Friday, 19 August 2016


Normal logic and common sense would all point to the fact that running a 50 mile race only 3 weeks after finishing a 40 miler is not the wisest of moves but as my preferred surface is tarmac and this race is logistically *just up the road* it was a no brainer and had to be done. The JLRS50 always has a relatively small amount of entries but the addition of the relay race has boosted numbers on the route and created a lot more interest in the event.

The target for the day was just to finish as 50 miles on tar is tough going so any finish is a bonus, the next target is to finish with a good placing and as the main opposition was Grant Jeans (course record holder) Rob Soutar (2 times previous winner) and James Stewart ( not too shabby a runner) it was obvious it was going to need  a shift and a half to displace any of them from in front of me. I was on taxi duty and picked up Rob and James and we arrived in plenty of time in Strathaven to ready ourselves for the exertions ahead.

The 3 Amigos before the race
 Race start at 8am and in the first mile it was obvious Grant was on a mission to win as he shot off up the hill at a speed you would only expect in a 10km race so the next 10 miles we 3 trundled along discussing the pros and cons of that particular tactic and quite frankly could only find cons but each to their own as they say. If he was having a good day we wouldn't see him again and on the other hand if it went pear shaped when would it happen. My bet was on 32 miles so more on that later.

At the first checkpoint after 10 miles I grabbed my drink bottle and carried on but could feel a niggle in my right hip and groin and as Rob caught up with me after his 3rd pee stop I think he had spied this from behind and asked if  everything was ok to which I confessed no it wasn't. Well this must have been all that was required for 2 mates to ditch another as the 2 amigos gradually picked the pace up and starting pulling further ahead of me. From this point at 13 miles the pain gradually increased and this is where the mental strength of ultra running comes in as you start discussing with yourself at which point do you decide to call it a day and what is an injury or just something you can *run off* . with a mere 37 miles of running left I decided to ease the pace and nurse it till checkpoint 2 at 19 miles and reassess. As I crossed the road and approached where the checkpoint normally is there was a distinct lack of bodies so I carried on through wondering if they had set up further up the road but a mile or two on and no sign of anyone I resigned myself to no juice till the next checkpoint at 26 miles and as the pain was not increasing I may as well carry till the next checkpoint at least.

 At this point in the race at high Langridge our 3 intrepid adventurers ahead all decided to go off piste and rewrite the route, luckily for them the road they took hooked back exactly where the correct route would go to the checkpoint in Stonehouse so they didn't get lost somewhere in deepest darkest South Lanarkshire and not much difference in distance.

Correct route, do not go straight ahead!
In need of a drink I looked forward to my drop bag bottles at Stonehouse but it wasn't to be as I was informed we were covering the route too fast and the vehicle hadn't arrived with the goods yet but were enroute and the kind gent would drive out and bring them asap if I just carried on running. About a mile and a half later the support car pulled along side me and the package handed over. I downed the bottle of coke quicker than a pint of lager and carried my tailwind bottle which I gradually got through in the next couple of miles. This leg is about 14 miles and just seems to go on and on as you head for Auldhouse at 40 miles and would you believe it at 32 miles just after Glassford the support car coming the other way stopped and kindly handed me a bottle of coke and Grants voice from the back seat saying Rob and James were a mile or two so up the road. Now I was in 3rd place chasing down the two machines and any thoughts of pulling out had to be put aside as the final checkpoint loomed closer.

Checkpoint 4 (40 miles) at Auldhouse arrived soon enough and my final drop bag had made it so coke downed and tailwind drink in hand I gave myself a talking to and persuaded myself that no amount of pain in my hip could prevent a finish and it was *only* 10 miles till the end. I had no idea how far I was behind and really wasn't bothered , I would have been more disappointed with a DNF than a sore leg. After the climb up to Whitelees Wind Farm the race is generally an undulating 10km downhill to the finish and I picked the pace up thankfully as the relay runners started to appear steadily passing on their way to the end. A 51 minute 10km to finish on tired legs cannot be all bad and I finished in 6hr 54 mins with Rob 2nd in *6hr 29min and James 1st in *6hr 19mins.

* James and Robs route (hee hee)

Drop bag issues aside this year this is a wonderful race to take part in and I would encourage anyone to come and give it a go, and if you are not up for the full bhuna enter a relay team and join in the fun. Many thanks to the Lucas organising team and stewards for another unforgetable race.