Glamaig 2009

Along with the Arrochar Alps and the Ben Nevis races, Glamaig was one of the few events I knew about as a non-hill runner.

I was also aware of the early history of the event and the initial time of 55 minutes set by a Ghurkha named Harkabir Tharpa way back in 1889. I had admired Glamaig many times …from the Sligachan Hotel anyway!

To make the long drive a little more worthwhile, I decided to grab some hills in addition to the race. Arrived late on Friday and camped just off the road at the head of Loch Ainort and close to the start of Garbh Bheinn. With a late race start of 3pm, I opted for a Corbett to warm up for the main event (obviously based on recent Manny inspiration). Got back off the hill around 1pm – plenty time for the short drive round to Slig and a wee pre-race sleep.

Registration done and I realised my bumbag was in Glasgow – improvised with a wee dry bag and a belt …which worked. I briefly met up with Kath Kirk and family who were along to watch the 115 runners race. A quick countdown and horn blast indicated the start followed by a mad dash along the road. The lower section of the hill was fairly muddy but very runnable. Once on the steep stuff things slowed dramatically as hands became useful in terms of moving uphill! Getting close to the final summit ridge I was a little shocked to see the lead runners appearing to jump off the side of the hill on the descent …round the summit and it was time to do exactly that – the route down the scree is silly steep. It was very much a fall / regain a bit of control only to continue downwards. Unusually for me, I only lost two places on the scree (I would expect to lose more) and even managed to regain a place heading back across the bog / moor to the road. Had a great wee battle with a local boy before he put down more speed just at the bridge to finish a few seconds ahead.

The race was won by Brian Marshall in 49: 27 and I rolled over the line in 23rd position in a time of 1:05:27.

Huge thanks to Nick MacDonald for organising and to marshals and all the people at the Sligachan Hotel for food beer and good music that evening!

Finished off the weekend with an ascent of Bla Bheinn on the Sunday before the drive south.

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