Lochaber is home to Scotland’s loftiest peaks, with Ben Nevis towering over the town of Fort William, and 3 of Scotland’s highest 10 mountains in the immediate vicinity. I’d never run the marathon there, but my wife Jennie had, and if she recommends it highly it must be a great race.
Other than for mountains, Fort William is famed as the wettest place in Britain. Jennie and I had parked the campervan in Glencoe, 20 miles south and although the day before was overcast and a decent day to be out and about, race day was a wet one. A furious blue and yellow smudge covered the area around Fort William, when I had a look at the weather satellite picture.
The weekend was a brilliant chance to catch up with friends, plenty of Jennie and my friends were up for the race, some taking on the marathon distance for the first time. We huddled on the start line with around 400 competitors looking to tackle the beautiful out and back course.
Having had a heavy week in training and with fairly inclement conditions, I mentally set the watch for 2-42, and took off with Roger van Gompel, and David from Glasgow University. Running the course we all mentioned that it was a much easier day to run, than to be a marshall, organiser, or spectator. It is a brilliantly organised race, and it does help hugely seeing a smile or being clapped in the right direction. I stuck with roger, the leader until 15 miles, where I needed a pee. From that point I never saw him until the finish. The course itself is reasonably (but definitely not completely) flat, and there are some cracking views on the way round. The last few kilometres were over Neptunes staircase, with views of a snow clad Ben Nevis mostly obscured by the rain. A beaming smile, and a hot drink were what greeted every finisher, a huge thanks to the organisers from Lochaber AC.
I ran 2-42 which was good enough for 2nd place overall. Before this year, I have raced mostly abroad, and with our friends in town it was excellent having Jennie around for the race. She is the one that allows me time away to race and train, keeps me full of pasta and is a huge part of getting me to the finish at each race. The next race, is competing for Scotland in the Anglo Celtic Plate/ Home Nations Championships in 3 weeks. It is certainly not a format I am used to- I tend to race in mountains, or foreign and sandy/snowy environments, so doing a lapped 100km race will be a news experience, but I will look forward to joining my team mates Paul Giblin, Richie Cunningham and Iain Symington.
Plans for this summer are coming together running wise – I can not wait, whilst work wise there is lots of exciting stuff going on. Since last time I have enjoyed doing talks and sharing stories in Perth, Dundee, Glasgow and this week speaking at the IOC Injury Prevention course in Monaco. Great place for a training run and lots of brilliant speakers to hear from and meet.