Thursday, 29 November 2012

GO33 Ultra

The GO33 (Glen Ogle 33 mile Ultramarathon) was always a race I was going to run in this year. Last year I was guilty of taking the pith with regards to the 'actual' distance we ran, 31.5 miles. This year Mike and Bill had got their own back by adding on the extra 1.5 miles back on at the start, making it the 33 that the name denotes.
This 'extra' bit was in the form of a steep bugger of a hill at a new start area. I arrived in the pitch black to find Bill running around sorting out lights and race packs. After a quick hello and getting my race number I left him to it. After around an hour, and daylight breaking, we gathered around the tent to listen to the boys give their race brief. There were lots of familiar faces here today and it was good to get the chance to chat to some during and after the race as this would be the last time I would see most of them until the D33 in March next year. We were walked over the road to the new start area outside of the village.
It was bloody freezing! But at least it stayed dry. I had barely noticed we had started from talking to Andy. From the new start to the bridge from where last years got underway was mostly uphill and very quickly had us all puffin' and pantin'. I had no idea how long this extra bit took me as my watch had failed to start, so i ended up running 'naked' today.
This race runs over a great route, despite the numerous hills, and we had some brilliant views from Glen Ogle. I had done a wee recce of the forest section a few days previously, just to remind myself of the terrain. Just like last year, I wanted to run to the first CP fairly quickly. I didn't take many photos as I ran without my camera, so had to make do using my phones crappy camera today. My plan had been to not stop at either CP1 or CP2 and keep a consistent pace until the top of the Glen and into the forest.
I knew the hills out of Killin would slow me down so wanted to cover the preceding miles as quick as I could. I felt good coming into CP1, where we were being cheered on by Ian Minty and Karen Donoghue. I ran on and off with a couple of people, but mostly on my own. At Lochearnhead the path suddenly gets very steep and twisty for a few hundred metres as it climbs sharply up onto the Glen Ogle path. It's a long, but fairly easy section from here to CP2 and only now do you realise how high you are when you glance over at the road. I'm not a fan of these long straight sections as it makes me feel i'm geting nowhere fast.
Soon I was at CP2, being manned by Lorna, John, Lee, Karen and Bill. I ran straight through after a quick hello. At the Car park I threw my watch to my Dad, no point in wearing it when it wasn't working. Said a quick hi to Donald who was controlling the path 'split' at the big gate and then ran down the cycle track that would decend all the way to Killin. But what goes down, has to come back up. The climbs on the return section through the forest were a mixture of short steep ones and long shallow ones, but were on a great surface.
But as with all hills, all went up! Sometime later I was back at the gate and the ever smiling Donald. How many of you encountered the 'nutter' here running around bare chested?! Bonkers! He was foaming at the mouth. After the race someone had comented that he was in training for some overseas race. Back at the car Park and a burger van had now appeared, obviously smelling an opportunity to make some money.
I paused at the CP to refill my water bottles before decending Glen Ogle. Even though I was feeling better than last year (hurt my foot here) I felt slower, and I was.
Susan filled my bottle at CP4 and now I was on the last section. Tarmac. I hate Tarmac. The sun was out and countryside was amazing. The road stays flat until you get to a sign telling you that it's only 1.5 miles to Strathyre. But those 1.5 miles are bloody hilly ones and suddenly I was having the crap kicked out of me. Even a quick hug from the passing Fiona Rennie didn't help. She soon zoomed away doing her 'ultra shuffle', which compared to me, made her look like Usain Bolt!
Eventually I was on the shoogly bridge and finished in 100th place with a time of 5hrs 47 minutes, a full 30 minutes slower than last year!! I blame the extra 1.5 miles at the start. A great day topped off with soup at the Inn and chatting to other runners.
Well done to Bill and Mike for another fantastic day. And my admiration and thanks to all the marshalls and volunteers who stood out in sub-zero temperatures all day cheering us on. Thanks again to my parents for hanging around all day to see me run past them! (and thanks to my mum for taking some of the photos posted above)

In other news...........

The hysteria has once again begun. I refer to of course the opening for applications to next years West Highland Way Race. I was a bit more subdued this time round, and waited a full four days before throwing my name into the ring. Fingers crossed. In the last couple of weeks I've also entered next years Fling, which is now full, and the Cateran, which is nearly full. I'm going to hold back entering the G24 until next year as I can't put in holidays that far advanced and don't want to pay for it incase I get my holiday request turned down, so I'll probably end up on the waiting list for it and chance it that I get in nearer the time if enough folk withdraw. And in a few weeks I'll enter my 4th D33.

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