Tuesday, 30 April 2013


Another weekend another race, and so the relentless hammering of my legs continues. Hopefully some of this  training is going to pay off as I am beginning to feel it now. All week I have felt a bit sluggish after London so took it easy and just had a couple of 10km slow recovery runs. The big question was would 5 days be enough to recover in to get through the Fling in a reasonable time and also enjoy the race. Two of my training partners from Vicky Park had kindly volunteered to follow the race and offer assistance should it be required and also give them a good feel for it as they intend to run next year. I registered on Friday night to save a bit of time on Saturday and headed home to prepare my drop bags. The plan for the days was mini pork pies, tattie scones with peanut butter and coca cola, more of which to follow.

Saturday morning and we were blessed with cool dry conditions with clear blue skies as approximately 600 runners toed the line in the famous underpass at Milngavie railway station. I decided to start with a base layer with my club vest on top covered by a t-shirt till Drymen where I would discard the t-shirt and pick up my camelbak from Mark and Duncan.

Pointless hill at Balmaha.
Everything was going along smoothly and I really enjoyed the improved path up and down Conic Hill and on reaching Balmaha was surprisingly greeted by Gavin who had my drop bag ready. He had picked up an injury early on and pulled out at Drymen. I had a mini pork pie and a 200ml bottle of coke here which went down rather easily. The section to Rowardennan was more pleasant than usual as I normally do not enjoy it but it passed easily and at the next checkpoint grabbed my supplies and kept walking trying to waste as little time as possible. I had prepared a potato scone with peanut butter to try here and gave it a go but it was truly horrible and was fed to the wildlife, no worries as I had another pork pie waiting at Beinglas. I walked a little on this section on the uphill and shared some chat with Tracy Dean who was carrying an injury but was upbeat and not letting it slow her down in any way. As we moved on downhill towards Inversnaid what sounded like a coach load of tourists crept up chatting away but it was a lone runner greeting everyone and everything as he moved, Andy Johns had arrived and looked as if he was running a relay leg as bounded along. My race time splits show my time for the section from Rowardennan to Beinglas was 47th overall and that is where I felt I lost a lot of time as I struggled to negotiate the rocks and tree roots.

Photo by Dave Mooney.

Photo by Dave Mooney.
Beinglas checkpoint and another bottle of coke downed along with the last pork pie, only a half marathon to go. Plodded along here with legs starting to get heavy and once under the A82 and through the cowshit only the rollercoaster to negotiate before the sprint finish. Last year I struggled in the forest on the downhill but no such problem this year and was meet at the road junction by Duncan offering me more juice.

At this point none of the juice I was offered was appealing but another support crew offered a bottle of coke which was duly guzzled and off I headed to Tyndrum. I enjoyed the final section through Auchtertyre to Tyndrum and passed 4 or 5 runners on the way. Round the corner with the bagpipes playing and no finish line to be seen, they had moved it round the corner which threw the sprint finish a little.

Finish time of 9 hours 15 mins 46secs in 30th place. 20 minutes faster than last year and a lot less painful. Caught up with a few competitors at the finish and enjoyed a welcome cup of soup and buttered roll to refuel before starting on the beer.

A really excellent event and already on the race schedule for next year. John Duncan and a crew of about 80 folk help put this together and it is a great advert for the Scottish ultra running scene.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


After withdrawing from last years London Marathon to save my legs for the Fling I have regretted it since as it stopped my ever present from 2003. So this year the decision was to run both in the same week principally  to get miles in the legs and get some nutrition consumption practice in. With the sad events in Boston a few days beforehand a sense of togetherness had flourished and arriving in London on Friday afternoon and hitting the expo there seemed a really special feel about the place.

Friday night myself and Michael went to our favourite restaurant for steak and chips which I washed down with a few beers as part of my carbo loading. Saturday morning was cool but sunny and we had a lovely pre breakfast run around Hyde Park with a wee stop off for photos.

Full bhuna fry up was then consumed before a short stroll round Regent Street and then search for a barber for my marathon haircut. Evening meal was early with the Team McKeown McMillan squad who were down in force fundraising for their charity.

Early rise on Sunday morning, breakfast consumed and then off to let the fun commence. The trip on the underground to London Bridge and then the train to Blackheath is always fun with a mix of nervous first timers and experienced runners all heading for different start zones. We are fortunate enough to qualify for the Fast Good for Age which is a separate section on the red start and small enough to meet up with the usual suspects.

A nervous wait for the start and we managed to lose Duncan in the muster area and have not seen him since and then a 30 second silence for the victims of the Boston attacks and we were off. The planned pace was for a  2.50 finish for Michael which I was going to pace him towards and ease off about 20 miles but after 3 miles he had disappeared behind me but I thought he wouldn't be far away. The crowds were overwhelming in places and certainly the numbers must have been greater than ever. Not many spots on the course now where there is no support. I passed through 22 miles at 2.24 and sussed 2.50 was not on so eased off a bit and just enjoyed the run in to the finish, or as much as I could as I felt a small twinge in my right calf which felt a bit like it was going to cramp. Crossed the line in 2.52 and my official time is 2.51.53 which is only 50 seconds short of a pb so happy with that although I did go faster than the plan. Michael, Mark and Al all came in between 2.56 and 2.58. Michael did tell me off for going off too fast but I pointed out to him I had paced it perfectly for him to 22 miles where he was meant to push on for the sub 2.50 but unfortunately he had not kept up.

