Saturday, 9 November 2013


Final ultra of the year and one I was really looking forward too as it is a great low key relaxing end to the season. As is the worry in Scotland in November the weather could be rather awful but the forecast for the day was favourable till about midday with rain predicted to start after that and as I hoped to finish around the 4 hour mark and the race starting at 8am all worries were set aside and only two layers of top clothing required and no need to carry a jacket, ideal!!!!

After a slap to the head at registration from Alice for a totally innocent remark on facebook about her and Ada maybe not being available today as rehearsals had began for the panto season , can't see what she was on about as I was thinking Snow White or Cinderella.

Met up with the usual suspects as we listened to the race briefing and we discussed tactics and clothing for the day and as I was thinking others were going to travel light as well.

The route starts off uphill with a climb for a the first couple of miles and the lead group set off into the distance as I found my own pace and eased myself in gently. As we descended towards the first checkpoint John Duffy breezed past on his way to an excellent time.

On up the cycle path to the next checkpoint and I missed this out as I was carrying my own juice today. Pete Buchanan was slowly catching me for the last few miles and after the descent to Killin came the long forest climb and as hills are not my strong point I knew he would catch me at some point here. Sure enough he did and we had a chat as we passed along the top of the forest but as we descended towards the checkpoint again he pulled away and that was the last I saw of him till the finish. I do really need to get out on trails more often as I am sluggish going uphill but even worse coming down. I met Craig Reid at the checkpoint and he had decided to pull out at this point and I couldn't convince him to come with me so off I went after a quick slug of coke.

Pic by Fiona Rennie.

Back down the cycle route to the next checkpoint it started raining and by the time I passed through the last checkpoint it was horsing it down and coming sideways into the bargain so it was head down and get this over with as soon as possible. The last section is basically a 10k road race with tired legs with a few undulations near the end to finish you off. I could not see anyone in front so had no target to pull in and I just tried to keep an even pace and fight off the cold which was beginning to set in. The 30mph sign and then the new shoogly bridge and over the finish line, job done in 3hr 59min 26 secs. A bit tight but squeezed in under the 4 hours, maybe shouldn't hang about at checkpoints blethering in future.

Straight away I was handed a hot coffee and it certainly sorted me out as I had cooled rapidly in the last mile or so and the sight of Grant waiting for me to give him a lift home was a picture as he was turning blue with the cold. Warm shower at the campsite and all senses had returned.

The race was won in an amazing time of 3 hrs 26 mins and the full results are here :

My garmin details here :

Another excellent BaM production and many thanks to the lads and lasses at the checkpoints for all their help and support on a day when the elements turned rather horrible.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


This was a lesson on reccying a route if ever there was one. I mentioned to Sandra McDougall at the start line that as I lived not far from the start line I had ran a few sections of the route before and knew a few bits but was unfamiliar with a few others and she joked I would probably get lost then. Well she was correct.

The race started off at a brisk pace and I settled in to a steady pace with the last few miles in mind as I knew them and they were mostly uphill. I was sitting in 5th place most of the way till we came on to the canal at Twechar and as the leaders rounded a bend about half a mile ahead I was confident I would start pulling them back in calculating they had about 3 minutes lead on me. After the bend though there was an arrow pointing back the direction I had came from and presuming it to be wrong I carried on along the canal. The arrow was at the top of a staircase with ticker tape as well but nowhere in my mind did 'go down staircase' register. So as I plodded on another runner came bounding towards me asking was this correct as he had lost sight of the leaders and I just said I thought it was so we carried on but suddenly it clicked and I realised the next chance to cross the canal would be Kirkintilloch. About turn and headed back the way and now there was a steward standing waiting directing runners down the way. I mentioned to him the arrow was pointing the wrong way when we passed and he admitted it was and he had fixed it when he arrived but I did acknowledge it was my own fault I had gone the wrong way.

View from the high point of the race.

With only 4 miles to go I was now passing runners regularly wondering how many places I had lost. I caught up with Robert Rogerson just as we reached Croy much to his amazement and I am sure he had a little laugh at my rerouting. On up Croy Hill and spied more runners but could only catch another one before the finish.
James Stewart had glanced round and saw me coming in the distance and made sure I was not catching him and asked at the finish where I had got to.

