Guess My Time – Ochil Ultra

My next ultra will be my 50th ultra since I started ultra running in 2007. It feels a significant milestone!

The Ochil ultra is 50 miles from Stirling to Perth and starts at 7am on Saturday 28th September 2019.

I feel I’m slowly getting back to some sort of fitness and have had a four week build up gradually increasing my longest run finishing with a 25 mile run on the race route.

Once again my good friends at http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com have offered a prize for the closest guess. This time it is a ULTIMATE DIRECTION BODY BOTTLE 500 S STRAW BOTTLE 500ML/17OZ worth £18.95

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Plus a limited edition ‘Guess My Time’ keyring …

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To take part and have a chance to win these prizes all you have to do is send me your guess in hours, minutes and seconds of how long you think it will take me to complete the 50 miles.

As before there is only one guess per time so if your time is taken I’ll ask you to guess again.

To give you an idea here are my goals for the race. I ran the second 25 miles in 5hrs 15 mins on my recent recce so if I have double that and added 30mins my goal will be sub 11hrs

  • Bronze – sub 12hrs
  • Silver – sub 11hrs 30mins
  • Gold – sub 11hrs

If you want to take part please send your guess by 4pm on Thursday 26th  September 2019 by:-

  • leave a comment on this post
  • on my Facebook page
  • Twitter: @jkynaston
  • Text: 07905 218162
  • Instagram: jkynaston
  • Email: jkynaston00@hotmail.com
  • in person
  • any other imaginative method
Posted in Guess My Time, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ochil Ultra Training Week 4

Week four of my training plan went okay …. I still feel I’m struggling with my running. I keep hoping that everything will click back into place and I’ll feel as though I’m running strongly but it is still to happen!

Monday 9th September – Club Fartlek Session

  • 8.62 miles
  • 1:15:51

This week was our hill reps. We run over to Craighill Road and each up hill is 0.30 mile. We run up as hard as we can and then run down as a recovery. We do this session quite regularly so it is good to compare were you are at.

The last time I did it in April each uphill took me between 2:02 and 2:08. Here are my stats for this run.

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 10.07.42

So I was about 15 secs slower per run which feels about right. I was pleased though that I was able to maintain the pace right through the session.

Wednesday 11th September – Lunchtime off-road run

  • 6.47 miles
  • 1:04:08
  • 9:54 pace

I ran my normal lunchtime route around Pollok Park. It was very muddy and slippy underfoot and even though I was about the same pace as last week I did feel a little stronger.

Thursday 12th September – Hill run on Kilpatricks

  • 8.80 miles
  • 2:09:08
  • 1,827 ft of ascent
  • 14:40 pace

I have been driving over to Drymen after work and running Conic twice with an out and back but I needed to get home sooner so decided to drive to he car park at the bottom of the Kilpatricks and run from there.

So I started on the same route as Saturday’s route but basically just did an out and back. It was good to bump into Marina who was out for a run.

Screenshot 2019-09-14 at 10.15.16

I came back a slightly different route as I followed Marco’s trace which was a better route as it avoided a lot of boggy ground.

I had to walk a fair bit of the uphills but overall I was happy with the run and the advantage of running here rather than Conic is I was home 25 mins after finishing rather than 50mins.

Friday 13th September – Road run after work

  • 5.25 miles
  • 46:26
  • 8:50 pace

I don’t normally run on a Friday but this weekend I’m doing my long run on Sunday so I thought I would have my easy run on Friday, rest on Saturday before my 25 miler on the Ochil route with good friends Neal Gibson and Richie Cunningham.

I spent the run listening to Test Match Special of the 5th Ashes Test hoping that England would finally get Steve Smith out. During the run we got Marsh out and then not long after Steve Smith fell to Woakes.

Sunday 15th September – Ochil Recce Run

  • 25.27 miles
  • 5:23:52
  • Ascent – 2611ft
  • 12:49 pace

I’ve been looking forward to having a run on the Ochil course and it didn’t disappoint. To make it even better I was joined by good friends Neal Gibson (who is also doing the 50) and Richie Cunningham (who is doing the 30).

