Saturday, 3 December 2011

Winter Ultra 2011 Race Report

It was an early start for this one having to be in Kinlochleven for 8.30am..
Weather forecast was shown that it was going to be wild, -3 at 900ft and winds gusting 70-80mph making it feel -21... Happy Days..... also running today were Ada Stewart, Susan Addison and Terry Addison from Kirky Olympians.

The route was on the West Highland Way from Kinlochleven heading south to Tyndrum
The start is very mind numbing with 5mile climb up the Devils Staircase and with 30 hardy ultra runners taken to the start line we were soon off...

As normal I took my place at the back of the pack and headed off up the hill, this is a slow climb 1hrs 5mins seen me through the CP at the top of Devils Staircase with a quick hello to the very very nice marshal I headed off downhill to the next CP at the roadside of the A82..

Feeling not to bad, I had worked hard in the climb and passed a few including Ada Stewart who was suffering with tight calfs and on the fast downhill I was surprised to pass Susan Addison but there was no sign of Terry he had legged it a left Susan to get on with it... but I know Susan is quick over the flatter ground I was keen to try and make good gap between us.. But my plan would come back to haunt me later on..

As I thought Susan came rolling by on the tarmac on the way to Kingshouse with the weather staying calm we all made good time and were soon heading out onto Rannoch Moor which sits at 1100ft and can have very harsh weather and today was one of these days wind was strong and sleet and snow showers would blow through with stunning views of the Blackmount...

Still feeling heavy legged from the Brecons Ultra 2weeks previous I was having a low point as I crossed Rannoch Moor and Adrian Stott who I passed on the climb of The Devil Staircase came rolling up and passed me halfway across the Moor and in the distance I could Susan still running well...

On coming off the Moor snow clouds were building above Bridge of Orchy and with that there was a hill to be climbed to take you over to Bridge of Orchy and just then the snow and wind picks up and the climb becomes very hard work with my legs chilling and my sense of humour failing I dug deep to top the hill and another quick descent was made in to Bridge of Orchy to the next CP were Dave Scott and Julie Clark were marshaling.

Been cold and wet I wasted no time and head off for the last 7mile to Tyndrum walking and eating my mash tattie sandwich all washed down with some coke..
On heading out on to the track above Bridge of Orchy Train Station I could see that Adrain and Susan had got a wiggle on and were now about 15/20min in front but I just kept putting one foot in front of another and caught up with a young guy Chris who was struggling with cramp as it was his first Ultra I stuck with him and encouraged him to run and walk with me to get him over the finish line and with 3mile to go he was starting to recover and was offering to do more running...

As we crested the top of the last climb we would run the last mile down hill and in to the finish just out sub 6hrs (6hr 10mins).

It was a tough old day weather wise but I stuck at it to finish my second ultra in as many weeks... Great way to end the year after all thats happened..

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