Last night i prepared my kit and drop bags for the early start today, i went to bed at 10pm but found it difficult to sleep, my head was full of the things you get when you have never raced at this distance, what pace to run, what to eat, could i complete the distance, whats the conditions like,( very warm).
I woke up at 4:30 and packed everything into the car that i was taking, I arrived at Milngave at 5:20 and walked down to the start,there was plenty of people mulling about waiting for the start, i chatted to Ross and JK briefly before putting my drop bags in to the cars.
My pre race plan was to try and run as close to 9 hours as i believed this was achievable, after Murdo had done the pre race brief we moved to the start for the off i found my self in a small group, as we got chatting i found out that Simon Ellis came from Chester and Billy Foreman from North Yorkshire quickly followed by the ever reliable George Cairns. George and Simon were up Conic before us, but as we reached check point 1 (Balmaha), both were having a quick bite, i decided to allow myself a few minutes at each checkpoint to restock my pack and have a bite to eat.
As we moved on to check point 2 , both George and Simon had moved a couple of minutes ahead but again we caught up with them as they were refuelling in Rowardennan.George had kindly offered me some sun tan lotion, we all left together as we headed towards Checkpoint 3 (inversnaid), by the time we arrived the sun was very warm, whilst refuelling, George managed to get a few chips of the plate of a guy up from London.
George left before us and i never saw him again until i arrived at the finish,Simon drifted back as me and Billy continued on, at 36 miles suddenly Jezz came past us came past us so effortlessly, a few minutes later as my foot struck the ground i took cramp in my left calf and told billy to continue on and i would try to catch up before Beinglass Farm, at 38 miles, a short time later i was back with Billy, we continued on but by this stage we were wondering how far the checkpoint was as the trail seemed to go on for ever. a couple of my friends, Sam Green and Margaret Deas turned up to watch at Beinglass Farm. we refilled our water bottles and got on our way as we were still on for a 9 hour time,both of us were starting to struggle a few miles down the trail John McLaughlin gave me a shout, this seemed to help slightly as i caught up with John Kennedy, John passed on some words of encouragement and this seemed to work and before i knew it i had caught up with JK who was chatting to a girl called Claire who was a fellow Everton fan, i think by this time we were all struggling with the heat. i decided to continue doing a run/walk for as long as i could as i could not find any rhythm to run continually.
My feet were starting to feel everything rock, with 4 miles to go i saw Sam and Margaret again by this time i had ran out of water and asked if they could get me some, with a further mile gone Ritchie Cunningham passed me looking good as he motored up the hills.
I arrived at the wigwams where Sam and Margaret filled my bottles with water, what a welcome relief, they gave me a morale boosting chat as i continued along the final stretch, again i met John McLaughlin who shouted out only 800m to go, as i came around the bend, Sam and Margaret gave a final cheer, suddenly the pipers started playing, i knew it was nearly over, i crossed the finish line in 9hrs 3 Min finishing 21st.
Well done to everyone who took part today and to Murdo,Ellen,Tim and the Marshalls for making it a splendid day.