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.


  1. Got my eye on this for next year. And you make it sound so easy!

  2. Hey Gerry, great blog post, I was just wondering if I can use your pointless hill picture in a news story I'm working on with John Duncan about the growth of Scottish ultra running for Trail Running magazine. We go to press Wed 19 at midday, so if you are willing to send to claire.maxted@bauermedia.co.uk before then (at your earliest convenience) that would be fantastic news. I will of course credit the photo to whoever you need it to be. Best wishes, Claire (01733 468564)