Monday, 26 December 2011

BOXING DAY CURER

After a few mulled wines yesterday I foolishly agreed to a long run with Michael today out to the Falkirk Wheel. So that morning after feeling was about to be sweated out. Unseasonably warm but dam windy and fortunately blowing us towards Falkirk.
We agreed to meet at the canal at Twechar which is strangely equidistant from both our starting points although my route was hilly and his was pancake flat. No problems enroute except from Michaels rumbling tummy, least mentioned the better although it would have been a belter of a photo.
Arrived at the wheel in 2hrs and 5mins , rather brisk but it was rather windy.



 Run details here : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/136461005

Friday, 23 December 2011

PRE CHRISTMAS PIG OUT RUN

In preparation for a massive amount of eating and drinking over the next few days a long run was needed to burn off a few calories and create a wee space. So Milngavie to Balmaha was chosen as the route, about 20 miles and a good workout with a few climbs involved.

Early start at Milngavie with Michael and a lovely cool dry winters morning. Only a few dog walkers on the way out to Carbeth, maybe all the runners were suffering from Christmas nights out. The route was remarkably dry after last weeks snow and rain and the sun was peeking through the clouds.
Out past Carbeth and down towards the Beechtree with the sound of gunfire in the distance, either grouse catching or turkey culling we couldn't decide.



Too early for a beer at the Beechtree so on towards Drymen we go. Don't know if anyone has noticed this but there is a whole field full of black sheep, how unlucky are that family?



When we got to the road at Drymen a warning sign was posted on the gate saying the forest was blocked due to fallen trees and a map showed the detour to go through Buchanan Smithy along the road to Balmaha as the detour. Yeh right, how could a few fallen trees be an obstacle. Well at first it was fine as they had all been cleared by those nice guys at the forestry but nearing Connich Hill got a bit tricky and it took us about 20 minutes to cover half a mile.





Those of you who know the old guy I was running with will understand how long this process took for a guy who cannot even touch his knees never mind his toes.

Anyhow we soon decided which tree to take with us.



Hurricane BAWBAG has certainly blown through this forest. Finally we exited this scene of destruction and descended towards the hill, which Michael had been fearing for the previous 16 miles.



As we climbed up the hill I was focusing on my footing and not watching too far in front but luckily at one point I did or I could have been in danger of being bounced over the side. The things you see up a mountain!!



Burger

I waited for Michael at the top and he mentioned he would catch me at the carpark as descending was not a skill he had a degree in, I shouldn't have laughed so much as I promptly slid and landed on my back.


Loch Lomond


Michael seconds before his tumble.

Quite a quick descent into Balmaha off the hillside and down a few stairs into the carpark. The toilet block has been bulldozed and a sign says the pub are happy for you to use their toilets so off we went to change and refresh. Great morning out and amazing December weather.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

SUNDAY SLIPFEST

As my brother has arrived from warmer climbs for the festive season our what now seems annual slidey long runs have begun. So this mornings run begun in sub zero temparature. It was -4C to be exact but clear blue skies and sunshine breaking through. I was feeling cold so I cannot begin to feel how much Michael was suffering as he was running in 35C on Friday evening and had not been back in the UK since the summer.


Down through the golf course and over to the back of Balmore before a bit of climbing up towards Mugdock reservoir. In the sunshine it was great but the shaded valleys were bitterly cold and damp.


Michael slowly making his way up the High Caves road.

Running on the compacted snow is fine with trail shoes but on the country roads a lot of ice is forming with the water running off the fields and the madman from Singapore only brought road shoes.



As we went around the Mugdock reservoir we met a few lads from my club so we did a loop with them adding an extra couple of miles.


Old Kenny, Me, Alex, Old Drew.





Dodgy bridge





We said our goodbyes and set off toward home along Auchenhowie Road and the underfoot conditions were hard packed snow. This sort of running seems to give you an all over workout as you are constantly pushing through snow and trying to maintain balance. We only had one obstacle left now, the dodgy bridge at the golf course with the closed sign at it which everyone is obviously disregarding. We slowly negotiated this, some slower than others.