Finished in 8th place in 1:42.04. The race distance should be 13.8 miles but I covered 14.4 miles and reckon I lost about 4 minutes and 3 places with my stupidity. I shall need to come back next year and see what I can do now that I know the actual route.

An excellent race organised by Adventure Zone Scotland and highly recommended.

Garmin details here : (the extra bit is rather obvious now)

Results here :

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


No ultras to race or report on this last few weeks so I entered a couple of half marathons and put my name down for the cross country relays with my club to ease my legs back in to a faster pace with the shortish Glen Ogle 33 mile race on the 2nd November in mind.

So first up came the Dumfries Half  Marathon on the 22nd September, a race which I have raced several times and always enjoy. This was going to be a wake up call to my fast twitch muscles which have largely been uncalled on since April and the shortest race recently has been a marathon (I did RACE the last leg at the Clyde Stride and that was not pretty only 3 weeks after the West Highland Way Race). Met Ian Beattie and Sandra at the start and had a chat and also Craig Reid and Peter Buchanan who went on to have excellent races. I rattled along comfortably finishing in 1:23.34 which is my slowest  time ever in this race but I enjoyed it all the way and although a disappointing time a really worthwhile run. We tied this race in for the wee man to go and see his latest obsession at Dino Park just outside Dumfries where much fun was had afterwards.

Two weekends later on the 5th and 6th of October was a double header with a 3.25 mile leg in the 74th running of the McAndrew Road Relay at Scotstoun in 19min 24 secs and on the Sunday morning the Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon in Kirkintilloch and surrounding areas. This half  is a tough route and not fast contrary to the organizers description but I managed to chop a minute off my Dumfries time with a 82:23 finish, a minute and a half slower than last year but a step in the correct direction.

Dumfries results here :

Comfy finish at the Neil McCover Half
I have been asked a few times why I appear in several running vests throughout the year so to clarify :

Blue and white hoops is the original Victoria Park AAC vest which was changed to the blue with one green and one white band a few years back when we merged with City of Glasgow. I am a bit nostalgic and do actually much prefer the hooped vest. I also sometimes wear my yellow Scottish Veteran Harriers Club vest and another is my MacRitchie Runners 25 ( )

I was presented on the Saturday with my prize for winning first vet in the SUMS series ( ) by Ada who had kindly collected it for me at the awards ceremony.

Last weekend was the first race of the cross country season and a new venue for me for the first relay race at Hamilton Park Racecourse. 4km on a racetrack was a great experience and the surface was ideal and possibly the cleanest cross country I have ever ran. I ran the glory leg although no glory to be had a was pleased with my time of 15:03, hope the rest of the cross country races are as enjoyable but somehow I doubt it.

Another race another vest!!!


Friday, 27 September 2013


What with having a weak will and and a tired body after two ultras in August I changed to the 12 hour race option a few weeks beforehand and started planning a new strategy which was basically get it done and then have a few beers to assist with the sleeping in the tent overnight. Mrs Wife and the little dude decided on Thursday evening that as the weather forecast was favourable they would come afterall and be my back up crew which would save me from being unsupported and give them their first taste of camping out. So car loaded to the gunnels and ultra runner food aplenty loaded we headed up early Saturday morning for the midday start giving us time to set up the tent at basecamp at the Glenmore Forest Park next to Loch Morlich.

Mysteriously our pop up tent did not want to do what it said on the tin but after quite a few tantrums and shouting it was in general tent shape and secure enough to not blow away during the day. Race crew have been scrutinizing campervan brochures ever since and I am inclined to agree it is the way forward.

Race Start
1st lap and all smiles.

I had been confident I could grind a decent result out for the 12 hour race and started off feeling fine and enjoyed the first 4 laps but at the start of the 5th lap just after the wee climb out of camp you go down a rocky path section for about 30 feet and half way along it I slipped on a rock and twisted the whole right hand side of my body and knew I had damaged something. Initially this did not stop me but as the miles and laps went on my right leg and and shoulder just did not want to work and I felt as if I was dragging myself along reluctantly. This feeling did not detract from the event which was unfolding though as on every lap the banter with fellow competitors was great and my support crew were doing a sterling job even putting off disappearing to Aviemore for dinner for several hours.

