I was awake and having breakfast at 3am on Saturday morning. The day before I had taken all my checkpoint food, drinks and various changes of clothes and footwear to my parents house. They would be my event support team for the day. So I would have to be on my best behaviour, be extra polite and try hard not to swear despite how hard it may get during the race. As with all the SUMS this year I was using my trusty Osprey Talon waist pack which I had packed with all the usual variety of nonsense that I probably wouldn't use, but safety comes first on such an event.
By 4am I was on my way to Tyndrum. The sun was rising above Loch Lomond and even this early it looked like the weathermen (and women) had once again been looking out the wrong window when they guessed the forecast. How hard can it be?
I arrived at Tyndrum at 5.15am and parked in the Tourist Information car park and walked up to the Green Welly to register and get my race number. The place was buzzing with runners, support crews and race followers. A big thanks to the Welly owners for agreeing to act as race HQ and open up to feed the runners this early in the morning. I met a few familiar faces including Jonathan Mackintosh, John K and his wife Katrina, Sandra McDougall and Ian Beattie. I also bumped into Graeme McClymont and his family who were up on a wee holiday and were going to try and follow the race today. I chatted to a few people about the day ahead of us before I nipped back to my car to get my race pack and check I had everything I might need for the first long section to Glencoe. We had a quick race briefing with some rules and health and safety stuff being mentioned and we were good to go.
We made our way round to Brodies store where the start was. 6am and we were off. Only 43 miles left. After the initial steep wee climb up out of Tyndrum and over the Railway Bridge the route 'levels' out while passing under Beinn Odhar for a short Distance. As we ran along the track, parallel to the A82, all the support teams and race followers began to pass on their way down towards Bridge of Orchy and beyond. Horns were being honked and shouts of encouragement came our way. Already the temperature had risen and was an early indicator of how the day would go. Within the first mile I had taken off my arm warmers and unzipped my gillet. Packing my wet weather gear for this first section was now seeming like an unecessary weight to humpf. As the track passes below the summit of Beinn Odhar it begins to drop down into Auch Glenn and soon crosses the Kinglass River. It's an awesome sight running down towards the conical south end of Beinn Dorain. The path runs under the huge crags of Beinn Dorain for a distance now. By now most runners that i could see were running on their own and already beginning to spread out along the route, all finding their own comfort zone for the long stretch ahead.
No, come to think of it, it actually didn't, it nearly killed me!
But most people I met today agreed with me that the mountains have never looked so fantastic as they did today. All this on our doorstep.
(Cateran / Stride / GEDM / D33 / Devil)Well done to Garry and his huge team of volunteers, marshalls, supporters, the wilderness rescue boys, runners support teams and all the walkers we were encouraged by along the route. Well done to all those who took part in the race today, regardless of finishing or not and on your finishing times. Half the battle is getting over the start line at that time in the morning. A huge thanks again to my parents for giving up their day to be all along the route patiently waiting for me at checkpoints and that i ate and drank when i met up. And as we all know by now I was especially magnificent again today!! Happy running.