Great morning run in crisp conditions. 13.41 miles done and no broken bones.

Run details here : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/135155796





Friday, 2 December 2011

MOMENT OF MADNESS

Well I have gone and done it now, madness has been confirmed. Entry in and I am on the start list for the Glenmore 24 hr trail race on the 1st September 2012.

Race website here : http://glenmore24.com/

Anyone with helpful training tips on anything relating to this challenge please feel free share with me. Going to be an interesting few months of training ahead.

Friday, 25 November 2011

2011 RACE ROUNDUP

A wonderful thing the athletics site The Power of 10. I had a look to see what records they had for me this year and it brought back a few painful memories I had forgotten about.


2011 V40 Victoria Park City of Glasgow
EventPerfPosVenueMeetingDate
12.5K48:34:0010KirkintillochKirkintilloch Olympians 12.5K20-Feb-11
33MMT03:54:0010StrathyreGlen Ogle 3305-Nov-11
40MMT05:39:557PartickClyde Stride 4016-Jul-11
43MMT06:51:0410TyndrumDevil O The Highlands 4306-Aug-11
SHORT5K16:1311BroadwoodBroadwood 5K (Short)18-Aug-11
10K36:55:0027JamestownVale of Leven 10K12-Jun-11
10K37:17:009GlasgowSVHC Open Veterans 10K14-Aug-11
HM80:23:0034Loch LomondBalloch to Clydebank Half Marathon13-Mar-11
HM80:41:0084GlasgowBank Of Scotland Great Scottish Run Half Marathon04-Sep-11
HM82:28:006CoatbridgeMonklands Half Marathon15-May-11
HM84:18:0024KirkintillochNeil Mccover Memorial Half Marathon09-Oct-11
Mar02:52:2413InvernessBaxters Loch Ness Marathon02-Oct-11
Mar02:58:25860LondonVirgin London Marathon17-Apr-11
50K03:37:373PerthScottish 50K Championships27-Mar-11
ZXC37:29:0089IrvineScottish West District Championships16-Jan-11
ZXC49:03:00172FalkirkScottish National Championships19-Feb-11
ZXCL15:01GlasgowScottish West District Relay Championships08-Oct-11
ZXCL15:386HelensburghDunbartonshire AAA Relay Championships15-Oct-11
ZXCL16:1058CumbernauldScottish National Relay Championships22-Oct-11


I have ran most distances this year but the two races which I have enjoyed most are the Devil O the Highlands and the Scottish 50k road race championship. Setting a new PB for the 50k was the aim for the year and I was delighted to do this in March and then move on to longer distances for the rest of the year with a view to possibly attempting the West Highland Way race in 2013. I am fully aware the severity of that challenge and in no rush to sicken myself before I think I am fully prepared.


SCOTTISH 50K PERTH IN MARCH 3RD PLACE

The step up to ultras has been gradual over the last couple of years, firstly moving onto 50k on the road has broken me in gently and now onto multi terrain longer distances. The first ultra this year was the Clyde Stride. a local race for me but on a route which I had not discovered. A great race organised by Lee Maclean and and already on next years list.
Next up was the Devils O the Highlands and maybe in hindsight the stride 4 weeks previous was maybe a little too soon but I thoroughly enjoyed this although suffered badly on the final stretch between Kinlochleven and Fort William. (see August posts for full report)  It is on longer races like this where a support team is required and my two brothers, Michael and Chris, helped out and encouraged me all the way and although both runners I don't think they will be following my lead and entering ultras just yet and I may have my work cut out persuading them to support me on the WHW.

The Loch Ness Marathon was the next long race and I ran my fastest time here in 4 attempts so the long running is obviously paying dividends. (October posts for report)
Glen Ogle 33 to finish off the years ultra running and another great race and day out. (November posts for report)

So to summarise a really enjoyable year where I have met a great group of runners, race organisers,marshalls and support teams with encouragement all the way. Thank you all.