We met at 8.45am and set off to run the final 25 miles of the course. Richie was stopping at Bridge of Earn as living in Perth he knows the final 10 miles well and didn’t want to run more than 15 miles.

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Our route

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Profile 

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Getting ready to start

I really enjoyed the route and it was as I expected, lots of rolling hills on a mixture of paths.

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We passed this fancy holiday Cottage complete with wood burning jacuzzi

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The route goes past a windfarm

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Neal at the finish line

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Very happy with my day out on the course

It was an encouraging run and with two weeks to go before the race I feel ready!

Summary of the week

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Ochil Ultra Training Week 3

Week 3 of my training block for the Ochils Ultra went okay. I still feel as though my running is  harder work than I would like it to be but I do feel I’m getting stronger and faster but maybe not as quickly as I’d like!

Monday 2nd September – Club Fartlek Session

  • 8.38 miles
  • 1:14:15
  • Session
    • 10 x 3mins (90sec recovery)

There were 9 of us braving the weather. We arrived in pouring rain but by the time we set off for the session the rain had stopped and even though it was still windy it was dry.

I was keen to try and run all 10 sets at a similar pace and I was happy that I did so.

Screenshot 2019-09-06 at 16.40.48

Tuesday 3rd September – Easy road run

  • 2.93 miles
  • 28:45
  • 9:48 pace

I hadn’t planned to run today but friends Eric & Jesse from USA were staying for the night before their West Highland Way adventure. I met Eric when he was part of Cammie’s team for his successful Bob Graham round.

Eric and Jesse were keen to have a short run after their long flight from USA so I was happy to join them.

Wednesday 4th September – Pollok Park off road run

  • 6.43 miles
  • 1:02:56
  • 9:47 pace

It was a very wet and muddy run but that’s what showers are for! I even took my shoes in the shower to clean the mud off!!

Thursday 5th September – Conic Hill Run

  • 10.16 miles
  • 2:10:38
  • 12:50 pace

I was looking forward to this run and maybe set off a little too hard as I wasn’t able to run as much of the ascent up Conic Hill as last week.

Here are my stats from the last two runs

Screenshot 2019-09-06 at 16.50.47

I was hoping to run faster than last week but I didn’t! Maybe next week.

Saturday 7th September – Kilpatricks

  • 18.68 miles
  • 4:43:22
  • 15:05 pace

I’ve not been up on the Kilpatricks for a while so as I wanted to do an 18 mile run I decided to head over. It was a glorious morning and I really enjoyed it.

I was struggling a bit though for the first hour or so especially as I went round anti-clockwise which means that the boggier ground is at the start.

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Here are some photos from the run.

Kil01

Ben Lomond in the distance

Kil02

kil07

As I made my way round I met good friend Marco Consani who was out for a run with Dave Begbie.  We stopped at chatted for a while. I noticed that they both paused their watches while I let mine run!

kil05

KIL04

The run took me longer that I had hoped but I have to accept that is where I am at the moment! I keep hoping that I will be able to run faster but maybe I won’t!

Sunday 8th September – Road run with Katrina

  • 5.29 miles
  • 46:01
  • 8:41 pace

It was good to have a run with Katrina before church this morning. To be honest I was hanging on to Katrina at the moment. Katrina is training for the Loch Ness Marathon and is running well. It was good to have some company and it certainly helped me.

Summary of the week

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Ochil Ultra Training Week 2

Week two of my training plan for the Ochil Ultra has gone well. After weeks of feeling sluggish when I ran I felt I turned a corner this week and had a bit more of a spring to my step. I still feel there is some way to go but I’m moving in the right direction.

There have been times in the last few weeks when I wondered whether I would get back to where I was before the Dragon’s Back so I had to trust the process of recovery and training and hope it would come back and I feel more confident that it will!

Monday 26th August  – Club Fartlek Session

  • 8.32 miles
  • 1:12:09
  • Session –
    • 1min (30sec recovery)
    • 3 x [3mins (90sec), 6min (2min)
    • 1min

There were a good group of us and I had people to chase and those chasing me which always keeps me honest in my effort!

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I was really pleased that for each of the 3min and 6min efforts I ran a little further each time and felt strong.