Pic by Julie Clark
After about 6 hours I had lost count of my laps and the crew had headed off for dinner so I sat down and munched a pork pie and washed it down with a can of red bull, I know it is not the best diet in the world but it certainly worked and found a little more energy. As darkness neared the Mrs returned to tell me of the delightful Italian buffet that her and the wee man had demolished and asked if I wanted any more soup heated up, me replying that as no pizza had been brought back obviously it would have to do.

Andrew watching me leave on another lap.

The race in general is a gathering of all the mad runners you meet over the year at various events all out to see how far they can run on this occasion and it was great to catch up/be overtaken/ get lapped and witness a world record attempt all in the one race.

I was really struggling to move late on and about 10pm had decided enough was enough but after a pause for a coffee and a chat with Doc Andrew Murray and Terry Addison was told to man the f**k up and get out there and finish the job off. There is nothing like running through a forest on a dark twilight night, it was wonderful being out there without a care in the world just me and another 80 odd mad ultra runners although you would not have known it as I seemed all alone most of the time.

About 11.20 I completed my last full lap and continued on to the small laps of the camp to squeeze a little more distance out but really I would have been as well hopping along on my left leg as I was burst on the right side. At 12 midnight the hooter went and the 12 hour race runners stopped and planted their pegs in the ground for their distance to be measured and off I hobbled to my tent. Linda was still awake but the wee man was snoozing away. Those beers I had carefully left out remained untouched as I squeezed into my sleeping bag and tried to catch a bit of sleep but it proved impossible with the discomfort so I just lay and listened as 24 hour runners trundled by through the night.

My distance came in at 67.32 miles in 6th place , I have queried this as I was convinced I had done 1 more lap, but I am not big enough or brave enough to argue with Ada and her cattle prod so 67.32 it is.

I will hopefully be back on the start line next year if I can secure a place and remain fit, support crew hopefully as well although maybe with more improved sleeping arrangements.

Many thanks to Mike, Bill, Ada, Alice, Julie etc.............. . A wonderful event from start to finish and a great family atmosphere.

Race results here :

Sunday, 1 September 2013


The photo above should give an indication to what conditions to expect during this race, although I must admit I had given this issue very little thought pre race. Those big things in the photo only turn if its windy and unfortunately on race morning they were turning at a rapid rate of naughts with a little rain thrown in for good measure. Mustn't grumble though as it was warm and it did clear up and only 45 miles were blowy as the last 5 miles were back in the outward route.

A small field of 21 runners started this year but I am certain that under the leadership of David Meldrum and a cast of many stewards this race will grow in stature in the SUMS series.

Photos courtesy Billy Quigley

So the race begins and Grant sprints off into the distance and I settle in to my stride, second position for 50 miles in the hope I might pull him back in at some point but knowing realistically it will not happen. Tired legs from the Devils two weeks ago and not knowing this route I was a bit hesitant to set off too fast. It was a bit blowy for the first 5-6 miles but it calmed down and as the direction was constantly changing not too much of an issue. I have to admit I did not have a clue where I was out on the country roads but it was all lovely scenery and I noticed that all the way there was next to no litter and the roads were pot hole free which was perfect for the cyclists taking part in the event which was starting 2 hours after our start and following the same route. Checkpoints every 5 miles with water and a drop bag if required meant it was not necessary to carry any supplies which is ideal when racing is the order of the day. Around about the 25 mile mark the cyclists started passing and there words of encouragement all helped, although the "you are looking good" cry was a bit worrying as they had a view of my backside. I reached the 40 mile checkpoint and was greeted by Helen and John Munro and Helen offered to get me a pint from the pub they were stationed outside, very tempting but if I had had one I would have ended my race there and then and stayed in the boozer.

Coke break.

Last ten miles took us past the Whitelees Wind Farm and headed back into Strathaven with a couple of climbs I had not noticed on the way out but with a gentle breeze now pushing us home. I finished 2nd place in 7hr 11 mins 30 secs , some 30 minutes behind Grant. I had not seen him or any other runner for most of the 50 miles, just as well I get on with myself then. My legs were well tired but I had no cramp issues and all the small niggles kept at bay.

A superb race and the interaction with the cyclists and the wonderful marshalls make this an unmissable race and I would highly recommend it for next year.