 Now time to think about next years goals. I am entered for the Highland Fling and am going to concentrate on that so will defer my entry to the London Marathon which will stop my nine in a row attempt at eight. Still waiting for a date for the 50k road championship and that will definetely be on the list and another which I am going for is the Glenmore 24 as long as I secure an entry. This one might sound a bit strange but I reckon it will be a great challenge to try and keep going for so long and it is laps of about 4 miles on trail so support on hand regularly and another step towards the WHW race. Just need to sort a support team for this now.

December brings the Marcothon and the challenge of running 3 miles or 25 minutes every day for the month. Should be accomplished although Christmas day could be the tricky one with the little 6 year old dude expressing his opinion now and wanting dad on hand for present building. Maybe I will stick  a pair of asics runners on his santa list!!
                                                            

Sunday, 6 November 2011

GLEN OGLE 33 ULTRA MARATHON








 
 The inaugural GO33 and what a race it is. Stunning Scottish scenery and glorious sunshine into the bargain what more could we ask for.

A bit of a shocker early on Saturday morning as I had to scrape the ice from the car windows but this meant no wind and no rain and sunshine on the way.
Picked up Anne Marie and then Chris who were both stewarding at the event and off to Strathyre via Callander through thick fog. Just as we were leaving Callander I had to swerve to avoid a deer lying in the middle of the road, poor guy obviously wasn't expecting a convoy of runners cars coming through that early on a Saturday morning.

Car parked and race number collected from race registration the next decision would be what to wear and how many layers would be required. Easy decision really as gloves and hat could easily be disposed of as there were checkpoints about every 6 miles.


The location of start of the race had been changed due to the unexpected high number of entries for the race and I think this was a harder route than the original as it involved a couple of miles of uphill straight from the off. 
                                         
Straight from the start a lead group pulled away containing 5 or 6 runners and I settled into a steady rythmn with the next group unsure of what lay ahead in terms of up and downhills. After a couple of miles a steep descent down past the Kings House Hotel and through checkpoint 1 onto the cycle path and on uphill. This stretch was a constant climb to 10 miles through some stunning scenery.
After checkpoint 2 we crossed the road and a short tarmac section before starting a loop of the forest which thankfully was downhill for a few miles, but  that joy was to be a short relief as the climb back up was a belter.

Climb in forest back up from Killin


At the top of this climb a bit of confusion as there was no sign but a discussion with  a few other runners and a right turn taken. Thankfully the correct route and this was mostly downhill back to the checkpoint and head back to Strathyre. Back down the old railway line for a few miles to the final checkpoint and as the early morning mist was clearing some stunning views which we couldn't see on the way up.



At the last checkpoint I ditched my camelbak thinking I had drank enough juice to see me to the finish, big mistake. The last section is about 6 miles on winding country roads and every turn seemed to bring another climb and I could feel a few twinges in my hamstring, a sure sign I needed water, but dafty had jettisoned it.

A few more great views and the end was in sight although the wobbly bridge just before the finish line
just about finished me off. 

Finishing time was 3hrs 54mins in 10th position.


Fellow VP-Glasgow runner Mark Ashby had also had a great run and finished in 4 hrs 17 mins.

 Off to the Inn for a bowl of soup and a couple of beers to rehydrate where a happy group of runners were sharing tales about a great race.

Congratulations to Mike and Bill and their group of helpers this is a superb race which will definetely be on the list to do next year.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

CROSS COUNTRY ROUNDUP

Three weekends of short cross country racing to ease the legs of after Loch Ness as a sort of taper for the GO33 on the 5th November.

 West district relays at Drumpellier Country Park on Saturday 8th was a total mudbath in parts but totally enjoyable, 4k in 15.01 as part of  one of  the Vicky Park teams.

