whw 19.02.10

whw 19.02.10
A cold winters morning.

Friday, 19 February 2010


I got the sleeper train at westerton at 05.56 and arrived at tyndrum at 08.00 on the train i found that i didnt have my energy food for my run, so i dropped off at brodies store and got some chocolate. I only eat 1 topic and half a bar of milk chocolate for the 33.7 miles i ran.
I ran the first part of this route thinking of all  the mile markers for the highland fling, it was very very cold for the whole day, the run through the forest at crianlarich was very hard work and very hilly with ice and still a little bit of snow.

Once i got to glen falloch i was in the shade and cold with a trip on a stone and fell face down with only a grazed hand. This part of the run was in the shade and again very cold with a few more bits of ice.

I kept pushing on and soon arrived at the top of loch lomond  and the same problem of my whole run happened again, a very strong sun in my face again which made it diffucult to take pictures. I really do think the best view of the whole whw is when you get to the top of loch lomond it is the best view of the entire route it is just so inspirational/ fullfilling and so why you - jog for jesus.
The trip along loch lomond was as expected tough, my worst part of this route is the top of loch lomond to inversnaid hotel. I managed to do more running on this part than ever before, so i felt good at this stage. The strange part of this section was coming across the famous wild goats just 2 mile before rowerdenan, there are normally only 3/4 goats, but this  time there was more than 12 with the bonus that i never smelled them.

Rowedennan to balmaha during this section i had a few stomach cramps and managed to get to balmaha without any problems in 8hrs 43min and still feeling ok/
Once again i just missed the 309 bus and managed to rehydrate with 2 pints of beer,the next bus was at 6pm and arrived at balloch at 6.26pm again i just missed the 6.23 bus at balloch by 3min so got the 6.53 train and arrived home at 8pm.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


I am planning a training run from tyndrum to balmaha, this training run is a bit close to my last long run but with no training done since sunday due to watching my kids during school mid/term i feel quite fresh so my plan is to get the 05.56 sleeper train at westerton to tyndrum and then head to balmaha. The 309 bus leaves balmaha at  16.25 and 17.57 so what does this mean.
Arrive at tyndrum at 07.56
Arrive at balmaha at ? ? ? ?
When i did last years highland fling i ran from balmaha to tyndrum in about 9hrs, so if i start running at 08.00 i should arrive at about 5pm, leaving me in between buses hopefully.
The distance for this run is about 35miles but may be shorter running from the train station.
So looking forward to friday.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


With the glasgow to edinburgh race being my first ultra this year and only just over a month away i decided to run from my house to linlithgow train station which is mostly forth and clyde canal and grand union canal a total of 35.3miles.

My run started at 10.30am a later start than i had hoped, the weather was dry and a cold. For this run i had taken my old mini ipod to see if it would help to let the miles go faster, i hadnt used my ipod for years and once i had reached the stables the battery had ran out and i would need to carry it for 5 more hours.

Once i had reached kilsyth the canal seemed to become a deep freezer and i was starting to struggle to keep myself warm and the canal was like one large ice cube, which is ok in a drink but running beside is very cold indeed. The first land marker i was looking for was the Falkirk Wheel which is 24 miles from my house, for such a big land mark you dont see it until you turn a corner and this massive structure is in front of you. I stopped here and had a drink of my energy drink and had a look at my heel as it was becoming sore, on inspection a blister was revealed and was soon taped with zinc oxide tape and headed on through the falkirk tunnel which was shorter than i remembered.

Once through the falkirk tunnel i was now on the grand union canal which was once again frozen, but the path is a bit rocky here, which if it was the whw you would say is good running, but after 24/25miles on a canal it seems to catch you out. My next way marker was polmont which i had ran from last year to edinburgh - to check the course out. After a long wait i came to polmont prison and knew i was close to my last leg to linlithgow.

Polmont to Linlithgow my last part of my run and it promised to be the longest, i had ran over this part of the route twice before and the last time was with eileen scott who told me that the worst part of an ultra was the finish and this was true about this last 6 mile leg as it dragged and dragged and after a few false alarms i seen the sign post for the train and it was a very weary person who sat in linlithgow train station at about 3.15 pm.

