I was keen to do this long 60mile training run 4 weeks before the Hardmoors. I felt it would give me a lot of confidence if I could run at a sensible pace and feel good at the end. I’m not sure what it would have done to my confidence if it went badly but I tend to look on the positive side.
It was a bit of a rush as I was speaking at a church in Glasgow in the morning and didn’t finish until after 12.30pm. The day before Katrina suggested I met Neal & Caroline at Milngavie and so saving her the trip to drop the car off so that’s what we arranged. I arrived about 20mins late at 1.20pm.
Part 1 – Bridge of Orchy to Beinglas Farm with Caroline
Caroline was keen to do a longer run and I really benefitted from the company and steady pace. We ran together the whole way and the miles passed quickly as we chatted about all sorts of things. The weather was okay. It was pretty windy into Tyndrum and started raining about an hour out of Beinglas Farm but it was fairly warm. Neal met us at Tyndrum, Auchtertyre and crossing the A82 before Derrydaroch.
Harvey ran with us from Tyndrum and was a star. He trots along about 100 yards ahead and is no bother at all. A couple of times Caroline had to make sure he didn’t chase any sheep but he never really looked like doing so.
Caroline had a great run and was looking strong right to the end. We arrived at Beinglas in 4hrs 15mins. I had made the decision to not really worry about times because it all about trying to run at a steady pace and see how it felt.
Caroline & I at Beinglas – a bit wetter
Neal, Caroline & Harvey waved goodbye and I continued on my own to Rowardennan.
Part 2 – Beinglas to Rowardennan on my own
I set off from Beinglas Farm with my rucksack full of food and gear for the rest of the run just after 7pm. I reckon I would have a couple more hours of daylight and then be into the dark. One of the reasons I wanted to do this through the night was as a practise for the Hardmoors where I will have 8-9 hrs of darkness to deal with.
It started raining heavier but I was warm enough in just my short sleeved top. I passed a few walkers going the other way but then that was it until I met Marco 4hrs later.
I knew this next bit was going to be the hardest bit of the run. It’s hard enough in the light never mind in the pitch dark. I was moving well and ready for the challenge. Just after Doune Bothy I started looking for Murdo’s surprise package relating to Dario. I spent a few mins trying to find it unsuccessfully. I was going to give up but then thought I could ring Murdo and ask him where it is. So I did and I realised eventually I was looking in the wrong place.
The package is a book for people to write their thoughts. My hands were quite cold and I struggled to write much but I made the effort. On another day I’ll take the time to write something better. Great idea Murdo! I must have lost about 10mins or so but as I said time wasn’t the main priority today.
The next hour was without doubt the hardest of the whole run. The rain was right into my face, my headtorch was full of the rain which obscured my view. I battled on and eventually reached Inversnaid Hotel. I didn’t stop but pushed on to Rowardennan.
It was good to get onto the wide path and be able to run freely again. There are two long uphills which I walked but then a long downhill which I ran all the way down on. I thought I’d get to Rowardennan about 10.40pm but it was just after 10.50pm.
Marco, Debs and a sleeping Cairn were waiting for me. They had some milk for me and some gels and then we were off for the final part of the run.
Part 3 – Rowardennan to Milngavie with Marco
When I first thought of doing this I assumed I’d be on my own. I couldn’t expect anyone else to be mad enough to want to run through the night but I reckoned without Marco!! He was concerned that it wouldn’t be the safest thing to run that far on my own. And so volunteered to come with me.
Over the next 7hrs I was very grateful he did. He was the perfect running partner and made sure I was okay. He was concerned that he might run too fast and wanted me to set the pace but in the end Marco ran in front and I locked on and followed. When Marco sensed I was slowing down he eased off and let me catch up. It worked really well all the way.
When we could we ran side by side. We spent the majority of the run chatting and just like with Caroline the time and miles passed a lot quicker. Marco could tell when I was needing some food or a walking break – I went quiet! He made sure I was eating and kept the pace sensible.
The rain continued to pour and we were both soaked. I still just had my short sleeved top on and I could feel myself getting colder. So reached Balmaha and went into the entrance of the Gents for some food. I also changed out of my wet top, put a dry one on and my waterproof and immediately felt better.
We both knew that Conic Hill was going to be wet but neither of us quite expected it to be so wet up and down. We worked hard (well I did!) on the uphill and tried to run a bit on the downhill but it was so misty and the rocks so wet it wasn’t really possible. I had two falls. One a minor slip but the second a trip and a full length dive. Fortunately I landed on the grass and no harm done.
Once we got to the bottom and then over the field we started running and had a strong section all the way to Drymen.
We felt the bulk of the run was over but we still had 12miles to go. We ran a good part of it and eventually Milngavie arrived. Sunrise arrived and we had the last half hour or so in natural light.
At Milngavie Train Station at 6am after 15hrs of running for me and 7hrs for Marco
After getting changed in the car park Marco drove my car to his house and then I drove home arriving about 7.15am. After a shower and breakfast I was off to work feeling very tired!
I was really pleased with the run and I learnt a number of things about my pace, running in the dark and food. I’ll come back to that tomorrow.