Daily Archives: 8th October 2019

Glencoe Skyline, Glencoe, Scotland, Sunday, September 22, 2019

51km/4750m

Fiona Brannan

Old Military road home

‘And now, time for something completely different!’

I’ve just always wanted to say that.

Glencoe Skyline, the abridged version; I did a not-that-long (by ultra standards!) but somewhat hilly run. I had to pass a vetting process to make it to the start line (climbing, scrambling and mountain running experience)


I averaged almost 20 minutes per mile, or 3 mph. There was nearly 600ft/ mile (>100m/km) of ascent, and a distinct lack of ‘runnable’ terrain, unless you are a mountain goat (I am not). I ate a lot, drank more – mostly from streams (yes, it’s ok, I survived) and finished 6 seconds under 11 hours, 11th/24 ladies, 78th/142 finishers (180 starters).

33 miles, 16,000 ft. (51 km, 4750m), a grade 3 and a grade 2 scramble. Some ‘character building’ moments in the rain and fog. The course may be flagged, but a trail race this is not.

There were outstanding views, lots of rocks and a few bogs. I even saw a spectre! It seems in this instance my good weather dance worked and saved all the rain for this week; for those starting the cross country season – I don’t apologise at all!

Aonach Eagach Pinnacles

And since my original post about this, some ‘frequently asked questions’, answered!

No, it isn’t a knife edge and we weren’t at risk of ‘falling off ‘, however yes, you do require climbing experience.  The climbing is not technically difficult, but you need to be confident on ‘moderate rock climbs’ with no ropes or rock shoes in any conditions.  There are sections where a slip or trip could be serious and you need to be competent here, but more seriously, participants cannot get ‘crag-fast’ (where one becomes too scared to move), which can then become more dangerous for themselves, other participants and those who would need to rescue them.

Curved Ridge

No, there weren’t queues on the scrambling sections (for those ‘in the know’, particularly referring to Curved Ridge), at least where I was in the race there weren’t – but I suspect with only 180 starters and the run over the WHW at the start (not flat) that few people had to wait.  The mountain safety team were very good at ordering people to wait until the top to overtake!  There were after all a further 25 miles to do so…

Yes, it was hard!

Yes, I found something that tired me out.  I even took (nearly) a week off afterwards.

Yes, it was fantastic and I got lucky with the weather, the race taking place towards the end of a period of high pressure (an hour or so of rain, some atmospheric cloud and generally mild).  The views were spectacular, all captured on my internal camera.

Yes, despite some comments of ‘don’t you have any more clothes with you’, I do feel the cold!  But really, it was rather mild.  I put a Buff on at one point (yes, my hat was in my bag!).

No, I might not do it again, I’m not in the habit of doing things twice – but I’ll still be back, and I would absolutely recommend the races (hard sell from someone who thinks £10 is a lot for a fell race!).  The event is well organised and the money is spent where you want it – on mountain safety teams, maps, proper catering… I find racing really quite stressful, but rather enjoy setting out the courses and standing around in the rain annoying participants by ringing cowbells and shouting ‘honestly, only a few more hills to go…’


Click here for results

Loch Ness Marathon, Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sarah Fawcett

(No monsters were harmed in this race report)

All I can say is “ I was conned”. I can’t remember who said it is all downhill or flat , but someone did. I entered this one only about 2 months ago, on a whim, and to have an excuse for a short Scottish holiday with my husband to incorporate him cycling and us walking in the Cairngorms.

So having driven all the bloomin way up to Inverness, with a stopover in Perth, it was fairly rude of the weather to be so lousy. The Event Village was already cold and muddy on the Saturday at registration but by the time we got back to the finish line Sunday afternoon , it was a quagmire. Before that though we had to get to the start by transport buses in the dark and rain , an hour’s drive to a howling moor at the top of a hill above Loch Ness in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve never stood in a toilet queue for 50 mins in a bin bag before, but the young Swiss chaps in front of me ( in kilts) gave me a nip of their herbal hooch to warm me up. I couldn’t find my fellow Striders, other than a quick wave to Sophie and Debra from the queue. So no group photo unfortunately.

500 26.2 miles to go.

Then a miracle happened: the start line assembly involved repeated plays of The Proclaimers 500 miles and the rain stopped and as we trotted over the start to the accompaniment of a piped band, we were off, downhill ( as promised).

Now I knew that the people weaving past me at speed would probably regret it later, so I kept a happy steady pace and tried to enjoy the moors, trees, greyness etc. Then we saw the Loch and the route runs beside it for several miles and this is where I was conned because it keeps undulating up and down. Nothing severe but my legs could feel it. I ran with a lovely young Scot called Iain for a while and we talked about his caber tossing and bagpipe playing amongst other things. Mile 17.5-18.5 is a hill that I knew I would run : walk so I sent my husband a text to say I was probably going to take 5 hrs and he could judge when to stand in the cold at Inverness. I had seen Karen for a cheery smile and Aileen and I had passed each other 3 times. She was looking strong and happy in her first marathon.

I was getting tired and properly disappointed when I saw the finish line over the river and knew the bridge was near BUT they only bloomin make you run on to the next bridge don’t they? I managed a hug with my husband at mile 25.5 then walked a minute when I was out of his view before a slow sprint for the line. Thanks Alan for the shout. We were incredibly lucky for a dry few hours in the middle of 2 weeks of rain. The event was very well organised and super friendly. The Baxter’s soup at the end was just what I needed. Aileen and Alan did brilliant first marathons.

Sitting in a lovely restaurant later full of marathoners in their medals with Aileen, Alan, Sophie and Debra who all got the memo about dress code but didn’t tell me(!) we celebrated the other Strider finishers, Peter, Karen and Craig as well as Carolyn Wendy and Mike’s marathons elsewhere. A good weekend.

Dress Code is orange – didn’t you get the memo?

results

PosRace NoFirst NameLast NameHalf TimeGun TimeChip TimeCategory
11IsaiahKOSGEI
(Metro Aberdeen Running Club)
01:11:1502:29:3102:29:31Mara-M40
66KatieWHITE
(Garscube Harriers)
01:19:0802:42:0402:42:03Mara-FS
4352283PeterHART01:43:0303:40:2403:39:15Mara-M40
1696955AlanSCOTT02:07:3004:29:1704:25:55Mara-M50
1911649CraigWALKER02:06:4604:36:5504:34:09Mara-M60
21181263DebraTHOMPSON02:15:4204:45:1804:41:56Mara-F50
22584009SarahFAWCETT02:17:1004:54:1804:47:02Mara-F50
2394956AileenSCOTT02:16:5904:56:3204:51:52Mara-F40
3033503SophieDENNIS02:25:2705:32:0405:28:48Mara-FS
32713771KarenWILSON02:37:4605:56:1305:51:08Mara-F40