Now to explain why i got a blister, i have become used to wearing new shoes and just break them in with a long run, so got caught out with my new saucony trail shoes and if you remeber i said the falkirk tunnel was shorter than i remembered and that was because there is 2 tunnels with the second being the wet, damp and bumpy calderglen tunnel.

This has been my third long run on canals and it is amazing how different to other runs this surface is, to date i have had three bruised big toes, had very sore swollen ankles and feet.Yet when running on the whw i dont seem to have it as bad even though the terrrain is alot worse.

Split times : 9.52/9.57/10.39/9.49/9.58/9.37/9.21/9.36/9.39/10.03/9.52/11.17/10.50/9.30/9.41/9.54/9.32/9.43/1042/10.01/10.26/9.48/10.44/16.09/10.29/15.53/10.13/

Total distance 35.3miles in 6hrs 15min.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


I woke up this morning and had great difficulty in trying to stand never mind walk or run and with the club cc champs being held at 2pm i knew it was going to be tough going. After my breakfast and pain killers i started to get ready for my race.

I only ever wear my club vest once a year and this is the day, the main reason i dont wear it more often is its not that practical to wear a vest when your out for hours during a ultra.

My brother derek picked me up at 1pm and we set of to the race, the most special thing for me in this event is i get to see runners who i have known the most of my life and that is kind of special for me.

At 2pm the race started and the course was very tough indeed with a few comments like this will be easy as its a short race doesnt really mean much as during my ultras i walk up the hills while eating and drinking so a hilly short course with heavy heavy legs is a bit of a nightmare, but i really enjoyed the banter and i managed to finish the 3 laps of the course with only 1 near fall going down hill.
I would like to thank all the helpers, supporters and course markers for all there hard work on the day and i do think it will be a good cc relay course though id expect it will be tough on the kids races.

11/02/10 Drymen to rowerdennan to drymen 30miles

Started off at 07.30 at car park in drymen and headed onto the whw route, weather was very cold but dry and the bonus was that it was light when i started. Managed to run all the way to conic hill, managed to get halfway up conic untill i had to walk, there was a fair bit of ice going up but none going down. At the top of conic came the wonderfull views of loch lomond ahead and of Ben Lomond to the right with snow on top with the morning sunlight streaming down it was well worth the 05.15 start in the morning to get the sleeper train to dalmuir, then the first balloch train at 06.21 then the 309 bus from balloch to drymen so i could start my run at 07.30.

Balmaha to rowerdennan - sun was bright and the underfoot conditions were good, i had forgot that this bit just seems to go up and down the whole way but it was just so scenic that you just stop every so often to get such wonderfull views. Stopped just passed the hotel at rowerdennan as this was the 15mile point just before the turn off point for the youth hostel. It was at this point that i noticed that i forgot my flat coke drink that i was looking forward to and also forgot my mobile so could phone home to let the family know i was ok.

Rowerdennan to balmaha - headed back to balmaha knowing that i had all those hills to look forward too and a bit worried i might not have enough fluid to last to drymen. Stopped at about half way back and took a pain killer and was nearly sick- mental note to myself take more of a drink when trying to swallow paracetamol tablets.

Balmaha to drymen - started past the car park at balmaha and headed to the bottom of conic hill then came to the steps and my legs just couldnt keep going so managed to walk as fast as you can then turned a corner to see the steep grassy slope going up conic at which point i thought i was going to cry! but wasnt till i was on the grass slopes with thighs like lead, back breaking and i wonder how a ex-track runner is doing this (i didnt even like cross country when i was younger). Once i reached the top of conic i managed to break into a stuttering run jog down hill, half way down i met two young girls going up who looked as they were fairly fresh compared to the old git trying to run down. Managed to run all the way through the forrest and arrive at drymen feeling good at getting to my finishing point.
Having just missed the bus by 10 minutes, i went for a pint and sat in front of an open fire till the next bus !

TIMES DURING RUN - 15miles 3hrs 38min 22sec .
30miles 7hrs 27min 41sec.

Total distance 30.35miles in 7hrs 35min 34sec.