Sunday, 8 July 2012

West Highland Way Race 2012

This was my second attempt at the West Highland Way Race having DNF in 2010 at Kinlochleven. I learned a lot from that year but was unable to take part in 2011 due to my heart attack during the Fling that year. I took to the start line this year with great sadness and a heavy heart that my dad passed away on the Wednesday before the race after a short battle with cancer. My dad always said I took my good looks from him and the madness from my mother.. Having spoke to my wife it was agreed that I should continue with my plans to run the race. Treen and Mike Adams were doing my support and with help from the rest of the Kirky Krazies we would attempt to get to Fort William. We gathered at Milngavie at around 9.30pm and registered as I had hired a camper van I took the chance to get a bit of a sleep before the race starting at 1am. The next time I would see Mike would be at Balmaha.. Looking at my 2010 splits I decided to stick with them.. and all was well.. The weather had taking a real turn for the worst with heavy rain... and on reaching Conic Hill there was a river running doing to meet us,no way to keep my feet dry now. I meet Mike and change my top and had my Mullar Rice and the set off for Rowardennan with no let up in the rain it was going to be a long hard struggle to Auchtertyre were dry clothes would be waiting. Making a school boy error I toyed with putting on my running tights as the dreaded midges were now out and about.. I ran with John Duncan on and off between Balmaha and Auchtertyre which had me worried as there were a few runners around that I thought would be further up the course.. I never took much time at Inversnaid or Beinglas and pushed on to Auchtertyre. The run down throw Glen Bogle played hell with my quads and IT Bands as I had allowed my legs to chill in the rain and chilly wind that was blown this was to hunt me all the way to Fort William.
The trip from Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy and on to Glencoe was slow and steady. I arrived at Auchtertyre in just over 13hrs cold,wet and in need of some dry clothes and some good food.. I checked in and headed to to meet the Kirky Krazies support team in the "Love Bus" and my drop bag was all ready for me.. Chaffing had become an issue and my ass cheeks were not happy.. with dry clothes, good food I set off for Bridge of Orchy. With a steady climb out of Tyndrum I was moving better now I climbed down under the railway bridge and enjoy the long run down to Auch and the 3mile to Bridge of Orchy was a run/walk.. about a mile out of Bridge of Orchy I came across Colin Know who also seemed to be struggle a bit. We plodded in to Bridge of Orchy together just after Ada Stewart who had caught us up. Treen and Mike were ready for us Ada had been joined by Susan Addison for the trip across Rannoch Moor.. I sat and had some more food and put on my running tight which help warm my legs my I.T Band were still aching from the wet and chilly weather from the night previous. When ready Mike and I set off for Glencoe.
Treen and Mike were doing a great job on keeping me going and on reaching Glencoe Treen had my beans and sausages all ready. I quickly ate them and told them to go and have a coffee at the day centre as I took my first power nap before heading over the Devils stair case.. It was going to be fun heading over here again in the dark as I did the same in 2010.. After my small nap we put on some warm clothes and set off for Kinlochleven.. once again it was a run/walk over to the bottom of the devil and the 40min slow climb up the devil began. It was dry and not to cold and the trip across and down to Kinlochleven passed off without any real event.. I would say that I did see many bouquet of flowers on the way over but Mike pointed out it was on only black and white rocks that I was seen...mmm MIKE ADAMS what do you have on your head.
On reaching Kinlochleven around 2am the sleep monster was starting to kick in and I told Mike I was going to take another power nap.. Having been in this position in 2010 I know what to expect if I went for a sleep at this time... We had 10hrs to do 13miles loads of time.. I told Mike to wake me at 3.30am and would set off for 4am at the latest. The climb out of Kinlochleven was made all the more easier with daylight already up.. but it was sure as hell is a long hard drag up on to Larig and on to Lundavra 6mile to go.. I still had some running in my legs but nothing of any great distance, run/walk, walk even slower and run some more. On reaching the top of the Glen with 3mile down to the finish it was now even harder to run down hill and Mike and just walked down to the Braveheart Car Park by this time if I heard its just round the next corner once more am sure Mike and I would have come to blows.
Striking for home I begin running from the car park and left Mike and Treen to have a romantic walk in to Fort William and I pressed on to the finish. I crossed the line in 32hrs.13mins not the time I was hoping for but after all the rain in first half of the race to Auchtertyre I was just happy to finish and in not to bad a shape. Having finished the race I was very emotional at having lost my dad 3days before the race, this was to be further compound with the news from my wife that my mother-in-law had passed away on the Saturday afternoon after also battling cancer for 22years. Two amazing people who deserved longer in this world. My goblet is dedicated to their memories. I would like to thank everyone connected to the WHW Race for doing a great job and as usual the crazy runners who take part in these mad races it always a joy to catch up along the way and not to forget the Kirky Krazies, Ada Stewart, Terry Addison, Susan Addison, Alice Mills, Alan Crawford and all the others who help support us on our grand day and bit out.

1 comment:

  1. You did great Bill! Congratulations on your goblet and on dedicating it to your loved ones! Silke