Devil o’ the Highlands Footrace 2009 #1
August 14, 2009, 7:55 am
Filed under: running

It was a long day so this will be a long post and I’ve broken it into chunks – meal-sized rather than bite-sized but as I say, it was a long day ….

…Friday 7th August

We got to Strathfillan wigwams late afternoon . The wigwam was a bit bigger than I had imagined and looked comfortable enough, especially since we would have to get up at 4am. We made a huge pot of pasta and we followed it up with Ambrosia creamed rice and tinned pears. Proper camping food. We were probably the earliest in bed on the site and I think we did all get some sleep. I’ve given up stressing about not being able to sleep the night before a race.

home for the night

home for the night

4:30 am, wigwam

4:30 am, wigwam

Saturday 8th August – The Start

It was really surreal, setting off before 5 am and having to wait for a long line of cars before we could turn onto the Tyndrum road. We followed a car laden with kayaks and it was the only one in the queue that didn’t turn into the Green Welly Stop. He must have wondered what on earth he was in the middle of.

Registration was painless but I did feel out of place among all these ultra runners. I ate a Stoats porridge bar for breakfast and Bill got us cups of coffee. The Green Welly Stop is fantastic, I can’t imagine many places opening up at that time in the morning for any event and their coffee was perfect.

Support dog Elli at start

Support dog Elli at start



I recognised quite a few faces from various blogs but I was hoping to see Gary and Paul. I had emailed Gary earlier in the week when I was feeling really nervous and I got a lovely reply that made me feel so much better (any of my colleagues will tell you what a difference it made), however I didn’t see him at registration. There was a countdown then we started up the first incline and I tried to settle down into my cruising speed. I tried not to think about how far I was going, the only thing I had to do was run to Bridge of Orchy without falling off a boulder or going too fast.

Bridge of Orchy

Bridge of Orchy

I met Silke and Andreas on this stage, also running their first ultra. They said they were walking the uphills and running the downhills and flats, and that worried me for a bit because I had trained running whatever uphills were runnable and I hadn’t considered doing anything else. Would that finish me off before Fort William? But everybody has to run their own race, I’m really slow downhill and it wasn’t a good time to try something new. So I went a little ahead on the uphills, they passed me again on the downhills and in no time at all we could see the hotel at Bridge of Orchy.

One stage down and I had taken pretty well the time I expected. So far so good.

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