Dumbartonshire relays at Helensburgh Duchess Woods on Saturday the 15th was more of a trail race although more of a test with a 2 loop course and bugger of a climb on each loop. 4k in 15.38 and finished 4th team on this occasion.

Is that a hat on my head?


National relays at Cumbernauld on Saturday 22nd and the toughest course of the lot. This one has the lot, up down, mud, bog, wind, the only thing missing this year was rain but as we had already had that all week the course was sorted. An amazing and long awaited sight as our 1st team led the race on the 3rd leg but youth was caught by some seasoned runners and they finished 5th but a great prospect for years to come we hope.
As part of our 1st vet team I ran the 2nd 4k leg in 16.10, slower than previous weeks but by far the toughest race of the three. We finished in 50th place.


Cross country is by far my least favourite form of running but it is great training and if only my long suffering wife Linda would appreciate that it is not possible to come home from one of these races without the running gear being covered in mud I would probably do more of it. After Drumpellier I just jumped into the shower with the dirty gear on and washed it and myself, it then took me 20 minutes to unblock the plughole and clean the shower so its back to plan A and just use the hose in the back garden from now on. One small reminder though, do not leave the dirty shoes in the boot of the car coz after a couple of days they dont half stink the motor out as my sister will testify when she borrowed my car.

So taper time now for the final ultra of the year, GO33 here I come. 

Monday, 10 October 2011

NEIL McCOVER MEMORIAL HALF MARATHON 8/10/2011


Out of true respect for a wonderful guy there was no way I could miss this race and even the fixture pile up of  Loch Ness Marathon, West District X Country and wedding reception on the Saturday evening would not prevent me starting and completing this race. When someone who gave so much to others is taken from us it puts everything back into perspective and the trivial matters no longer bother us. I have been asked a few times this year why I run ultras and marathons and I can only answer 'because I am here and I can'. None of us know whats ahead so lets get out and do it while we can.

Linda kindly agreed to drive me over to the start after the previous evenings wedding reception and with slick organisation at registration number, chip and t-shirt were all collected swiftly. The weather was not going to be kind to us today as strong wind and rain battered down.  A bit of banter with mad doctor Ewan Jack who was trying the beat the world record for a half marathon in full doctors outfit today and off we went into the wind. Slow and steady today as I had to gauge how much my legs had recovered from last week, so the first few miles just cruised by as they were mainly downhill. On into the countryside heading towards Milton of Campsie the wind was blowing from the left across open fields which meant at the left turn towards Lennoxtown we would be into the wind for a few miles. At this point my nephew Scott who was running his first half marathon cruised ahead and off into the distance I thought to myself would I see him again before the finish, answer to follow. All the way along an amazing amount of stewards and police officers encouraged us in terrible conditions, great support and much appreciated.

As you come out of Torrance and head for Bishopbriggs the route climbs for 3/4 mile up to Kirky Road and still the wind did not let up.

Photo by Claire Thompson
9 mile hill

At the top of the hill you go right and head towards Bishopbriggs then hang a left at burger king. This was the point when we were finally given a break and blown back towards Kirkintilloch and also where the previous nights alcohol wore off and I felt like a runner again. Three miles to go and I came to life.

                                                       
After passing the prison a couple of bends and then down Boghead Road towards the finish I rattled a couple of 6 minute miles and spied Scott up ahead but he wasnt running a straight line and I sensed he had a problem. As we turned onto Lenzie Road and crossed onto the pavement with about 500mtrs to go I pulled alongside him to ask if he was ok but one look at his face I sussed he was in a bit of bother so slowed down and ran with him, his mum would never forgive me for running straight past him. We were at jogging speed now and he assured me he would be ok so I jogged on and finished, grabbed a bottle of water and turned round just as he crossed the finish line and had a wobble so I caught him before he fell. Sat him down and made him drink then helped him into the sports centre and fed him a snickers and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, instant recovery food. Full recovery and off to the pub for a beer, he is learning fast.