Wednesday 28th August – Lunchtime Run around Pollok Park

  • 6.42 miles
  • 1:05:56
  • 10.16 pace

I tried to run steady all the way round but needed a couple of walking breaks up the hills! It wasn’t one of my best runs by any means but I was happy to keep moving and get it done.

Thursday 29th August – Conic Hill Run

  • 10.16 miles
  • 2:07:23
  • 12:32 pace

I drove over to Drymen after work and parked in the forest at Garadhban Forest. I set off without a lot of enthusiasm as I was feeling a bit sluggish still. So I decided to run as much as I could no matter the pace.

I ran most of the way to the bridge at the bottom of the Conic Hill and then ran about half way up before walking the last section. It was very windy on the top. A steady run down passing a few people walking.

I turned round just after 5 miles and almost bang on 1hr. I ran the first section to the steps and then walked to the top. This time the wind was behind me so that was good at least.

I ran steadily down to the bridge and then decided to try and run as much of the final 3 miles. After a mile or so I felt things clicking into place and I was running with a bit more of spring to my step.

Saturday 31st August – Gleniffer Braes

  • 15.30 miles
  • 2:57:03
  • 11:33 pace

My friend joined me for this run which was great as we hadn’t run together since his successful Bob Graham round in June. Cammie needed to be finished by 9.45am so we set off at 7.15am and I ran the final half an hour or so around Brodie Park once Cammie was away.

Screenshot 2019-09-01 at 15.07.05

We started in the rain and I think it rained for the majority of our run! It was great to run with Cammie and we chatted all the way round. Having company certainly makes the miles and time pass quickly.

Once Cammie headed to his car I had another 2 and half miles to do to reach my planned 15 miles and they were the toughest miles of the run.

Sunday 1st September – Easy road run

  • 5.30 miles
  • 48:25
  • 9:08 pace

An easy run to finish off my week. Started a bit sluggish but felt better by the end of the run.

Summary of the week

Screenshot 2019-09-01 at 15.15.05

 

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Summary of August 2019

August started with the Devil o’ the Highlands ultra and then after a week of easy running I have had two weeks of a training block for my next ultra which is on Saturday 28th September – Ochil 50 miles.  In August I ran 162.39 miles

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Finally I’m still ahead of my aim of running at least 2019 miles in 2019

Screenshot 2019-09-01 at 14.00.13

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Ochil Ultra Training Week 1

My next ultra is just over a month away so I have given myself a 6 week plan to prepare for the race.

The Dragon’s Back race is now over 3 months ago and I do feel it has taken me most of that time to recover. Looking back I think the Devil o’ the Highlands probably came a few weeks too early. I enjoyed the race even despite the heat but don’t feel I was able to run my best.

I’m hoping that by the time I get to the start line for the Ochils Ultra (50miles) I will be in better shape and ready to run well.

Here is my training plan …

Screenshot 2019-08-27 at 19.08.52

Last week was week 1 so here is my summary

Monday 19th August – Club Fartlek Session

    • 8.21 miles
    • Session:
      • 10min (2min recovery)
      • 10 x 1min (30sec recovery)
      • 10mins

This was my first fartlek session since before the Dragon’s Back in May so I was keen to take it steady.

Here are my stats for the session

Screenshot 2019-08-27 at 19.10.48

I was encouraged that I was able to run further on the 2nd 10min tempo run.  It was good to be back as I know these sessions are the ones that will help me get some fitness back.

Wednesday 21st August – Lunchtime Run

  • 6.45 miles
  • 1:02:05
  • 9:37 pace

I ran my off road Pollok Park loop. It was still quite muddy in places and my legs felt a bit heavy but happy with my run.

Thursday 22nd August – Ben Lomond Run

  • 7.62 miles
  • 2:37:10
  • 20:38 pace

My first Ben Lomond run since May. When I started running at 3.55pm after work it was quite warm at Rowardennan but the further I climbed the colder and windier it became. The last 1,000ft was tough going. There were times when I had to crawl with hands on the ground to stop being blown over as the wind was so strong.

It took me almost 1:30 to get to the top compared to around 1:15 when I’m going well in better conditions. The descent was even slower than normal taking me 1:07 compared to around 50mins on a good day!

