Tiree Ultra 2016
I’ll let you all know now, I only did the half. For various reasons but mainly that I was keen to just have a good enjoyable weekend without any stressing about preparing and not drinking and that. Not to mention the full 35 miles just seemed a bit silly. My girlfriend Kerry was in for the full distance, having a few marathons under her belt, and was keen to see what happens when you push a bit further. My mate grant was the other half of my relay team.
We caught the wee plane from Glasgow on Friday afternoon, flying out over the Clyde, over Loch Fyne, got a cracking new view of Knapdale before the Corry, Ross of Mull & Iona and finally the unmistakably flat Tiree. In the front row of the tiny Twin Otter it was all too tempting to reach into the cockpit and twist a few buttons but I don’t think pilots are keen on that sort of thing.
My teuchter triangle drinking connections came up trumps as ever and my friend Ruth, the Gaelic primary teacher on the island put us up with classic highland hospitality including ‘aye just take the car whenever you need’. As a Skienach she was very grateful for Grant bringing this weeks free press and his girlfriend Katie bringing all the scandal from Staffin to Sleat.
Fast forward a chilled Saturday touring the island including a pleasant surprise bumping into Jamie and Sharon in the chocolate shop (busted!) and after some good grub and a couple of beers it was time to start this race. Sunday, 8am, a good crowd of runners all gathered on Soroby beach just down from the hall and with a count down from 10 they were off. Being down for the 2nd half I just delivered Grant and Kerry to the start and cheered them off. Figuring it’d be a few hours before I was required I set off for a leisurely cycle to CP2, Balephetrish, where I would pick up the baton. Spent a good while chatting with Jamie and Sharon who had positioned themselves there and before long Kerry came trotting through looking fresh followed by a slightly harder working Grant who had done a brilliant job getting round the more challenging South half of the island.
I popped a few pain killers for a dodgy ankle, squeezed down a gel and went for it. Not much to say about the run itself apart from the views were cracking, the beaches were nice and firm and the feed stations were well stocked. I had the most enjoyable long run I can remember and definitely my longest continuous actual ‘run’ ever. It seems hills really are the best training as being all I ever do this flat stuff seemed a comparative breeze! Felt strong and kept reeling folk in. Finished with a good time but that wasn’t the point. The point was that good craic was had by all and a beer was waiting at the finish.
A really well organised small event by Will and his Tiree Fitness team and big kudos to Kerry and everyone else who did the full thing, hats off. I won’t go into the cancelled Monday return flight and 8 hour wait in the tiny airport as that might sound like a dampener on a really good weekend!