Full results here:
http://www.sportstimingsolutions.co.uk/results_master_run.php?recordID=Neil+Mclover+Half+Marathon+2011

A great event from start to finish organised by Kirkintilloch Olympians and a fitting tribute to Neil.

Link to Race facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Neil-McCover-Memorial-Half-Marathon/147005198706936

                                                            
                                                      

Monday, 3 October 2011

LOCH NESS MARATHON 2/10/2011



Touristy photo - Copyright Karen Craig
We took the long trip north for the Loch Ness Marathon in the pouring rain on Saturday afternoon hoping the weather would improve for the following morning. And improve it did to a gentle drizzle, not enough to bother you running though and ideal temperature and next to no wind.

Breakfast at 6.00am with my brother Chris and then off down to the marathon pick up point for the buses to take us out into the countryside for the start.

For those who haven't done this race a great piece of advice is not to start taking too much fluid on board until the buses are well into the journey as it does take well over an hour to get there and there is always a point along the way when you are going to have to pee, hence the hilarious sight of a convoy of buses blocking a single track country road and hoards of runners peeing in fields.

Met fellow VP-Glasgow runners Chris, Christine and Claire and wished them all the best and toed the starting line to the swirl of the pipe band.


The first few miles in heavy rain but by 7 miles it had stopped and also warmed up and by the time I was on the lochside I was in a steady rythmn and cruising along nicely although alone so no group to pace with. As always with this race the first half of the race takes its toll on the hamstring with the constant climbing and descending and my aim today was to get over the killer climb after Dorres at 18 miles without any sign of cramp. As I reached the top of the climb I felt fine just as I saw a runner up ahead pull up clutching his hammy. 3 times in a row it has happened to me so I understood how he was feeling and it is a slow slog into Inverness with that problem.

No such problem for me today and the march to Inverness continued, I passed another runner just on approach to the roundabout entering Inverness and a lady shouted across I was in 13th place, unlucky for some but not for me today as I was running freely and knew the cramp monster was not getting me today.
At mile 25 I heard a cry of daddy and glanced to my left and saw the support crew and Andrew waving away proudly telling onlookers 'thats my dad'.

Finishing Straight.

On into the town and over the bridge and along the finishing straight, I had not looked at my watch and was hoping sub 2.50 was on but as I approached the clock it just ticked on over 2.52. My official time was 2hr 52min 23secs, 13th position and 6th M40. My fastest time on this course so far so happy with that. Collected medal and goodie bag and headed off for a shower, then came back across to meet up with Chris and also met Chris Sheridan and both had run pb's. Great results all round. 




Chris Sheridan, Me ,Chris Craig
Race details here:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/118670224

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Pipetrack Run

Last long training run today before Loch Ness so an old tried and tested route used by many generations of Vicky Park marathon runners, the Pipetrack which is West Highland Way to the Beechtree, back along the road and then up the hill at the Dumgoyne distillery and follow the water pipe (which takes Glasgow's water from Loch Katrine to Mugdock reservoir) back down to Blanefield through Mugdock village and back to the start.
Dumgoyne Hill in the background
I had a few runners for company today, Duncan ,Mark Chris and Chris's pal Michael. Mark is doing Liverpool marathon and Chris and his pal are both doing Loch Ness while Duncan in his own words 'just needs a long run'. It was a bit wet and windy but ideal temperature as we set off from the Allander.

After reaching the Beechtree Inn we headed back along the road into a stiff headwind and began the climb at the distillery at which point the talking disappeared and the heavy breathing began.     


Chris Sheridan cruising uphill


A few more ups and down and a little history lesson for Chris about the pipe we were soon descending towards Blanefield and encountered  a few highland cattle who were not for letting us follow the path they were blocking, and none of us being brave enough to insist they do, a minor detour of the road had to be taken. They are seriously large animals up close!!


Unmovable objects






A gentle cruise back to Mugdock and then downhill for the last 2 miles at a rapid rate as Duncan and Chris's pal obviously had saved a bit for a sprint finish. Just over 17 miles in 2hrs 10mins. 






