Isle of Jura Fell Race 2024

Another year, another joyful and nourishing trip to Isle of Jura.

Not that my race was joyful, nourishing or even OK. I’m sure I’ve run worse in my life but I can’t quite remember a time that my performance has been so crushingly at variance with general fitness and expectations. All felt good for the first two hours and then things slowly started to come undone – and in this race you’ve got a long time to savour a fall from grace. Coming down a particularly boggy Corra Bheinn (the final hill) I was exhausted, going slowly and knowing I had a long way to go with no prospect of getting faster, could hear the soft-whine of early-stage heat-stroke in my ears, my legs were cramping painfully, my stomach was in knots and I was weighing up the pros and cons of shitting myself against risking a stop. But of course things can always get worse. Just as I was consoling myself with the thought that at least Niall wasn’t going to beat me, Dr McAlinden’s mellow Irish-tones crushed this last remnant of hope (“Alright James, didn’t expect to catch you!”) as he cruised past me. What a bastard.

I’m reasonably fit at the moment, but I’ve not been racing much recently and that showed on the day with a too-fast-by-half pace at the start. Never fun to re-learn that lesson. But, enough of my whinging. (Also – to the Dark Peak woman who didn’t think my 3rd-pap gag about onanistic hill-runners was that funny – apologies.)

There were some stellar performances on the day – the Westies women upheld club glory by decisively winning the team prize – amazing running from Ellen, Ella F & Ella P – Alice flew around the course despite a busy weekend just past, Malcolm & George made strong debuts, Alwyn was on form and Caitlin stormed in as first Jura woman. An amazing 26 Westies finished the race, no small feat! It was awesome to see so many Westies marshalling on the hill, thanks to all for the sweets, shouts of encouragement and big tunes.  Jenn and Tom did an amazing job pulling it all together – their organisation was slick and effective. A personal highlight of the weekend was the look of unalloyed joy on Alwyn’s face as he failed Roddy at kit-check. Twice.

There was a general good vibes atmosphere for the whole weekend, helped by the sunshine, the new cocktail bar and good friends. Jura’s never easy but it’s always special.

1 reply
  1. james.callender
    james.callender says:

    Out for a run with Niall the other day and he casually mentions that he wasn’t expecting to catch me because he’s only on 15 miles a week at the moment. What a dick.

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