So a tough run but it gave me an idea of where my fitness is at the moment!

Saturday 24th August – Gleniffer Braes Run

  • 15.07 miles
  • 2:52:01
  • 11:24 pace

Last Friday night I did my 12 mile loop and it was really hard going. This week I ran further and faster so that was encouraging. I spent the whole run listening to a new (to me) podcast called ‘Don’t tell me the score.’  The 3 episodes I listened too were excellent and helped pass the time.

Sunday 25th August – Recovery Run

  • 5.29 miles
  • 47:28
  • 8:58 pace

I wanted to do an easy recovery run before church. I could feel my legs a bit after the day before so I tried to keep it nice and easy and enjoy the run.

Summary of the week

Screenshot 2019-08-27 at 19.14.56

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Devil o’ the Highlands Race Report

Saturday 3rd August 2019

The first half of 2019 was all about the Dragon’s Back in May. Once that was done and dusted then I decided to enter three races in Scotland so I wasn’t travelling quite so far. I must admit I also was keen to see if I could finish in a podium place in the MV60 category that I recently moved into!!

The Dragon’s Back was 10 weeks ago and I feel I’m still not fully recovered. I ran 3 times a week for the first 6 weeks and then added another run or two after that but they have all been slow and steady. The thing that did concern me though was I have had a painful chest on a number of the runs. It was so sore that often I would have to walk for a bit until it eased off.

With the race coming up I went to see my doctor who checked me over and said my heart and lungs were all good. He recommended I continue to run but be sensible and if it is sore then don’t push through it. If it continues then I’m to go back and he will investigate further.

I didn’t tell him I was planning to run 42 miles on Saturday but I had decided myself to start really easy and see how I felt and if it was at all sore I would stop. It did mean that my chances of a MV60 podium place were a lot less but there will be other races to go for it!

I drove up to Tyndrum in our van on Friday night. It was good to be able to register on Friday night rather than very early on Saturday morning. I had a really good chat with Mark and Geraldine Hamilton. They were around the ultra races when I first got involved in 2007 so it was fun to chat about the old days!!

It was also good to have a chat with Graeme & Rhona McKinnon who were on the volunteer team for the race. Rhona had been on a Yoga retreat in Thailand so it was really interesting to hear about her trip.

I slept well in the van. Up at 4.30am for some porridge and tea and headed to the start at 5.15am. Even at that time it was clear it was going to be a warm day. It was great to chat to a few friends who were either running or marshalling. There were 411 runners so the Green Welly car park was a busy place.

Screenshot 2019-08-06 at 17.47.52

Photo thanks to Graeme Hewitson

Start - John

Ready to go

Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy (6.83 miles)

I deliberately started further back in the field as I wanted to start very easy. At the stroke of 6am John gave a countdown and we were off. It took me a couple of minutes to reach the start arch but looking at the results we all had our individual chip time so that was good.

I walked the majority of the first hill with the odd slow run to see how I felt. I could feel a slight pain in my chest so I eased off a bit more but then after the first 10mins or so I never had any issues with my chest at all so hopefully, whatever it was, it is behind me now but I will be keeping an eye on it.

Once over the railway bridge I could see a long line of runners ahead of me. I ran walked until we reached the stile. There was a slight wait to go over and then a single line all the way to the tunnel under the railway. I was quite happy to move at this easy pace.

We all had a wait a bit longer to go under the tunnel and then over the stile but once we were on the wider track there was plenty of room to run at the pace you wanted. I slowly made my way past a few runners on the run down to the bridge.

I like to have my mini-splits and over the years of running on the West Highland Way I have them all worked out for the whole route. I was working on a sub 9hr plan but I wasn’t going to be too bothered if I didn’t make it. My first mini-split was the bridge and I had 32mins for the 3.26 miles. I looked at my watch and it had taken 41:58 so I had kept to my easy start!

I caught up with Lois and we ran together for a bit chatting about the Dragon’s Back. Lois was on the support team for the event and gave me lots of encouragement so it was good to chat about the race again. I don’t need much prompting as I love to chat about the race!

