When you tell people you’re doing the Fetteresso Forest Marathon they mostly respond with “Where’s that then?”
When you tell them you doing it the day after running the Cross Country Nationals they look at you like your mad.
Well Fetteresso Forest is in Aberdeenshire near Stonehaven and it is a big woodland with lots of forestry roads winding through the forest and up and down the hills. And there are at least two mad Westies.
Trees are definitely a feature of this marathon. The medal is a conifer shaped biscuit with a green liquorice lace, the prizes are baby conifer trees, the logo is conifer trees – there are a lot of trees in the Fetteresso Forest. During the race someone did say to me that they thought the views were great, and they were, if you like conifers.
Last year there was lots of snow and ice; this year we had sun and a gentle breeze. Alex Osborne and myself were ably chauffeured through the early morning fog to the start by fellow Westie Michelle (many thanks again). Arriving in plenty of time to register and pass the kit check – the race is run under SHR rules. Lining up at the start I felt a bit underdressed in my vest and bum bag with a lot of runners wrapped up for winter and kitted out with fully loaded race vests.
After a short race briefing we were off up the hill into the forest. It felt good to get started even if it was all up hill for the first mile. Alex shot off at the front and I didn’t see him again until about half way when there is a short out and back to a loop, he was well placed and going well. I was beginning to tire after a long climb up the track and the runner ahead of me was pulling away. For the next few miles it felt like I was out there on my own and even downhills seemed to be hard work but then I caught sight of another runner ahead.
I pressed on to wind him in and we traded places for the next few miles before I finally left him behind for good on a nice pine needle cushioned downhill. More runners were starting to come into view and a noisy pair of enthusiastic marshals at the top of he last hill gave you a good idea of how spaced out you were; there were people there to catch in the last two miles and someone pushing hard from behind. I finished strongly managing to make up another place and finish with a strong sprint down the hill to the finish.
Plenty of soup, cake and warm tea to aid recovery rounded off a nice day out in the forest.
Alex Osborne 3.23.39 7th
Me 4.26.37 45th