Standing at the start line with my brother Jon listening to the pre race briefing, my emotions were running high.. Nerves, fear, doubt.. “This is not a road race, this is the hardest off road marathon in Scotland”
Graham from the trail team was racing too and it was nice to meet up again briefly at the start and share our pre-race excitement.
Graham set off in the first wave and myself and my brother in the second. We quickly lost each other in the mass of runners who seemed to be off like a shot.
This was 26.2 miles & 1600m of ascent I was reiterating to myself, trying not to get caught up with the rush.
I slowed down to a speed I knew I could maintain and managed to keep myself under control.
Passing the Clachaig inn, crowds of supporters were cheering us all on and the climb up the side of the A82 began.
A narrow, slightly boggy path led the way for the first 5 miles. I had to stop briefly to take my jacket off as I’d over dressed thinking It was extremely cold but I think that was just pre-race nerves.
Not wanting to be a sweaty mess and be struggling in the first 5 miles I packed away my vapour storm jacket and just ran from there in my Berghaus base layer which was perfect.
I think I got to the first 5 mile check point in just under the hour.
I grabbed a cup of water, handful of jelly babies and took to the bog.
There was no longer a nice defined path from this point to the start of the devils stair case.
It was a bog fest – An every man for himself moment.
After the tough mudder there was a small section of running alongside the road
until the start of the devils stair case.
I looked up to see what looked like colourful human ants, zig zagging their way up the steep climb.
I ran upwards one step at a time until the steepness forced me to power walk. A man playing bagpipes was a welcome sight at around the half way mark and again my emotions started to run high. This was an awesome race and what an amazing country I live in!
I pushed myself onwards and upwards as fast as I could until I reached the top of the devils stair case.
There was no false summit, the top was actually the top and I looked onwards to the amazing sight of a long downhill section straight ahead.
The kind MRT marshall who offered me a few sweets at the cairn was my new found best friend.
8 miles in the bag and thoughts of the Goat fell race crossed my mind..