Me and bro.
Bag hunting.
A few beers at our usual haunt Henry's next to Green Park underground and then airport and home.

Me George and Al rehydrating.
Time Of Day
Finish time

Garmin details here : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/301805263 

A few days rest now and see if my legs recover for 53 miles of the Hoka Highland Fling on Saturday. Hoping for a sub 10 hour finish but really not bothered as I just want to get to Tyndrum feeling I could continue on and not feel totally gubbed.

Thursday, 11 April 2013


In a bit of a tapering and recovery mode last week so made a last minute decision and entered the Tom Scott Memorial 10 mile race at Strathclyde Park. I was unsure how the legs would feel after the 50km but had been feeling fine all week with no muscle pain or injuries so thought this would be a great workout for the lungs. It is normally a bit windy at the loch but race conditions were near perfect although still a bit chilly for my liking.

Route Map 
Set off at a brisk pace hoping the legs could cope and was pleasantly surprised to hold a steady pace all the way. The splits came in at 6 minute miles average and finished in 59min 56secs having chased good pal George Taylor all the way with him worryingly glancing behind in the final mile making sure I did not catch him. A new PB for that distance into the bargain and feeling really fresh just now.

Strathclyde Loch
Garmin details : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/294477619 As usual incorrect as I forgot to switch off on the line.

Results :http://www.tomscottroadraces.co.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/2013_tom_scott_10_mile_results.pdf

Now time for another taper towards the Hoka Highland Fling on the 27th April with the small matter of the London Marathon on the 21st, so interesting 2 weeks of running coming up but not really bothered about timings in these as they are both just part of WHW Race preparation.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Well this is a strange one to put in words but it turns out on paper I am the 2013 Scottish Athletics 50km Road Race champion. As I was waiting at the prize giving I expected to be called second for the open race but knew I had won the Vets race being the fastest old geezer but Adrian announced  I had done the double much to my surprise as I had been well beaten by Doc Andrew Murray by some 9 minutes. I asked Andrew about this shortly after feeling rather guilty about taking a prize which technically should have been his but he held his hands up and said it seems he hadn't renewed his SAL membership so was not eligible. I would be gutted so I think I know how he feels after reading his blog.

So to the race itself and my preparation has gone well with the WHW training and the Loch Katrine Marathon only 3 weeks ago. I was self supported just leaving my liquids at the side of the path although Helen Munro kindly offered help when she saw me fighting with a poly bag around about lap 15.

It was a beautiful clear morning and about -3 when I arrived in Perth and I was rather happy I was not starting earlier for the 100km when it was undoubtedly even colder. I had a warm up lap running anti clockwise encouraging a few friends along the way who were in for the long haul.

The 50k started at 10am and the sun was shining with very little wind of note so ideal running conditions although I would have preferred a few more degrees of warmth. I settled into a steady rythmn after 3 brisk laps and soon my mind turned to when I would take a drink or gel and it turns out you do not need much in 31 miles as all I consumed was 2 s-caps, 2 x 300ml water/sis mix and 1 viper gel. Strange how you think afterwards that if you had taken more would I have been faster but I really think that after finishing feeling like I had pushed the race but some energy still left I probably got it right.

With a lap race you normally know how you are standing in the race and the leader board at the start is a great reference but I know all too well it can all change in the final few laps as 2 years ago with 2 laps to go I was in 5th and finished 3rd. This year was just as interesting with 2 laps to go the only person I was certainly not catching was GB athlete Paul Fernandez as he had lapped me twice. I was expecting others along the way but none had caught me yet and with not long to go I hoped they wouldn't. As I went up the slope for the 2nd last time I caught my pal Craig Reid and offered a few words of encouragement, to which I received a mumbled response. I was now in 3rd place but no one in sight so pushed on just in case Craig wasn't done yet. I was then passed by a rather fresh looking English runner whose words were 'lets move it only 2 miles to go' and try as I could I could not hold on to him and he took a minute off me.

I finished in 4th place overall in 3hr 30min 48 secs - Chip time, averaging 6min 48secs per mile and winning the titles as noted in the first paragraph.

Garmin activity : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/291354976

Results : http://run.runandbecome.com/event/self-transcendence-100k-50k-2013/

It was interesting watching the 100km runners and a really great atmosphere with all of the time keepers, support teams and many other helpers throughout the course. Many thanks to Adrian @ Run + Become and his team for hosting an excellent event and anyone else I forgot to acknowledge on Sunday.