Beyond The Marathon

So better late than never I’ve found some time to catch up on events Since the Blackpool Marathon in April. Having achieved the time I was after to qualify from London Marathon 2013 my focus for the rest of 2013 is Ultra Marathons, and running more miles.

I’d run one 40 mile ultra marathon before in November 2011, it was flat and on good paths, and whilst I had a hard time from mile 25 onward was keen to try again and try to master a new discipline. First up was the Highland Fling a 53 mile race along the route of the the West Highland Way from Milngavine to Tyndrum. The WHW continues as far as Fort William, 93 miles in total, and the fling was originally started as a training event for those running the full thing!
I lived in Milngavie when I was young, and my uncle and family are still there, so it was great to base myself from their house whilst others scrambled for hotel rooms. After a good feed I sealed up my drop bags and tried to get some sleep
A 6am start saw a great atmosphere as around 500 runner leave Milngavine, The first section was nice and flat and it felt very easy getting to Drymen in 1:45. From here the route headed up conic hill, a mere pimple compared to the highlands, but a tough enough climb as the day warmed up. I found I was in the company of some lakeland 100 miler veterans and questioned if I should be going this quick, but felt good. A speedy runner dropped his gloves, so I went a bit quicker than planned and caught him on the descent to give them back before realising I’d hammered my legs a lot more than I should have done at this stage. After refueling at the first checkpoint in Balmaha it was a long trip up the east edge of Loch Lomond. I decided to throw in a walk for a mile here to let my system recover a bit, and lost several places to sensible paced types!
The legs were complaining along the loch side, and more walk sections (and hands on the rock clambering) were needed. By 40 miles it hurt lots to run, and hurt lots but in different places to walk. I was finishing this thing, but not in the fashion I’d hoped for! I’ll be back to Fling again a really well but together event, with great atmosphere. It might be a bit close after the London Marathon form me in 2014, but to be continued!
I finished middle of the pack, 254 out of 416 that made it to the finish inside the 15 hour cut off. The beer I was handed at the finish line is the best I’ve ever tasted 🙂
Split times:
12.6 miles Drymen 1:45:58
27.2 miles Rowardennan 04:51:38
40.9 miles Beinglas Farm 08:46:37
53 miles Tyndrum  12:18:06
With the marathon as a focus this Spring, I hadn’t run enough hilly offroad miles to be fully prepared for the fling, so lesson learnt! 2 days resting up and I got on with the week in the highlands. I finished off the West Highland way in 2 days, walking and dropped straight into the leisure centre at Fort William for a sauna and swim as a reward. The Full WHW race is definitely something I want to be able to complete one day. More training needed!
I also had a bit more time and energy to snap some photos.

 

 

 

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