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.