Podium photo by Noanie Sam Heffron

Monday, 5 August 2013


Scorching weather for weeks beforehand and lots of nervous ultra runners stocking up on factor 50 and skin so soft, well we did not have to worry after all as normal service had resumed and Devil morning was a tad wet. Last minute reworking of the backup crew meant it was my brother and  tried and trusted aid Chris driving with emergency runner Alex Potter accompanying  him to provide support for both me and fellow VP-Glasgow runner Mark Ashby. We had checked with the race director beforehand and they were happy with this as we were both due within 15-30 minutes of each other at checkpoints. A cunning plan I may add if all goes to plan but smart thinking required if it all goes belly up, more of which to come and also very handy Alex is a doctor!!!!

Me actually leading the race at Bridge of Orchy.

The usual pleasantries and meeting and greeting at the Green Welly and we were off, and much to my surprise I was leading the race. I thought it would only last a few minutes but I was still there at Bridge of Orchy. I had set off with a time in mind of 6 hours 30 minutes but wary of the tiredness in my legs I was still feeling from the West Highland Way Race 6 weeks previous so on reaching the first point on schedule I carried on up the first climb where I was passed by Paul and Kevin who both raced on ahead as I walked the steep incline. They were still in sight as we started over Rannoch Moor but I started to feel a bit sluggish here and realised it was going to be damage limitation and not racing on the menu today. I arrived at the Glencoe checkpoint in 2hr 15 minutes which was 5 minutes behind last years time but fine by how I was feeling. I grabbed a banana here for later as the crew did not think they would have time to sort Mark out and get to the bottom of the Staircase before me. 20 miles in and feeling low on energy I was not looking forward to the climb but got to the top with eventual race winner John McLauchlin breathing down my neck. As we waded through the streams John motored on looking strong as I cursed every rock and stream. On the descent into Kinlochleven I perked up and jogged along to the checkpoint where Chris and Alex informed me Mark had fallen at Glencoe and had suffered some cuts and bruises but was still running but about 25 minutes behind then.

Man down.
They were more concerned that they would not be able to meet me at Lundavra but Chris had already planned for this and given my juice to John's support crew and asked them to give it to me. This was a cunning plan but the speed he was moving at I suspected I would be hunting around on the ground for my bottle of coke and can of red bull as they would be long gone. Just as we started the climb up to the Lairig Moor I was passed by Rich Williams who told me he enjoyed reading my blog and was surprised to have caught me. He pushed on up the hill and I struggled to keep him in sight finishing 10 minutes ahead of me. I perked up on this stretch and ran the whole section to Lundavra greeting Jeff Smith of the mountain rescue team along the way. On the approach to Lundavra two runners were catching me and one went past putting me in 6th place, at this point my racing head finally kicked in and I refused to be overtaken again. John Kynaston was taking photos here and as I stopped to talk to him a kind supporter handed me my coke and red bull, thank you kind sir you got me to the end.

Legal drugs.
John told me it should be 1hour 10 minutes from here and a glance at my garmin just before it croaked and it read 5:24 so last years 6:33 could still be beaten. Off I went just as Chris and Alex came screeching to a halt in my new car, shit that's the warranty goosed now with them taking it off road. I just waved to them and ran off I had a time to chase now. Through the woods and got that final awful climb done and started running down the fire road as fast as I could, reminiscing of 6 weeks prior when every bit of my body hurt but it does feel good knowing the finish is within touching distance. If anyone was to pass me now they would need to run sub 7 minute miles so good on them if they could. Through the car park and along the road to the finish in 6th place in 6:33.18 , 15 seconds slower than last year but I sure had to work for it and the weather was worse this year.  I had a chat with Gary the race director and Norrie who had popped up at several points enroute as I waited for the crew. Finally Chris turned up and told me Mark had taken a tumble at Lundavra and had split his head, dunted his nose and teeth and generally was in a bad way but doctor Alex had persuaded the stewards he was ok to finish and he would accompany him to the end. He was a bit cut and bruised by the time he finished but it does show you do need a good crew with you.

Zebedee aka Mark.
A smashing day out in testing conditions but great to see so many smiling happy stewards supporters and Ultra Dafties.

Results here :

I have now completed the triple crown this year, that is The Highland fling, West Highland Way Race and Devil O the Highlands. Here is the table of results for all who have done it this year :

Courtesy of John Kynaston.
Next up if I recover quickly is the John Lucas Memorial 50 mile race, slightly flatter and more my territory.

