Supporting Ryan at the Devil of the Highlands

Initially when I offered to support Ryan at the Devil of the Highlands he said he was okay as Becki was doing the honours but when Becki decided to run he asked if I was still willing. So Steve and I were supporting Ryan with Faye supporting Becki.

I drove up and arrived at the By The Way Hostel about 8.30pm. I pitched my tent then wandered over to the Green Welly and had a hot chocolate. I joined the crowd at the Tyndrum Inn for a while before heading to bed as I needed to be up by 4am to met Ryan and team at 5pm.

I was just drifting nicely off to sleep when the 3 guys in the tent next door arrived back at their tent at 12.20pm. They found something funny as they were laughing for ages. I don’t think they appreciated how noise travels and I felt for those who were running who would be trying to sleep.

Anyway up at 4am, ate some breakfast and headed over to the Green Welly for registration. Ryan, Becki, Steve and Faye arrived and we chatted over Ryan race plans. He was aiming for 6.48 which was achievable. Steve and I were keen to help him get there.

Becki and Ryan before the start

Once the race was under way Steve and I drove to Bridge of Orchy. It was good to see the line of runners on the other side of the road making their way in the rain.  The forescast was for rain most of the day and that’s the way it turned out.

We parked at the train station and watched the leaders coming through.  Ryan was aiming for 55mins and came past at 50mins so a good solid start. He was running comfortably and hadn’t gone off too quick which was sensible.

We drove round to The Forest Lodge and arrived just time for Ryan’s arrival. He ate some rice and erfilled his water. He was moving well and happy as he waorking his way through the field. 

Back in the car and a drive to Glencoe.  The weather was still wet and wild and we knew the Rannoch Mor would be a challenge.  We missed seeing the leading 2 runners but watched the rest coming through. They all seemed to be going well and looking positive.

Ryan soon arrived, stopped briefly for a rice and a quick chat. He was stiil fairly positive and happy that he was inside his splits.  We walked back up the car and drove to Altnadfeadh.  We parked easily and I chatted to Andrea Williams who was supporting her husband Rick. He was having a gerat run and moving well in 4th place.

When Ryan arrived as saw a different Ryan. He had had a tough section and seemed really disappointed with how things were going. He was still on target back not too happy. We tried to encouage him and hope he’d have a good section to Kinlochleven.

I always enjoy the drive through Glencoe and down to Kinlochleven.  We arrived in time to see Rick going through. Still moving well and a man on a mission. He hadn’t run on the route before but I knew the next section is fairly straight forward navigation wise.

We were getting concerned as runners were coming in who were behind Ryan so he had lost a few places. Once again he wasn’t too happy when he arrived but he was still on target and had a chance for his sub 7hr target.  In the time he stood and ate something 5-6 more runners went past which didn’t help his mood!

We drove round to Lundavra and waited for Ryan to come. Rick came through again on his way to a storming 4th place in 6hrs 22mins 54secs.  We cheered on the runners as they came through and soon enough Ryan came.

He had 1hrs 6mins to finish under 7hrs. A tough challenge but if he could finish strong it was possible.  We headed back to Fort William and waited at the Braveheart Car Park and encouraged the runners as they came down the hill with less than a mile to go.

Ryan appeared running with David Ward …

Back in the car and a quick drive to the finish to them arrive together. Ryan finished 17th in 7hrs 07mins 01secs.  A good effort in the conditions. Sadly Becki had to pull out as she was feeling sick and dizzy but she’ll be back!

I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and watching others finish including Silke who finished in 9hrs 40mins 00secs …

Back at the prize giving it was good to see Caroline McKay getting the trophy for winning the Ladies Race. Also a great debut ultra from Gayle Tait and a well deserved 3rd place from Kilbarchan AAC runner Noanie Heffron …

Noanie, Caroiline and Gayle

I got a lift back to Tyndrum with John, Lorna and Noanie and enjoyed a fish supper at the Real Food Cafe.  In my tent by 11pm as I was planning to get up at 7am to tackle the 5 Munros above Bridge of Orhcy. I was going to go on my own but Paul Brown sent me an email asking whether I wanted some company.

I’ll write a report of that trip tomorrow. 

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2 Responses to Supporting Ryan at the Devil of the Highlands

  1. Gayle Tait says:

    Great to meet you on Saturday John. Look forward to seeing you in the Lake District in September! Gayle x

  2. Enjoyed your post. It was good to spend some time chatting and I appreciated your help and encouragement. See you again sometime.

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