This race is set apart from the other SUMS by the numbers participating. Karen (RD) keeps the entry numbers low which creates a very family orientated feel as it's normally the same folk turning up year after year. So keep quiet about it. And I suppose it keeps the environmental impact low and on the more remote sections it keeps the landowners onside and happy.
Once again the Glenshee Hotel had done us a deal with the accomodation, well done. It's wee things like that that make it all the more enjoyable. I might add, the food is fantastic and served with HUGE servings! (sales pitch over).
After organising my kit for the next day I was asleep for around 9.30pm and amazingly slept right through to 4am (the hotel walls are paper thin and you can hear someone fart from the other side of the Hotel). At 4am it was bright, sunny, warm and clear skies. Fantastic! Those who ran last year will remember the apocolyptic weather we had, so bad that Karen had issued a compulsory order to wear wet weather gear towards the end. I had a cup of tea in my room, got dressed into my running kit, checked my waist pack one more time and headed down to breakfast. I managed a bowl of porridge and scrambled egg on toast with two glasses of apple juice. I chatted with Rob Reid during breakfast. Afterwards I headed back up to my room and had an energy drink and made sure my bowels were empty!!
(This Photo taken by Muriel Downie)
I headed out to my car to get my pre-packed drop bags and put them into the cars going to each checkpoint along the route. Just as I put the last bag in, George called on all the runners for Karen to give her pre-race briefing. I rushed back to my room to grab my waist pack and I was good to go. On the walk over to the start I met Mark Caldwell who was 2nd here last year. I then met Jenni for the first time and had a quick chat about my sexy socks. After taking a few photos at the start area we were off on our way.
(Two photos above were taken by Muriel Downie)
The first section to Dalnaglar is just 6 miles and by the time we got to Glenshee Lodge the pack was already strung out with everyone finding their own pace. Most were already running on their own with a few metres between the next runner in front. I ran behind the same runners over this first section, including Tim Downie, 'fresh' from having run a 2 day ultra the previous weekend.
I spotted a few more runners in front, but couldn't catch up. Not long before getting into Cally Tim Downie appeared and had a very quick pit stop and was away. Ian appeared just as I was leaving. I had a creamed rice, crisps and some ginger beer before I left. Again my folks were here to helpout. Yet again another long climb out of Cally taking us up through Blackcraig forest. I caught a brief glimpse of Tim from the bottom of the climb as he topped out and disappeared. This was a long section into Enochdhu, although there is a CP at Kirkmichael but no drop bag. Large sections of this part were very boggy and hard going making you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere. I had tried catching John Duncan and got close over one boggy bit and was about 100 metres behind at one point but I slowed to walk so I could eat something and he pulled away. My feet were cold and very wet and I felt I was flagging a bit. I had set my self rough time targets for each section but I felt I was begining to fall behind schedule at this point, but had to remember that it didn't matter as this was really only a 'training run' today and I shouldn't be pushing too hard. I had thought about changing shoes at the last CP but decided there would be no point as the last climb would be very muddy anyway.
I finished feeling reasonably fresh and headed back to my room for a shower. I had something to eat in the bar, I was starving but couldn't finish my 'Spittle' burger as it was so big. Runners began arriving every 10 minutes or so and then last man in came in around 10 minutes before the cut off. Our man Ray was welcomed in by almost every person in the Hotel.
A fantastic day to run. HUGE well done and thanks to Karen for another brilliant day. Again the marshalls are the stars for standing out there all day making sure we are looked after. Thanks for the encouragement all day. I'm glad the weather wasn't like last year for you! Thanks to my parents for being on hand all day with Tea and encouragement again. And well done to all those who started and hopefully anyone who had to withdraw are feeling better now and ready for the next one. The next morning I felt reasonably fresh and even managed a walk up the hill to the large stile and a bit beyond it. I ran down. I took the photos below on the Sunday morning.