Saturday, 11 August 2012

Back to Blogging (Devil o'the Highlands 2012)

As you will see from my last blog, its been a  long time, in fact nearly a year, how the time has flown. anyway fast forward to July 2012 and here we are, i raced the Stride nearly 3 weeks ago and got to 32 before pulling out with a calf injury and that point i felt deflated, i had done the recces and was up for it but on the day it all went wrong so i decided to contact the organiser of the Devils which was my next race, a fortnight later and tell them that i was not coming because i thought i would be out for some time. a few days later i was recovering quite well and sent away another email saying if the space was still available can they keep my name in, back came the reply to say that they had just returned from a weekend away and that they had done nothing so my place was safe.

My Back up crew of Sam Green and Paul  Brown arrived at 3:30am to pick me up and we headed of for Tyndrum. on arrival i met some Colin Knox, Ada and John Kynaston to mention a few, John was supporting Katrina and we had a brief chat about his Lakeland 100. i then head round for the brief prior to the start..

Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy
The start all seemed to happen pretty quickly and before i knew we were off, Thomas and Casey quickly set off at a pace, so i tucked in behind them, my plan was simple, hang on for as long as i possibly could and see what i had at the end, i had agreed with my support crew to get me at Victoria Bridge for a refuel, the first checkpoint, Bridge of Orchy seemed to arrive very quickly we were well under the Hour mark.

Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe

Casey continued up the hill followed by Thomas heading through the gate, i started to think at this point that this may be too fast, i knew my support was only a further 2 miles away at Victoria bridge as i came down the hill i got some welcome words from Marco and Lucy, i refuelled and head up on to the Rannoch Moor, i could see in the distance that Casey had opened a Gap on Thomas and i seemed further afield, hoeever feeling in reasonable shape i continued on, i was about a mile from the next checkpoint when David Mooney, gave me a cheer, he was out doing support for two other runners. i came of the moor and through the checkpoint still in third and feeling good.

Glencoe to Kinlochleven

I had agreed again to meet my support at the foot of the devils, where i would refuel, for me it was a walk up and eat while i was moving, something i learnt from Sharon Law in last years WHW race. as i got to the top before descending into Kinloclochleven i could feel my calf starting to pop, this was all i needed, i continued down to the next checkpoint where my crew were waiting, again all the cheers from everyone was amazing,

Kinlochleven to Fort William

I started to walk up the Larig Mhor eating a rice pot whilst my crew filled my bottles, Paul caught up with me and gave me the bottles we agreed to meet next at Lundavra, as i started running one of my bottles was not tightened properly and i lost the contents, it was so warm by this time that my other bottle was done. i approached the wilderness team at around 32 miles where i was offered water, as i stopped my calf cramped up and i was on the ground in pain, the wilderness team member,Jeff Smith kindly massaged my leg at this point the fourth runner came by, Craig Cunningham, Craig said why don't we work together, so we did for a few miles but again i had to stop as my leg cramped and gave it a massage.approaching Lundavra i got another refuel and could see Craig not too far in the distance, i thought at this point that i would try and hang on in there for fourth spot but before i knew it as we came through the clearance heading towards the road Craig was not that far in front, he must have went through a bad patch also i was thinking. as i came down the road its hard to gather pace but somehow i caught up with Craig and we agreed to work together towards the finish. my support team where waiting at the bottom of the road  saying not far to go , before i knew it we could see the finish line so myself and Craig agreed to cross together as we had helped each other over the last 11 miles.

Fort William

After crossing the line and collecting our goody bags,i got changed and had a quick chat with Thomas and Marco where i found out that Thomas took first spot ahead of Casey,i passed my congratulations to both, unfortunately i could not stay for the prize giving as my driver Paul's wife was in hospital and although he had agreed to support me had to get straight back home. i had went to advise the timekeeper that i could not stay, i was advised at this point that i would not be sharing the thirs spot time as it was ruled that Craig's toe crossed the line first, this was disappointing, we had worked together, finished together but separated in time by a toe, i was not happy at this point as it was not a third trophy or even a vets trophy it was the recognition of a joint third time. anyway i have now calmed down in the cold day of light and accepted the decision by the race director, as Thomas said a lesson learnt :-)

I would just like to say congratulations to everyone who took part, the people who cheered everyone on and special thank you to my support team and especially to Paul for giving up his time whilst his wife was in hospital.