95 miles 14,000 ft
After walking the West highland way in 2003 I decided to have a go at the race. It was a natural escalation in challenges, from the half marathon then the marathon and eventually an ultra.
The race goes from Milngavie along the east side of Loch Lomond and on through the passes to Fort William. It is 95 miles long with about 14,000 feet of climbing.
As part of the organisers requirements, I had to arrange my own support. This has to be 2 people tracking and meeting me at certain locations in a car. I was very lucky that Alistair, my boss at work, offered to do this with Neil a friend of his.
The run went well, I remember feeling rough at the first checkpoint at Balmaha. But at 5 am this was fairly normal for me. The rest of the run was into a fairly strong head wind. At Rowadenan checkpoint, the Mountain rescue team were talking of possible snow fall on the last parts of the course. At Bridge of Orchy they issued mandatory bivvy bags, which weighed heavy when added to the rucksack. As I made my way over Ranoch Moore, I was glad of the thought of running the last 2 sections of the course from Kingshouse to Fort William with Alistair, I had started to feel lonely, even though their was a mass of people heading in the opposite way (doing the highland fling I think). Alistair joined me and at last I had someone to talk to. It was good to share the fact that my legs were sore, When I sprained my ankle whilst leaving Kinlochleven, he spurred me on. I felt tired as the night closed in but we made our way through the last bit of forest and dropped down towards the lights of Fort William. Neil urged us on in the car, and we ran the last bit to get in, just in front of a guy that had really closed us down. 11th in 22:35.33 was better than I thought I was capable of. It was a great experience, but the 6 weeks of recovery, for my ankle and may strained calf muscles was a heavy price to pay.