As I was climbing up the hill to the railway bridge Devon Scott caught me and we ran together. Devon said that she had run with Katrina last year and enjoyed her company. Devon thanked me for the whwrace podcasts and explained that she is now working her way back through them all! I have done 154 episodes over the past 5 years and she is now on episode 30!

Devon and I ended up running all the way to Glencoe together chatting the whole time. It certainly helped the time pass quicker.

I was feeling pretty good by now and happy with the pace. We were slowly catching and going past runners as we made our way to the first checkpoint at Bridge of Orchy. We both found it hot by now and I was sweating far more than I would at that pace.

I realised that I would need to keep drinking regularly to stay hydrated. I also ate one of my peanut butter and jam fruit bread pieces but with the hot weather I felt my main calorie intake would be through drinking.

As we approached Bridge of Orchy checkpoint there were a few volunteers including Graeme & Rhona helping the runners to cross the road safely. I had a wait a short while before it was safe to run across. All the volunteers throughout the day were superb and John Duncan has a great team who help make the race a pleasure to run in.

Good friends Thomas & Silke were on the bridge as I passed so I stopped for a quick chat. They were heading to Kinlochleven to be part of the team there so I would see them again.

Graeme Hewitson was taking photos so thanks to him for these photos ….

Bridge of Orchy - GH

Bridge of Orchy 3 - GH

  • Overall: 6.83 miles in 1:16:08 (302nd place)

Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe (10.47 miles)

I didn’t stop at the checkpoint as I had enough drink for the next section. I was using Tailwind for the whole race. Just after the checkpoint Kirsten Cowling was checking that every runner had a mobile phone and space blanket.

I caught up with Devon and we ran together all the way to Glencoe together. Just after Jelly Baby Hill Muriel Downie was there taking photos so thanks for this one.

Jelly Hill Muriel

I did ask how her husband Tim was doing. Tim is one of my ‘rivals’ in the MV60 category. Muriel said he was going well but didn’t give much away!! I assumed both Tim and Donald Sandeman were ahead but you never quite know.

Devon & I were passing runners quite regularly over the leg to Glencoe and I can’t remember too many going past us. I see from the splits that I worked out that we passed almost 50 runners between Bridge of Orchy and Glencoe.

One of things I like about running with someone that you haven’t met before is the opportunity to share all my favourite running stories knowing I haven’t told them before so I’m afraid Devon got to hear most of them!

I also enjoy the fact that you end up chatting about all sorts of things so I learnt all about Devon’s job as a researcher for cancel drugs. I hardly looked at my watch as we chatted and made our way to Glencoe.

I had already tripped a few times but managed to stop myself from actually falling but on the Rannoch Mor I tripped and fell. It wasn’t too bad a fall and I wasn’t hurt. Devon was great offering wet wipes to clean me up! Thanks. It did show me though that I’m not quite back to running smoothly. I was obviously not lifting my feet high enough.

On my mini-splits for this leg I had 45mins, 50mins and 45mins (2hrs 20mins) for my 3 sections and I ran them in 35:35, 48:43 and 43:35 so I was 12 mins faster than my sub 9hr plan but I didn’t actually look at these until after the race so didn’t know it at the time!

Rhona was taking photos just before the checkpoint. I did say to Devon that running with her would be good for my street cred!

I didn’t stop too long in the checkpoint. In the 2mins I drank my youghat drink, refilled my Tailwind, drank some Coke and was off again.

  • Leg: 10.47 miles in 2:09:51 (225th fastest)
  • Overall: 17.30 miles in 3:25:59 (256th place)

 Glencoe to Kinlochleven (10.33 miles)

Neil MacNicol who finished 2nd in last weekend’s Lakeland 100 was there and took this great photo as I left the checkpoint. I’m not sure where Devon was. I assumed she was still in the checkpoint as her boyfriend was meeting her.

Glencoe - Neil MacN

It was really hot now so I put on my visor so I could shield the sun from my eyes a bit and try stay a bit cooler. I was keen to try and not overheat so for the next couple of miles down to Kingshouse and along the road to the gate I used my run for 100 breathes walk for 20 breathes technique which I think helps to regulate the effort.