Sunday, 28 July 2013


Realising I would most definitely not be up for a full race 3 weeks after the WHW race I opted for the next best thing and with a bit of forward planning entered a relay team for this years Stride, not just any relay team though as this was a team which only had the choice of 4 runners,myself and brothers Michael and Chris with little sister Catherine. Team Craig had no reserves so any thought of withdrawal from either of my two brothers or younger sister were going to be a disaster but they had been briefed and were all up for the task. We have only ever all been at the same race on two occasions, Paisley 10k a few years ago and London Marathon 2011. Four runners from the same family and all with different clubs.

A brief description of the route with those unfamiliar with the course : Start - Partick , Finish - New Lanark .
40 miles following the River Clyde upstream along cycle paths and various degrees of trail and a little bit of road.

In the run up to the race temperature in Glasgow had been hitting mid 70's and far from ideal for us locals but surely more enjoyable than the longest cold winter which I can remember and we were next to a river after all. Kate and Chris had not ran any of the route before so a couple of recce runs did take place on their individual legs, although maybe leaving Chris's till the Thursday evening before the race was a tad last minute but most enjoyable as we relaxed outside the Toby Carvery with a few beers contemplating the race 36 hours in the future.

Leg 2 start.

Race morning and Kate was a little nervous about pacing and the temperature was rising but she ran the first leg well and we were within 25 minutes of the Sweatshop ringers at the first checkpoint. Chris was off like a bullet ( alright a bit of an exaggeration after his all inclusive 10 days in Portugal). He did make me a little nervous when he asked for his inhaler just before he set off. Not sure if it legal but lots of medal winners from the last Olympics seem to be using them so not a problem as long as we don't win.

Legal drugs!!!
Job done.

Chris made good time and and pulled back one of the Sweatshop teams who had went the wrong way somewhere although I do not think he was the only one going by reports. It is always a benefit if you are certain about a route. Michael set off from Strathclyde Park and we drove along to the next checkpoint where I was going to be taking over on the glory leg, well if you are leading it is. Mauldslie Bridge is a lovely setting and you can see the runners coming round the bend in the river and a few knackered looking faces passed by. We were in 5th place when I set off a full 24 minutes behind the leader and as I was chasing Gavin knew I would not make that up but hoped I could maybe reel in second third or fourth. Alas it was not to be and as I was on the loop round New Lanark on the way to the finish I could hear cheers and shouting, which turned out to be the race for 2nd place. I was pulling them back in but ran out of distance. I was shouted over the line by Michael who was eyeing the time and urged me on to go under 5 hours which I just managed. Our final time was 4hr 59min 44 secs , 5 minutes off of 2nd and 19 from the winning Sweatshop team.

So possibly the fastest all sibling relay team in the west and a great event to be part of.

Clan Craig Relay team.

Relay Results here :

Another excellent race organised by Lee and one of the friendliest you will find anywhere.

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Three years of thinking about it and 7 months of serious training build up and finally it loomed, race day was upon us and the weather forecast was being scrutinized every five minutes. No illnesses at all for months and suddenly in the build up week a stomach bug hits but thankfully come Friday it was almost clear and I got to the start line in as good a condition as I could be in a trip into the unknown. As 53 miles has been the furthest race I have done so far this was going to be a further 42 on top of that, and not in the most hospitable territory either. I was to be assisted by fellow Victoria Park runners Speedo, Mark and Duncan. Duncan finished the race a few years ago but has very little memory of the latter parts due to the state he got in to with hallucinating and sleeping.

Before the start and all smiles.

I registered early and went back to my dads for a cuppa and got him to drop me off about midnight to meet up with my backup crew for a brief final chat and off we went bang on 1.00am. A really bizarre feeling running through woods with a headtorch on when you really should be tucked up in bed snoozing away. Not having run before with a headtorch was not a problem and the first few miles was at a gentle pace chatting away and enjoying the pleasant evening. The rain started just after Carbeth so I stuck on my waterproof jacket which confused the crew at the Beechtree as they didn't recognize me. Grabbed a bottle of water and a gel at Drymen on the ways through and asked for a pork pie and banana to be waiting at Balmaha at the first checkpoint. Legs were feeling fine and in my mind my speed was comfortable but the descent from Conic Hill soon sorted them out and the first signs of effort were noticed. My split time here of 3:07 was bang on schedule. I put in a request here for soup and bread at Rowardennan as my body was now telling me it was breakfast time.

