2009: 13hrs 26mins 16secs
2010: 12hrs 51mins 12secs
2011: Abandoned at 49miles
2012: Read on....
So, this years Fling....
Despite my group starting at 7am I was up at ridiculous o'clock (before 4am) to have breakfast of creamed rice with fruit, toast (wholemeal), a banana, two cups of tea and a strawberry milkshake. In previous years being up at this time in the morning has proven difficult to eat a proper breakfast, so I wanted to ensure I rectified this for this year. I had organised my drop bags the day before and what I was wearing during the day. My waist pack was also already sorted so there was no phaffing about on the morning of the race.
In my drop bags this year I had packed less, but more of what I would actually need, rather than faddy and gimmicky energy sweets and sugar filled teeth rotting rubbish! Karen Donoghue, who has given me some great nutritional tips, had suggested more 'real' food rather than sugary sports nonsence which would cause sugar highs and low crashes. So In each drop bag I packed along with a bottle of Lucozade and water (with electrolyte supplement High 5) a variety of Wholemeal pitta pockets with fillings including either Jam, banana or cheese. My favoutite nibble between checkpoints was to be my Peanut and chocolate Cliff Bars. I tried to make sure that I ate something, even just one mouthful, every 20 minutes to keep the muscles of my stomach working to allow the blood to keep pumping oxygen around my digestive system which would keep my appetite going during the whole day. This seemed to pay off, as did drinking more throughout the day.
One of the main changes this year was the new Sponsor, Hoka One One (Shoes manfacturer). In addition to the departure of Montane was the departure of Race Director and founder Murdo MacDonald, although I did see him lurking around at the start! I hope Murdo stays involved in some capacity as he created a fantastic event. So, into Murdo's shoes steps John Duncan, who has been involved with the event behind the scenes in previous years and was invited by Murdo to take over. Another difference which was notable was the huge increase in starters this year. Nearly 500 solo runners had entered and an large number of Relay Teams to boot. Most of us are wary of change, but any concerns were laid to rest as the day was as well organised as other years.
It's become a tradition now for me that when I get to Milngavie I leave the busy start area and go for a walk along the first mile or so of the route before the first group starts. So as with previous yearts I did just that. I think it relaxes me more and gets my head ready to run 53 miles. Back at the car park I said hello to a few people including Karen, George and Mike who had set off from Tyndrum the night before to run down to Milngavie to time it so they could use the Fling as their return run as one huge training run for the Hardmoors 110. Unfortunately an injury changed the planned return run and instead they joined in with Johns team at the finish by handing out the finishing line beer! I hung around and chatted with Bill and Terry. I said a quick hi to Fiona and Pauline. I saw the girls at the finish, and discovered Fiona had fallen on her face at some point cutting her chin, lip and nose. But despite having left a face shaped hole on the track she carried on and finished with all her teeth intact, judging by her smile at Tyndrum. As the 6am golden oldies (women and older guys) mustered at the start I met some grumpy wumin (Fiona MacDonald and Victoria O'reilly).
After keeping warm in Terry's car, with his wife and Bill, I got ready with around 30 minutes to go. I thought I would risk a trip to the Portaloos. Big breath required! I met Dave Morrow, although at first I didn't recognise him from his new caveman look! Also met Jonathan Mackintosh here, after a quick chat I joined the toilet queue. Both the guys had great runs (that's not a toilet related comment). After checking my kit and saying hello to a few more folk I headed over to the muster area for John's quick 'good luck' speech and then no sooner had we gathered in the tunnel, GO! My 4th Fling was underway. Only 53 miles to go. I have to agree with Bill, the Milngavie to Drymen section is my least favourite of the WHW because it doesn't feel like the WHW. Only after Drymen do I feel I'm 'out there'. The first few miles were run as a large group, with everyone chatting to one another, comparing stories and meeting new people. It wasn't far after the first mile that some loonie on a bike came screaming past in the opposite direction at a ridiculously stupid speed screaming at us to move, even though we all had the courtesey to do so. Knob.
Balmaha to Rowardennan is a short but tough wee section which has a couple of tough climbs to contend with. It was near Milarrochy that Paul Giblin passed me and then after Cashell that Richie Cunningham ran by, both running very strongly. I ran solo for most of this section again. On the brutal climb at Dubh Lochain (Ross Point) I caught up with Victoria and Fiona.
Taken by Karen Robertson at Beinglas