I had told my wife the week before that this was my last ultra, I couldn’t be bothered with the training and the pain! So that was that, no more, she just looked at me with that knowing look and smiled.
So Saturday morning, the wee hours, in the kitchen, forcing porridge down the throat, watching the rain bouncing off the window, oh joy! (I should say I do like this race, manageable distance, running through an incredible landscape.) Anyway, woke the wife and my two nephews (back up) and away up the lochside. It was a dreich morning and by Tyndrum, the dawn just let you see more of the rain.
But then standing outside Brodies, a few minutes to go, runners and supporters all mingling about. Photos being taken, last minute shouts of encouragement and the wee twinge of excitement rears its head and you remember why you’re here, because its fun, a wee adventure!
The run out of Tyndrum was fine, enough of an incline to get the heart rate up. Running along between the railway and Beinn Odhar the lead runners were away ahead, everyone starting to find their pace. Even although Beinn Dorain was shrouded in cloud she still looked magnificent and it was good to be out!
Through Auch and along to Bridge of Orchy, the rain had even gone off. A quick change of the water bottle and over the bridge munching a banana. A steady climb up by Nam Carraigh to be greeted by two fronts of rain coming in from the West and down over the Black Mount. To be honest though, it did look very impressive and there was not a lot I could do about it, and to be positive it was going to keep the midges away!
The next section over Rannoch Moor I always love, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like or the time of year its always a place of great beauty.
Reached Blackrock cottage drenched, a change of top and another banana, but the legs were feeling good. Through Alnafeadh and felt strong going up the Devil’s Staircase. It was the thought of the run down into Kinlochleven, this is where I often cramp or feel the knees groan. But it was fine, maybe not the most graceful of descents but ran into the checkpoint feeling good.
There were fourteen miles to go, I was much the same as last year time wise. But for all the dreich nature of the day it was nice to run in, cool and fresh. This was my seventh Devil and I had never done it in under nine hours, suddenly a wee thought emerged that that I could do it.
That initial climb out of Kinlochleven can drain the strength from you, but up on the main trail through Lairigmor managed to keep running, just a nice steady pace. A final banana at Lundavra and headed for Glen Nevis.
Sometimes that last run on the tarmac into the finish at Fort William can be a long jaunt but the legs had kept going. Finished in 8.46.6, a happy wee man.