Five harriers headed east for the 31 mile JMWU (deferred from 2020). It was a cracking event in 2019 so we had a good crew signed-up for the 2020/21 race – a few had to pull out/defer in the lead-up, leaving 5 of us to fly the club colours. And fly them we did!

Cutting to the chase… we took first female as Masha stormed to her second ultra win in a row, after taking the first female title at the West Highland Way Conic Canter Ultra 4 weeks previously. I managed 15th overall, James took a huge 44 mins off his time from 2019, Chris PB’d by 12 mins and Cat stepped-up her distance again (from her 20 mile race 4 weeks ago) to deliver a cracking sub-6hr run.

Before some stories from the race we need to doff our caps to the Foxtrail Team who put on another fantastic event. Great organisation & comms and a brilliant team of marshals out on the course with the biggest smiles, cheers and tunes you could hope for. The route marking was superb and the aid stations well stocked and plentiful (roughly every 5 miles). All finished off with a free hot roll & coffee and a nice wooden medal. Well done Foxtrail!

We’d been watching the weather all week as it was looking changeable for the race with the possibility of us following the rain all the way round. In the end it was fine – dry until after halfway then some rain but it cooled us down just enough so never an issue. It did make for a few slippy sections – Cat can vouch for that with a fall en-route!

From the gun Masha made her intentions known and headed off at a good pace, with me not too far behind but sticking (more or less) to a pace I wanted to run. It was worthwhile getting into a good position during the first mile before turning onto the beach trail as subsequent opportunities to pass were then very limited for a few miles. Cracking scenery on this section and nice trails to run.

The first and second aid stations came and went pretty quickly and shortly afterwards we were heading towards North Berwick. I’d been slowly catching Masha and we eventually came together on the final lead-in to the halfway point aid station at North Berwick. I was feeling good so carried on at the same pace and opened-up a little gap to Masha. Four weeks earlier at the Conic Canter our races/pacing went the same way but Masha came past me then and opened-up a decent gap that I couldn’t close. Fearful of a repeat, I spent the rest of the race periodically glancing over my shoulder to see if I was being reeled-in. After crossing the finish line I stopped my watch, walked over and grabbed a cup of water then turned round to the finish area to see Masha about 50m away from the line. She had indeed been reeling me in but (this time) I managed to stay clear. The announcer was shouting her name as she finished as she’d just crossed the line as the first female. Huge congrats on another superb run and victory, a mantlepiece extension might be required!

Behind us James was on a brilliant run – the 2019 JMWU was James’ first ultra and he’d trained well for it but struggled with his feet and fought hard to finish in a good time. Since then his training’s continued well with frequent long runs and plenty of club sessions (especially speed/hills work) and how it paid off! Coming home in a time 44 mins quicker than 2019 was HUGE – that’s some run!

Cat and Chris were on very similar pacing strategies and ended-up running more or less together for the majority of the race. It worked well for them both as they were pulled along as one passed the other and vice versa for the best part of 25 miles. Have a look at the photo link at the bottom – there’s a cracking image of them running side by side. In the end Cat managed to creep ahead of Chris in the final few miles to finish in under 6 hours and 4 mins ahead of Chris, who topped off his run with his trademark fast finish. An ace 12 min PB for Chris and an awesome run for Cat – well done both!

Thanks to Caroline and Liz for their support at the start and the finish – it’s always nice to see friendly faces at the end.

Another brilliant day out at this race – definitely worth doing if you’ve not already. We’ll certainly be back next year.

MARYHILL SOLO RESULTS:

15th Craig Perrie 4.27.59

16th Masha Mott 4.29.51 (First Female)

73rd James Prior 5.36.59 (PB)

96th Cat Nisbet 5.55.58

99th Chris Hever 6.00.10 (PB)

Photos at John Muir Way Ultra 2021

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