whw run – report

Sunday 29 March 2009

Summary of run …..

Preparation
I was looking forward to this run and sensed it was going to be important to have a good run after my last tough run at the beginning of the month. I was feeling good and slept fine despite the hour going forward. I was up at 6am, enjoyed my porridge and toast and honey and then Neal and Caroline picked me just before 7am and we drove to Tyndrum arriving about 8.10am

We were first to arrive but soon we were joined by others ready for the run. There were various options today with some (Neal, Marco, Richie, Charles, Derek and me) running the full 42miles. Others were doing Kingshouse and back (Ian K), or running to Kingshouse (Thomas & Mike T) and then others were starting at Bridge of Orchy (Ian B, Phil T and Caroline) while Silke was starting at Kingshouse.

No prizes for guessing who was last to arrive! After our group photo we were off and running.

Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy – 6.65miles in 56min 46secs (average pace 8.33)
I set off running with Ian K for a while and then Marco and Richie caught up with us. Marco went past, caught up with Thomas at the front and soon disappeared not to be seen again until Fort William. I ran the whole section to Bridge of Orchy with Ritchie. I’ve met him a few times before and follow his blog but never really had a good chat so I really enjoyed getting to know him better. Ritchie finished the whw 08 race in 3rd in a time of 18hrs 28mins so I found it really interesting to find out more about his strategy for running that quick. Obviously I’m not trying to copy that but there is always things to learn!

The time passed quickly and just before Bridge of Orchy Neal caught up with us having stopped to take off his coat. We didn’t stop here but pushed on up the hill.

Bridge of Orchy to Kinghouse – 11.95miles in 1hrs 58mins 48secs (average pace 9.57)
The three of us ran together over the top and down past Inveroran and on to Victoria Bridge. Silke was waiting for us there so we stopped for a quick drink and were soon of again. Ritchie stopped a bit longer so Neal and I started on our own. It is worth mentioning here that Ritchie ran 40 miles yesterday and was planning to run the 42 miles today and then run back to Tyndrum on Monday! Over 120 miles in 3 days. maybe that’s why he can the whw in under 18hrs 30mins!

Neal, Harvey (Neal’s dog) and I set off over the Rannoch Moor. The weather had been superb so far but I put on my gloves as it was pretty cold. I’ve not run with Harvey before and so it was fun to watch him. He ran about 100yards in front of us and looked as though he was having a great time exploring and generally doing what dogs do!

We ran as much as we could and kept a nice steady pace the whole way. We were both feeling good and enjoyed the section. On the last long hill we walked the second half of it and looked behind to see Ritchie catching. So we started running again – we though it would be good to make him work a bit harder!

The three of us ran into Kinghouse together and I was very pleased to see that I had run it just inside my 2hr schedule. Last year when we did this run I finished the 42 miles in 7hrs 34mins and was keen to see if I could manage 7hrs 30mins but knew it was a tough schedule with no room for error.

Thomas had now taken over support duties from Silke who was running with Caroline. Thomas said that had left about 20mins before so we were expecting to catch them somewhere on the next leg. We stopped for 5mins – just enought time to eat some beans, drink a smoothie and replenish my suppy of grapes for the next leg.

Kingshouse to Kinlochleven – 9.01miles in 1hr 42mins 18secs (average pace 11.22)
I set off first, soon followed by Neal and Harvey. Ritchie said he was going to buy some coke and we thought he would catch us later but we didn’t see him again until Fort William.

We chatted and ran the 3miles or so to the foot of the Devil’s stircase. We were both quite looking forward to the climb as it gives a legitimate reason for a walk! The highlight of this section was seeing Lucy C running towards us. Lucy was out on a training run from Bridge of Orchy and back. I videod her running by so watch out for that later! She is obviously running really well and it will be interesting to see how she gets on in the Fling in 4 weeks.

Half way up the Devil’s stircase we spotted Caroline and Silke in their matching pink tops. Neal encouraged Harvey to run up and see them which he did. Neal and I took a bit longer to catch them but we did not too far from the top.

