Simple format – run as many loops as you can of a 3.8 mile circuit in Callendar Park for 8 hours, easy :-D.
It was a tough but brilliantly fun shift – the weather had been worsening all week in the lead-up to the Sunday race with plenty of wind & rain. This resulted in an impromptu loch forming where the start and tented village would be so things were moved around late-on by the organising team and it all worked out very well.
Normally in a race report the organisers and marshals get a shout-out towards the bottom of the report but they really were the stars of the day (we just ran in circles and gorged on food 😊), the whole team were outstanding! The marshals really were something special and stood in 6.5 hours of rain in baltic conditions shouting and cheering for the whole race. Hats off to them big time. The organisers had a lot to deal with ref. the weather and course condition and delivered a top-notch event.
My ultra training had been going more or less to plan and I was keen to just get running, find a sensible tempo and manage my energy and nutrition over the next 8 hours. Tried to avoid my usual whippet start and fade later approach – each ultra is another learning experience and this one also added to the curve. The rain started as we kicked things off at 8.15am and didn’t let up for the next 6.5 hours – not particularly heavy but just on all the time. Add in a temperature of 2-3 degrees and it made for a cold and wet run. At roughly the half way point I stopped and changed my top layers and move to a more waterproof jacket – if anyone was watching it must have been prime comedy value, getting wet base-layers off with frozen and wet hands was one thing but trying to get new dry ones onto a wet body with fingers that didn’t work was ‘interesting’ 😊. It was absolutely the right move though as half a lap later I was warm, dry and the heat had moved down my hands and thawed my fingers. Stayed that way for the next 4 hours.
Had some nice chats with various people as we clocked off the laps and kept meeting people as the food and toilet etc breaks started to kick-in and everyone started to overlap more and more. There were relay runners zooming round as well.
After maybe lap 9 (approx. 34 miles) I stopped quickly to see where I was on the results tracker screen and was amazed to see a position of 19th. That gave a little adrenaline kick and proved a good distraction and focus for the remaining laps. With an hour to go we moved onto a smaller lap (approx.. 600m) which consisted of a muddy and slippery climb, across the top then a steep and slippery descent, through the tented village and repeat. As more and more people moved onto this small lap it became a good laugh and in the end more or less all runners were looping. It felt like a long hour though and the finish siren was welcome.
All in all a cracking event – very well organised, a good technical route, ability for a personal aid station in the tented village, truly outstanding marshals and a great goody bag (hoody, buff, Tunnocks, beer).
Also a good way to gauge your winter training with the option to run as many or as few miles as you want.
46.894 miles (chip)
47.79 miles (Garmin)
17th overall (out of 192 runners)
14th male (out of 110 runners)
8th MV40 (out of 56 runners)