, are sent out to the email list.

    Similarly the fixtures section contains a lot of information about forthcoming races, but further details, arrangements and requests for interested runners, are all sent out to the email lists.

    The club email list is used for organising informal weekend runs. There is usually someone heading off to run somewhere interesting and looking for company, and you are more than welcome to advertise your own plans by emailing the list.
  • What are the most popular races with the club?
  • The largest club turnout is invariably the Devil's Burdens relay in January. Carnethy Five is also very popular, as are all the local Bog'n'Burn races.
  • What is a Bog'n'Burn race?
  • A series of Wednesday races held across central Scotland between April and August. Your best six results count toward your overall score.
  • What is a Grudge Match?
  • Once or twice a year Westerlands will challenge (or be challenged by) the Hunters and Bog Trotters and/or the Ochil Hill Runners to a team race. At stake are the Ashes of Scottish Long Distance Running. There is no entry fee. The winner is the club that earns the most points, although no specific method of calculating points has ever been formally agreed. The day usually ends with socialising near a warm fire in a country pub.
  • What is a "handicap" run?
  • We designate a selection of Wednesday night runs as timed "handicap" events. Runners are given staggered start times, with the aim of getting everyone at the finish at roughly the same time.

    The most important handicap is the Simon Triger Memorial Trophy, run over a Blanefield to Dumgoyne route in Spring. Simon was an active member of the Westies who died climbing Mont Blanc in 2008 (http://westerlandsccc.co.uk/news.php/1365/simon+triger).
  • What is a Mountain Marathon?
  • A two-day hill navigation event, usually run in teams of two. The first day ends in a remote mid-camp. The pair must carry tent, food, cooking equipment and warm clothing.

    Mountain Marathons have a range of entry classes, from elite down to good hill walker level. They are an excellent way of learning navigation and hill skills, and bring another level of challenge that rewards skill and cunning over speed and strength.
  • What is an Extravaganza?
  • Extravaganza is our name for an annual long-distance relay. A route is selected by the Extravaganza Eating, Drinking and Planning Committee, and divided into legs of between 5 and 10km. Runners are organised into teams, and each allocated two or three legs spread throughout the day. The day concludes with a shared meal.

    In the past years we have run the Cateran Trail, the Rob Roy Way, a circumnavigation of the Campsie Fells, the Real Rob Roy Way, Hadrian's Wall, the Arran Coastal Path, and the Speyside Way. An unsuccessful attempt was made at running across Skye in 2008.
  • What other races are there?
  • Comprehensive details and results for virtually all Scottish Hill races can be found on Chris Upson's excellent site http://www.scottishhillracing.co.uk.

    Along with the Bog'n'Burn series, there are several other race series.

    The SHR Championships series is used to award the title "best hill runner in the country" to whoever accumulates the most points in four of six nominated races. The races comprise two short, two medium and two long events, and at least one race from each distance must be included (although this last rule does not apply to over-60s).

    For runners interested in the more challenging events, the Scottish Long Classics series packages up ten long distance events. To complete the series, you must complete at least five of the ten.

    In 2016 a new series was introduced consisting exclusively of races set in the Scottish Borders. There are ten races in the series, of which the best five results count. Details can be found at http://bordershillraces.blogspot.co.uk.

    There is no entry fee for any of these race series - you simply need to enter the individual races. The organisers keep track of the results.
  • What is there besides the running?
  • Plenty. There are many social events arranged throughout the year. Once a month we have a "curry night" after the Wednesday run, attendance at which earns you points for the fiercely contested Curry League.

    There are also post-race celebrations after the bigger races like the Devil's Burdens (typically a Celtic Connections concert), and the unmissable Xmas Dinner.

    In early November we head off to Loch Ossian for an unforgettable weekend of running and fun at a remote SHYA hostel set amongst some of the finest hills in Scotland.

    At all events, there is very much an atmosphere in which everyone is welcome. No one is expected to conform to any stereotypes. Beer-guzzlers and T-totalers co-exist in complete harmony. There is no pressure either way. Just come along see.

    Visit the socials section for more details.
  • How do I get involved in the committee?
  • The AGM takes place around the end of October each year. This is when the committee for the following year is voted in. Details of all the positions available and the voting procedure are published a few weeks in advance of the AGM. Do get involved: anyone who has will tell you, it is well worth it.
  • Is Westerlands CCC really the best small-to-medium size hill running club in the West End of Glasgow?
  • Quite possibly.