The views were amazing all around with snow covering the mountians. Here is a picture of me at the top of the climb …

We set off running dwon to Kinlocheven. I had set a schedule of 1hr 40mins for this section but knew it was going to be a challenge! On the downhill it was very clear that Neal is a lot quicker than me running downhill. I tried to stay with him but he is a lot more confident on the terrain. So over the next 30mins or so Neal would open up a gap on the downhill and I would slowly catch him on the uphills.

We ran together for the last couple of miles as it wasn’t quite so steep and I could keep up. It was good to see Thomas waiting for us at Kinlochleven. We stopped for 5mins. I ate a youghet and milk shake and again replenished my supply of grapes. Thomas informed us that Ian and Phil were in the cafe having soup.

I asked Thomas for some water and he gave me sparkling water. Now Thomas was superb as our support but I’m afraid sparkling water was not what I was after! So I ditched that as soon as possible and used stream water.

Kinlochleven to Lundavra – 7.52miles in 1hr 28mins 40secs (average pace 11.48)
Neal, Harvey and I set off for the run to Lundavra. As we climbed up the hill out of Kilochleven we both knew that the 1hr 25mins schedule for this section was going to be very tough. I pushed ahead up the hill and Neal seemed to be struggling a bit. I had a feeling though that when the downhill came he would soon catch up.

It was good to get on to the Lairig Mor path and at least be able to run a bit again. I kept ahead of Neal for 15mins or so but every now and then Harvey came trotting up to see me so I knew Neal wasn’t far behind. I had to stop for a call of nature and sure enough Neal was back along side me.

Over the next 30mins or so I would say we both struggled. I know I did! It was a case of hanging in there and hope I’d feel better soon. The wind was quite strong against us at times which didn’t help either! Neal pushed ahead a few times and each time I slowly caught up again. All sorts of negative thoughts were going through my head so I tried various tactics to keep going. My favourite is just to count 100 breathes and then another 100 and eventually we arrived at the sheep pen with just over a 1mile to Lundavra.

Once again Neal pushed ahead on the downhill and I spent the rest of the run in trying to catch up which I did. I arrived just ahead of Neal and I thought Thomas wouldn’t know that I’d spent the last 15mins chasing him but Thomas had been taking some photos from the hill and knew the truth!

I was very pleased to see that we had done that section in 1hr 28mins. I am really glad we were running together and as I know I wouldn’t have run as quick on my own. We had a quick 3min stop and then were off for the last section to Fort William

Lundavra to Fort William – 6.95miles in 1hr 10mins 53secs (average pace 10.12)
Once again we had a similar pattern of my leading the uphill and Neal the downhill but we stayed closer together. Harvey was running just on front of us now but we trotting along as happy as ever. We both felt a lot better and the pace picked up when we could run.

We made our way through the forest and came out at the top of the main path down to Fort William. That whole section has changed a lot since last summer. Where before you climbed over a large stile and down a small path until you reached the wide track now the wide track starts a lot further up and there are a few sweeping bends.

As soon as we reached the track and the downhill Neal was away as I suspected he would. So I settled into my run and set myself the goal of running the whole way to the Leisure Centre. I thought if I could I might still get in around the 7hrs 30mins. It didn’t feel quite as manic as trying to beat 20hrs on the whw race but it was good practice!

I caught an odd glimpse of Neal and realised the only way I’d catch him was if he stopped to walk for a bit. I did run all the way down and then once through the car park and on to the road felt I had enough in the tank to be able to run all the way in as hoped. I thought about the last time I was running down this road in the whw 08race with my friend Donald encouraging me to keep going.

It was good to see the Leisure centre and finish in 7hrs 31mins. I was really pleased with my run. Thomas arrived with our bags a couple of minutes late and we were able to get a shower before the leisure centre closed.

When we came out Ian and Phil had arrived. We chatted with Marco and Debs before they left and then waited with Thomas for Caroline and Silke to arrive which they did looked very good after their excellent run. Just before we left Ritchie arrived.


So another great day on the whw and thanks to everyone, especially Neal and Caroline for the lift and run and Thomas and Silke for their support and lift back to Tyndrum.

Thomas and Silke took some great photos which they have put on Flikr.

Video clips of the day to come in a few days.

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One Response to whw run – report

  1. I give up. Who was last to arrive? :-) In my defense, I’ve got two kids to organise now :-)Well done on a great run. You could set your heart by you!

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