Well what a day !
I arrived at milngavie at 6.40 after a impatient wait for my taxi, collected my chip and dropped my drop bags in the boot of the cars. It was a bit chilly still, so kept my sweat top on till the race brief and 5 min before start.
I had seen a few people i know and had a quick chat, it was funny to see how some runners had full running kit with rain jackets, with others with vest and shorts. I had decided on t/shirt with 3/4 length tights and my trail shoes. The reason for this is, i always feel at the start the people well wrapped up start sweating and are loosing fluid from start to finish..
My race plan was to go for 11hr split times, luckily a runner did split times for the race and had said that 90% of the field would start too fast. So to the race, the first check point was drymen which was 12+ miles, i had wanted to reach here at 1hr 56min and arrived about 1hr 57min 58. The next check point was balmaha at 19 miles and the first major hill of the day conic, i felt good and met keith hughes/ ian beattie on this section and had a good chat up the hill and down. We were all hoping to get to balmaha before the elite runners went whizzing past and so on the descent jez bragg went hurtling down like a hill runner in the need of the toilet. My hat of to all the guys who can sprint down a hill and not get injured, for me a track/road runner it is only a pipe dream. Sogot to balmaha at 3hr 20min total running time.
At the change over i had rice pudding/ custard pudding and quickly filled my water bottle. I met with a guy called ian who was running with keith and going for 11hr finish he said ian / keith were both just ahead, i only seen keith at the end finishing in about 11.30 approx. So off to rowedenan and it was starting to get hot, at this secton last year the first relay runner had past but nobody yet, there was lots of walkers who were all very kind and let all the runners past. Got to rowerdenan and felt good and this was my next check for my pace was 4hrs 50min. I arrived at 11.47 am giving me 4hrs 47min aprox, so going well. It was hot now and id stopped eating my rices here, only had 1 with with a few jelly beans.
Rowerdennan to inversnaid, this section is hilly and never seems to stop, but with people around makes it easier, i felt i was still strong but it was getting hotter , but thankfully there was a nice wind and this section is shaded too.
Inversnaid to beinglass farm, this is the hardest section of the run, being technical and most difficult under foot. The problem for me during this section is im a (track/road runner) to trade, i have no sense of balance and im one of the slowest runners in this section with old grannys passing by saying your doing well son. At the start of the section a vet who i caught at the start of the section ran with me and ran just behind me making me run the runable sections alot harder than normal, he got away from me near the end of the section as i stopped for a drink and chased him to beinglass farm. The wind at this section was very strong and a life saver as it was very hot at this section, this section takes longer than the miles say. I arrived at beinglass at 15.15pm giving me a total running time of around 8hrs 20min aprox. My slit i was aiming for was 8hrs 30 min. So my plan was perfect, after another quick stop refuild with water and drank about 400mls of water.
Beinglass farm to Tyndrum , i knew that in the past iv ran this section in 3hrs so if the wheels didnt fall off id manage 11hrs 30 min giving me a new pb. This section climbs and climbs to crainlarich forrest where you have a roller coaster 3miles in the forrest, your time here just gets eaten up so much and you really cant wait to get down the final hill to the road section where alot of the back up crews and spectators meet there runners. It was at this point that a back up crew gave the runner a can of coke, i nearly cried as i was so dehydrated and a can of coke would have been great. The final 3 miles i was trying to keep going but was getting tired quickly and with looking at my watch every 2 seconds i knew i would be inside 11hr 30min. The Fling finish is something to behold as you get to about 400m to go the sound of bagpipes in the distance can be heard, i passed 3 kids on the river who said well done and as i passed they threw a brick at me, but i kept going as i just wanted to sit down. Once passed the pipes, it was 100 yards to the finish so wiped away the sweat and try to look good for the finish. Stopped my watch at 11hrs and 11min and then got shouted at by the timers to swipe my chip.
So a new pb and a great day out on the west highland way, this race has a relay race as part of the day with the sections between 12/ 13miles it would be great to get a clydesdale team involved as its a great day out !