While my original, post-WHW Race plans for this ‘summer’ included a possible crack at the Rigby Round (think Cairngorms equivalent of the Ramsay), that’s been looking fairly improbable since early November, when No Fuss Events received my entry (the very first, to show support for a great new local event!) for ’10 in the Glen’ (yesterday, 16 July) instead… with this multiple circular tour of Glen Nevis being a running version of their popular mountain biking ’10’ events (soloists or relay pairs, trios or quads trying to complete the most laps of a loop course within the 10-hour time limit) and my interest inevitably piqued by tackling this inaugural event the hard way (ie alone)!
Now, it was wet (at times very, very wet), which was probably fine for those taking part in the simultaneous/neighbouring Glen Nevis River Race, but certainly impacted underfoot conditions with swollen burns, plenty of mud and a technical, rooty downhill section to negotiate every time round. So I managed 10 laps (recording just over 53 miles and 5,800 ft of ascent) of a course falling some way short of 10km since they took the top corner off what they’d originally planned, but should also point out that, being allowed to count the lap you’re on at the 10-hour limit so long as you make it back in under 11 (see one poor guy sprinting for the line to be timed out by 2 minutes!), it actually took me just over 10:15 to do that. Which (while not crowing about it too much when the field for this inaugural running wasn’t that big and the event deserves to grow beyond the point where I’m a potential prizewinner) was good enough for third place in the male solo category and what’s probably my first athletics prize since receiving a yellow plastic Concorde with pencil sharpeners for engines for second place in the sack race in Primary 2!
So what else can I say? Well, of course most soloists are going to get lapped now and again by most relay teams and I don’t think I’ve ever been overtaken by so many of my fellow Lochaber AC runners in my life (not least Susan-Jane Ross, who somehow managed to pass me three times on what felt like consecutive laps when she was running one lap in three as part of a trio which only did two laps more than me)! Also had a bad spell in the middle with tightening calves and (despite regular food and drink) a hungry/dizzy half-lap that left me struggling desperately up the final incline of the fire road and unable to trust my spacial awareness descending that technical, rooty trail, so huge thanks to Donnie and Marie Meldrum for pasta etc. and some wondrous oil that rejuvenated those calves enough to get me going again for my final few laps. Congratulations to all winners and participants alike… sorry I don’t have everyone’s names but the winning pair managed 14 laps (!) and my solo class (won by Jim Meehan) might have been decided on time with the first three all completing 10? Which all seems ample justification for raiding the Co-op for beer and pizza on the way home… not, perhaps, for daily consumption when I’ve already put on weight over the four weeks since the WHW Race, but not exactly going to kill me when I’ve just run 53 miles and got my first athletics prize for 41 years to celebrate! :-)
Prizegiving photo by Donnie Meldrum…