I could see more runners ahead as we climbed up the hill on the way to Altnfaedh. I slowly caught up with a quite a few of them and felt I was moving okay. Just after I’d gone past a couple of runners I tripped again and fell really heavily on my left hip.

I got up with a bit of difficulty and checked I was okay.  The runners behind were great and made sure I was alright. I encouraged them to push on as I was going to walk for a bit until my hip eased off. It took a few minutes of walking before I felt okay enough to start running again. I was a bit shaken by it and I was determined to try and avoid falling again!

Despite the fall I arrived at Altnfaedh in 50:49 against my 50min plan. Again I’ve only checked this after the race. I wasn’t really looking at my splits as it was all about trying to manage my effort in the heat.

I got my head down and made my way up the Devil’s Staircase. I felt I was moving quite slowly but I was still catching and overtaking others. According to my splits I went past another 53 runners on the section to Kinlochleven.

There were a couple of times on the climb when there was just a slight breath of air and it felt so good but sadly didn’t last too long. I was hoping it might be cooler on the top …. It wasn’t!

I was looking forward to seeing Fiona Rennie and Pauline Walker at the top. They normally base themselves there and cheer on all the runners as they pass. Graeme Hewitson was there as well and took these photos. …

Devil staircase 1

Devil Staircase 2 - GH

I set off down the hill and was looking forward to using the streams we would pass to cool down a bit. At each and every stream from now on until the end I put my visor in the stream and tried to get as much water on my head as possible. I find if I can keep my head a bit cooler then it helps to regulate how hot I feel.

On one of my water cooling stops Lorna MacLean went past running well. I see from the results she finished 22 mins ahead of me so obviously paced it well!

On my next water cooling stop Devon caught up with again so we ran into Kinlochleven together. It was fun to catch up again and continue our varied conversations! We were both finding the heat hard going as were the vast majority of the field.

I thought back to my first ultra of the year, Hardmoors 55, when I spend the whole race running into a 40mph wind and driving rain. That was tough and this was at the other end of the scale but just as tough!

I stopped half a mile before the checkpoint to have a wee. As I approached the checkpoint I did have a look at my splits and saw that my watch said 5:50 against my sub 9hr plan of 5:36 so from then on I thought sub 10 was going to be the goal. But the priority was to finish as best as I could!

Thomas & Silke were working hard at the checkpoint and Thomas handed me my drop bag. Thomas finished 2nd in 2011 in a superb time of 5:35:59. Sadly he has been plagues by injuries over the last number of years. It must be hard to watch others run a race he loves but can’t at the moment do. I did feel for him.

Our friend Yvonne Prager helped me with my drop bag. I drank the youghat and then asked Yvonne to refill it with coke which along with my Tailwind would be my main fuel for the next section to Lundavra. Thanks for your help Yvonne.

  • Leg: 10.33 miles in 2:26:58 (157th fastest)
  • Overall: 27.63 miles in 5:52:57 (203rd place)

Kinlochleven to Lundavra (7.74 miles)

Again I didn’t spend too long in the checkpoint. I set off down the road with a couple of ladies. One of them said we have a mutual friend in Renita Boyle so we chatted about how we both knew her. They were moving well and pushed on up the hill.

There were 3 guys just ahead of me who disappeared into the woods once the climb started. Another couple of guys went past me too. I was struggling on the climb. I could feel my hip where I fell but I found the heat hard to deal with on the climb. I decided to just keep moving and do the best I could on the climb and see how I felt when I got into the Lairig Mor.

Eventually the top arrived and I was able to start running again. I ran as much as I could and walked when I had to on the climbs. I could see lots of runners ahead and over the next hour or so I caught and passed a good number of them. I wasn’t particularly aiming to catch them but I must have been moving stronger at that time.

I see from the results that I passed 42 runners between Kinlochleven and Lundavra. I would imagine some of them where at the checkpoint. Looking at the results I must have overtaken Tim Downie at the Kinlochleven checkpoint as he arrived before me but I arrived at Lundavra before him but never saw him on the route.

I was pleased with how well I was covering the ground. It is always more encouraging to go past people rather than be passed and I think this helps keep your pace up.