Sunday, 4 September 2011

Great Scottish Run (Half Marathon)

Todays plan was to get the 10.07am train from Gartcosh to Queen Street, which is a simple 16 minute journey and would get me and Kate in to George Square (aka Philadelphia) in plenty of time for the 11.00am start but some moron at Scotrail decided that one of the biggest sporting events in the calender was a great time time cancel the Sunday service and replace it with a bus which would take approximately one hour for the same journey. As logistics is part of my job Linda, who was on taxi duty, was rerouted to Cathedreal Street to drop us off along with another lost soul at the station.
George Square was buzzing with the largest entry ever for this event, 22,000 according to the organisers. Daley Thompson as todays famous face to set us off in glorious sunshine, yeh honest.
First half mile is uphill so an easy start was required so I clocked 5.55 for the first mile, oops. I was running today with fellow Vicky Park runner Mark and we cruised along nicely till Bellahouston Park when he slowed for water and that was the last I saw him till the end. Out of Bellahouston and then into Pollock Park and a couple of climbs where my slowest mile of the day was 6.30.
All the hard work is done after this and the route is mainly flat or downhill from 9 miles which I cruised along and enjoyed for a change. Into Glasgow Green for the last mile and pushed to try and dip under 1.20 but it wasnt to be. Finished in 1.20.35 and felt fine, maybe need to get back to shorter races to speed up a bit.

Lovely day in Glasgow today and such a difference when everyone is out enjoying the sunshine.
I met Chris and Kate at the meeting point and off to merchant square for a beer and chill nachos.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Marathon Training Run

Marathon Training Run at Garmin Connect - Details

As preparation for the Loch Ness Marathon I decided todays long run should involve a few climbs as the Loch Ness route is best described as undulating, well for the first 8 miles it is and then a bugger of a climb at 17 miles. So todays route took me from Anniesland to Glenboig via Maryhill, Milngavie, Torrance, Kirky and Moodiesburn.
I did not want to carry anything today so planned a drink at Mugdock reservoir where they have finally fixed the drinking fountain, thank you Scottish water, and then a quick stop off in Lenzie at an offy (Off Licence) where a bottle of coke and a fudge refuelled me for the final 6 miles.
21.27 miles in 2hrs 33mins. Felt good at the end and even tried a cold bath to see if does aid recovery, shall find out in the morning on the recovery run.

Friday, 19 August 2011

BROADWOOD 5K (4.5K ACTUAL)

Thursday 18th August

As the weather was great and this race is only 10 minutes from home I decided to run my first 5k of the year.

A few familiar fast boys set off at a blistering pace and I settled in at a comfy pace planning to run an even pace from start to finish. As you come round the loch you can see the finish about 1.5km away at which point as I was feeling fine I pushed on and finished in a time of 16min 13 secs in 11th place but when I checked the distance I had only covered 4.5k. Seems a 500m loop was missed early on, ah well these things happen.

Great wee race and well organised by Kirkintilloch Olympians.

Results:http://www.kirkintillocholympians.co.uk/Results/2011/Broadwood%205k%202011.xls


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

SCOTTISH VETS GLASGOW 800 (10K) 14th August

A return to road running and shorter distance for the build up to the Loch Ness Marathon so off to Pollock Park for the second last race in the vets championship. A larger field than normal as it is now an open race so a few unfamiliar faces to chase. I started off at an easy pace unsure of how the legs had recovered from last weeks Devils race so decided to wait till the second lap and see what was left in the tank. After the last climb I was still feeling ok so pushed on and passed Robert and Andy in the last mile and managed to hold them off till the end. Finished in 9th place in 37min 17 secs so happy with that and great to back on flat surfaces. http://scottishmastersathletics.webnode.com/results/a2011/

Saturday, 13 August 2011

DEVIL O THE HIGHLANDS

Saturday 6th of August 2.30am and my alarm goes off, up and shower running gear on then force a bowl of porridge and a banana down (no mean feat at that early hour). Picked Chris up at 3.30 and the Michael shortly after then off to Tyndrum we go. The weather was looking favourable on the drive up and daylight was breaking through a low cloud cover.