Balmaha checkpoint : Leg 3hr 7min 14secs

I really do not enjoy the section between Balmaha to Rowardennan but as it was at a slower pace and today it seemed to go along nicely and I swapped position with a few runners as we went along. There was a mention on the WHW facebook page regarding running on the correct path and not on the road so I made sure I was careful not to go off route on this section although I did notice a bit of road running. Arriving at Rowardennan I was glad to get that section out of the way and the crew had my soup ready and waiting for me after I had checked in/out. One wee complaint though I had forgot to mention I do not have an asbestos throat and luke warm would suffice, took us two checkpoints and a little moan to sort that one out. Needless to say I just shut up and added some cold water myself rather than mention it again, christ the wife doesn't even make me tea or coffee yet here are these guys giving up a weekend to follow me through midgie infested trails and I am complaining the soup is too warm.

Rowardennan Checkpoint : Leg 1hr 29min 59secs  Overall 4hr 37min 13secs

Midgie hell.
Left the lads here for the dreaded section along the lochside and warned them I may be a while although so would they as they had the long drive back to Balloch and up the other side to Beinglas Farm next to the Drovers Inn. A short running section and then a bit of a walk from here as it is a bit of a climb and then I ran most of the way to Inversnaid where I had a dropbag with a muller rice and a bottle of coke. These were both rattled down quickly as even standing inside the protective tent provided by the wonderful Trossachs Rescue Team we were being bitten all over. Next section is all rocks and tree roots and where I lose time due to being vertically challenged and not having long enough legs to skip over the rocks. It is always a joy to finish that bit and get to the top of the hill where Darios post is and glance back and enjoy the view although just briefly as it is a race after all. Short trail section down into Beinglas and checked in again and had another cup of soup and then annoyed Speedo again by requesting a bottle of coke which he had to run to the van and collect. My parting words were "f**k these midgies I am off"

Beinglas Checkpoint : Leg 3hr 9min 38secs  Overall 7hrs 46mins 51secs

Easiest section of the day next up to Auchtertyre where unfortunately I met up with Robert whom I had trained a bit with and expected to finish in a great time but he had hurt his foot and was being helped/comforted by his support just before Bogle Glen. We had a brief chat and he offered me his watch as did one of his crew on seeing mine was dead. I decided no watch was going to make any difference to how I would finish today so politely declined the offers and carried on up the path to the rollercoaster forest. I took it easy on the downhills here as I knew I still had a lot of damage to do to my quads later. As I crossed the A82 and heade for the checkpoint the heavens opened and soaked me through so decision made and a change of gear would be needed. I checked in here and was weighed for the first time and although I had lost weight they were happy with it. The boys ushered me to the van threw some gear at me, told me to change and poured me a coffee. I didn't know if they were telling porkies but they said the last few runners had hobbled through and I looked the freshest they had seen for a while, I now realise they were talking s***e. At this point I compared how I was feeling to how I felt about here in the Fling and was concerned as I sure was tired although it is hard to judge as in the Fling you are going to finish about 1.5 miles later.

Auchtertyre Checkpoint : Leg 2hr 3min 35secs  Overall 9hrs 50mins 26secs

On reflection and reading split times the next two sections are as bad as they felt although from Auchtertyre through Tyndrum I was still upbeat and enjoying myself. After you pass the Green Welly Shop and climb up the hill I noticed Tyndrum Cemetery and couldn't stop myself laughing as I noticed there was only one headstone in it, either no one lives there or it is the healthiest place in the world!!! I had a short pause here and said a wee prayer for my mum who passed away last September and I just had a moment thinking to myself about all the worrying she did when all her siblings were out running marathons or shorter hoping we all finished unscathed. Well today, as I had told her on my visit to the cemetery during the week this one was for her. I cruised along nicely downhill after the A82 underpass but started to struggle a bit on the uphill before Bridge of Orchy but pulled it together and jogged down to the checkpoint for some refreshment. I forgot to check in here but Tim kindly came across and took my tab and done it for me and brought it back as I had a coffee and a bite to eat. I left here knowing the next section was the one I really had to get done and out the road as I knew I could crawl from Glencoe no problem.