I paused at every stream to cool down and soak my visor. It would help for a few minutes but it didn’t take long before I was hot again!

There were quite a few walkers on this section who must have been finishing off their West Highland Way walk. Some of them had very big rucksacks!

I arrived at Lundavra checkpoint in just under 8hrs just behind two ladies who I had seen way in the distance on the Lairig Mor. I refilled my water and coke, poured some water over my head and was off for the final leg to Fort William.

Thanks to Ross Beveridge for the photo …

Lundavra - Ross Beveridge

  • Leg: 7.74 miles in 2:05:14 (107th fastest)
  • Overall: 35.37 miles in 7:58:11 (161st place)

Lundavra to Fort William (7.13 miles)

I set off knowing I had just over 7 miles to go. I was feeling okay and so decided to continue my pattern of running as much as I could and walking the uphills.

There were a couple of brief puffs of wind which were welcome but mostly it was like running in an oven!! I was taking 3 sips of my Tailwind and 1 of coke very 5-10mins and soaking my visor in any bit of water I could find which wasn’t as much as on the Lairig Mor.

I was ready to finish but wanted to get there as best as I could and as strongly as I could. I wondered where Donald and Tim were. I assumed that both were still ahead of me. The other MV60 runner who I thought would be on the podium was Bill Maxwell but I had seen him walking from Kingshouse back to Glencoe so assume he had an injury. But to be fair I didn’t feel I deserved a podium place as I hadn’t run particularly well on the day.

Last year when Katrina ran this race I ran out from the finish and ran the last 5 miles with her. I passed the place where I joined her and wondered where I might see her as she planned to come out. It didn’t take long to find out as I heard her and then saw her at the top of the fireroad.

It was great to see her and we ran together to the end. The extra checkpoint manned by Morven and her friends was so welcome. I had some watermelon and took some ginger bear to fuel me for the final few miles.

Katrina said that she had seen Donald and reckoned he was about an hour ahead so I was pleased for him. She hadn’t seen Tim though so I assumed he was behind. It seems he had a tough time over the Lairig Mor in the heat.

I ran fairly strongly down the hill but once I reached the level ground I reverted to my run for 100 walk for 20 pattern. Katrina was moving well so I tried to hang on to her!

At the Braveheart car park Kris Delacour was there encouraging runners and making sure they didn’t miss the turn off. The two previous times I have run the Devils it has finished at the roundabout so it was good to see what the new route felt like. I had ran it a few times with Katrina over the last two years so I knew what to expect.

I could hear cheering which I thought was the finish but was actually a Football game in Fort William. You get a great view from the top but by then I was more interested in seeing the finish! With less than half a mile to go you get a glimpse of the finish which means you can give as much as you have left. I asked Katrina could she run ahead so she could get a video of the finish.

I high-fived as many children and adults as I could on the way to the finish line. As it was such a glorious day there were loads of runners and supporters enjoying the sun and cheering home the runners. It made for a superb atmosphere.

Finish 1

Finish 2

I finished 152nd in 9:38:17. I finished 3rd in the MV60 category behind Robin Livingstone (8:29:05) and Donald Sandeman (8:36:42). I missed out on the podium as Graham Arthur (71) finished in 8:56:56 claiming 3rd MV60 and 1st MV70. So congratulations to them all.

Finish Muriel

Photo thanks to Muriel Downie

Kirsten gave me a hug at the finish and after being presented with my medal I had the best cup of ice water ever!!

Finish - John

  • Leg: 7.13 miles in 1:40:06 (114th fastest)
  • Overall: 42.50 miles in 9:38:17 (152nd place)

After a welcome shower I headed over to the massage tent where our good friend Lesley McKerral gave me a superb massage. It was great to catch up as she worked her magic on my legs. I felt generally okay but my hip was staring to hurt from the fall.  After a while we walked over to McDonald’s for an ice cream and sprite before heading home.

I really enjoyed the race and felt I did the best I could given my on-going recovery from the Dragon’s Back and just how hot it was. Did I mention the heat??

Big thanks to John Duncan and every member of his excellent team. I will be back next year to help again.

Posted in Devil O' The Highlands Race Report, Uncategorized | 3 Comments