On the way we discussed where and what I would be wanting at the the checkpoints and a common theme developed, salt tablets viper enery gels and water. A few miles out off Crainlarich my bladder couldnt hold out any more and a pit stop was required in a most beautiful scene at the top of Loch Lomond, when I jumped back in the car Michael asked if I had washed my hands as he was driving back and wanted a clean steering wheel, I wont tell the reply, although a pack of wipes rest next to my handbreak now so he must have a secret stash on him. I dont recall him ever producing wipes after stopping in the jungle at Macritche reservoir for a pee or a poo, must be getting posh in his old age.
Arrived and Tyndrum shortly after 5am and collected my number had a chat with a a few familiar faces and had a coffee. After the race brief off to the start line we went.
6am and off we went uphill which was going to a common occurance today. I started off at any easyish pace 8.30min/mile as the leaders headed off into the distance. It was turning into a lovely sunny morning by the time I got to the first checkpoint at Bridge of Orchy and Michael handed me a succeed tablet and gel which I washed down with a bottle of water, as he ran beside me the cry was F****NG midgies are killing me.
The next stage up hill and over down to Victoria Bridge then over Rannoch Moor where I met Andy Johns and had a good chat was quite easy going and then down to Glencoe ski centre for the next checkpoint where Michael and Chris were waiting with another tablet and gel and more water, the sun was now splitting the sky and I was heating up. I asked the crew to meet me at the bottom of the Devils Staircase about 4 miles away as I reckoned I would need more juice then. After crossing the A82 I headed through Kingshouse Hotel car park where Bill Heirs handed me a wee bottle of coke and sprayed it all over me which is why I got set about by the midgie population of the world, cheers Bill. At the bottom of the staircase I took another succeed as I could feel a niggle in my calf and grabbed a banana to eat on the walk up the hill. Half way up I took off my t-shirt and just left my vest on as it was now scorching, sweat was dripping off my chin and I was walking. Climb over and down on into Kinlochleven which is when it started to hurt. The steep descent into Kinlochleven took it toll on me and by the time I got to the next and last checkpoint my earlier happiness was wiltering away.

 Only 14 miles to go but it was going to be the toughest.
Michael refilled my camelbak with another 1.5 ltrs of sports drink I drank a bottle of chocolate milk and eat a cereal bar. They informed me they were going to meet me again at Lundavra, and thank god they did. On the climb up out of Kinlochleven I was soaking with sweat as the glare of the sun off the rockface started toasting me. This is quite a demanding section which was broken up with meeting the mountain rescue squads and walkers along the way. Michael had ran out  a bit from Lundavra to meet me and all he did was complain about the rough path, I did mention in a few expletives that it was now getting better and I had booted every rock in the last 7 miles. 2 bottles of water 2 gels and 2 succeed tablets were rapidly downed and off on the the last section I went.

My first and only fall of the day occured just as I had to go down a flight of stairs near the end of the forest at the top of the hill outside Ft William, luckily I stopped before I went down the stairs. Out of the forest and only 3 miles to go, unfortunately 2 of which are steep downhill. My legs were burning with pain on the descent but I knew it was nearly over. After 2 of the longest miles of my life it flattened out thankfully and the pain eased, through the car park and onto the main road 1 mile to go. This was my fastest mile of the day and as I got to the finish line it actually felt great. Elated to be finished in a time of 6hrs 51mins in 10th position, happy with that on my first (and possibly last) attempt. Tiger beer time.

Thanks to Michael and Chris for great support throughout, you have passed the test and are welcome back. Thanks to the mountain rescue man with the irn bru and thanks to all involved in the race, the support and friendship were brilliant.