Saturday 28th April 2012 saw the running of the 7th Highland Fling Race a 53mile trail race on the West Highland Way. This was my 4th Fling and the one that was going to signal my full recovery from last years heart attack which happened during last years race when I was airlifted from the course.
Anything under 13hrs25min would see me PB and slay the demons of last years... My plan was to target last years splits or even slow down and save a bit for the last 12 miles. Over the years I have learned to work myself in to races and always start at the back and pass the weak and daft as the day goes on.. and true to form this is what happened. I ran the start with my good friend Alan Crawford who was out to prove last years race was a blip which he duly did by taking 2hrs25min off his time.
As we set off through Mugdoch Park I was joined by Stewart Gibson a lad doing his first ultra, it always amazes me that people pick the Fling for their first journey into the dark side.. It turned out Stewart is the brother-in-law of a very good Ultra runner Bob Steel and also worked with a fellow Kirky Olympian and friend Neil McCover who was sadly killed 18months previously in a cycling accident.
Stewart and I ran with another lad Charles Gordon and for each of us we would catch and pass each other most of the way to Benglas and in true Fling style the weather was warm and sunny which played havoc with runners as the day went on. I reached Benglas in 9hrs40mins and was suprised to see my wife Gill and the kids along with my mum waiting for me. I took on some food and noticed Charles and Stewart sneaking out of Benglas without me.. but not to worry we still had 12miles to go.. Gill and the Kids weren't going to the finish but the rest of the Kirkie Krazies would be at the finish to welcome me home. I set off known that I could do the last 12mile under 3hrs.. I could see Charles and Stewart about 15mins in front and just kept putting one foot in front over the other.. I came across Robin Wombill who was looking to finish in good shape as he was in the full West Highland Way Race in 8 weeks time.. I chatted to Robin as we climb a short steep hill and then pushed on downhill section..
I had now passed under the A82 and was heading to cow pat ally.. am sure the farmer lets his cows crap all over the place for badness.. I had now reach the dreaded Glen Bogle Forest and the next 2miles of roller coaster hills.. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this bit as you are only 3mile from the finish when you come out of the forest at the A82.. On the drop down to the road I came across Alan Joyce also doing his first ultra and was all but done in... I gave him some coke to try and Gee him up a bit and get him to run with me but he wasn't having it. I pushed on over to Auchtertyre this is halfway mark in the WHW Race and checked my watch 12hrs.10mins I was happy with that.. I had passed about 12 other runners in the last 12miles and caught another 2 before crossing the finish in 12hrs.48mins and the monkey was off my back after all that I had went through the year previous..
Well done to the rest of the Kirky Krazies 6 started and 6 finished and just missed out on the Coors Cup for the Club with the most finishers.. Carnegie win with 7..