Bridge of Orchy Checkpoint : Leg 2hr 5min 30secs  Overall 11hrs 55mins 56secs

Up and over the hill here after collecting a jelly baby from Murdo and onwards to Rannoch Moor. Rosie Bell passed me here and we had a bit of a chat as we swapped position after stopped for food with her crew. I noticed here that she was walking faster than me on the uphill and that concerned as I just could not speed up at all. Rosie pulled away quite a bit here and went on to win the female race. I struggled to get going at all and really felt like jacking it in for a few mile but convinced myself to get to Glencoe have some food and it would all be ok. As I came in to the checkpoint Speedo was obviously concerned and sat me down in the back of the van told me to relax, have a coffee and he then handed me a packet of jaffa cakes. As I started to feel better he insisted I have some more soup and a pork pie which I duly scoffed. Next problem was I was now comfy on the seat and getting back out the van was the hard bit. Duncan had changed into running gear after checking if someone could accompany me. They said it was tight but they would allow it, rules are if you are within 4 hours of the leader you are on your own.

Glencoe Checkpoint : Leg 2hrs 35mins 52secs  Overall 14hrs 31mins 48secs

The healing power of a Jaffa cake.

We walked down the slope from Glencoe as my food was only halfway down and as I tried to run it was nearly half way up again. Crossed the road and ran past Kingshouse Hotel and on towards The Devils Staircase. I started to perk up here and we ran along chatting away and the miles started to feel easier. The climb up the staircase was as good as it can be with 75 miles in your legs and we stopped to admire the view and the height we had ascended. My legs actually started to ease off on this section and the only problem was the really steep descent into Kinlochleven where I had to walk some of the downhill although I think it was in my mind and I was saving a bit for the downhill into Fort William. I was passed by three runners on the descent here and as I arrived at the medical centre/checkpoint a bit annoyed with myself to lose places on a downhill section. Mark met us and guided us into the checkpoint where I was weighed and checked in by Julie who was as usual delightfully happy and cheerful. We only had a few words and then Julie shouted to Mark "tell us when he is leaving" to which I replied instantly "I'm leaving". I could see guys lying down and others eating food but I just told the guys "give me a bottle of coke, a can of red bull and a packet of peanuts I am off". There was only a half marathon to go and I was wanting to get it over with so no time to hang about.

Spot the runner.

Kinlochleven Checkpoint : Leg 3hr 4mins 5secs  Overall  17hrs 35mins 53secs

 Mark was ready to go and he walked along with me as I eat my salted peanuts. He is running the Devils in August so was keen to see the terrain and I warned him about the climb but even he was amazed at how long it goes on for. Once we got to the top Mark asked if I was in any state to run, well he was in for a shock as there was very little where we didn't run here and it will be interesting to see his garmin details. We had a short stop for a glass of Tizer (he only had sugar free irn-bru) with Jeff from the mountain rescue team and on we went to Lundavra and the final meeting point with Speedo and Duncan. Just before the sheep pens I stood on a rock which sent a pain right through my left leg. I must apologise now for the words I screamed but thankfully it was rather quiet up there on Saturday night. I stopped at the next stream and soaked my foot and the pain eased off thankfully. We arrived at Lundavra to theme from Rocky blasting away and it felt great to be nearing civilization again. A quick can of red bull, ditch the waterproofs and off we went. I kept glimpsing behind to see if anyone was about to steal a place from me but Mark reassured me he had not seen anyone for a while. I reached the fire road and Mark asked if I was walking or running it. I was a bit unsure but started off running and strangely kept it going all the way to the finish. I think I ran it faster than I had done in the Devils last August and did not stop until I took my timing card off and jumped on the scales. What a great feeling and a wee tear in my eyes, job done.

The Goblet.

Finish Fort William : Leg 3hrs 27mins 21 secs  Overall 21hrs 3mins 14secs   20th position

Well now to the thank you bit.

 My support crew were amazing and I hope I was polite all the time, I am sure they will soon tell me. I have already offered my support back should they wish to enter next year but awaiting a response!!!

Ian and Adrian and everyone else from the registration to the finish, what a wonderful experience it is and you should all be proud of the production. The Scottish tourist board and wee Eck could maybe use it as an advert for independence.

Linda and Andrew, sorry for being missing for quite a few weekends recently but you can have me back now (for a wee while).