Monday, 7 September 2009

Ben Nevis Race Sept 5th

Entered this back in January when I was in pre entry mode. The idea was we would turn it into a family weekend away, but Max and Hannah had better offers than watching their dad fall down a mountain side and opted to stay at home instead. Yippee!

So me and Sue (loyal, or was it the shops?) travelled up on Friday morning passing some stunning scenery on the way, Glen Coe Pass blew us both away and Loch Awe was just that.

Once in Fort William the cloud was down to about 600ft so not much chance of seeing the summit of Ben Nevis, maybe tomorrow on race day it would be clear.

Saturday morning , lashing it down with rain. After breakfast Sue went to the shops whilst I went to Claggan Park to Register for the race in 3hrs time. It was at this point that the nerves started, seeing the rescue helicopter didn't help.

600 had entered and 475 turned up to run it. Amongst them was John Dryden of Settle, who had done this race before and it was my plan to try and follow John up to the Summit (he knew the route) and then get down the best way I could. After some encouraging words off John we were soon led around the field by a Piper. I bumped into Nick Ray at this point and he assured me that I would be back next year, I was not so sure. Before I knew it we were off and my plan was up in smoke already, I've lost John!

The first mile is along a tarmac road and I run along it cautiously(maybe to cautiously). We then go through a gate and start the climb, a good path and then some steps that go on and on. Through another gate . All of a sudden some runners in front of me dart left up this mud bank while some others keep on the path, I decide to go left too and I am soon pulling myself up through Bracken trying to keep up with the other runners. We rejoin the path well in front of the others and my mind is now made up, try and follow this bunch.

It goes on like this for a while, darting off the path, up mud banks and then back on the path until we reach the Burn, a stream crossing, and then up, up and up. Your soon on rocks and scree which moves below your feet making it harder to get up. I take a gel now hoping it is going to be enough to get me back. The front runners are now flying past and we eventually reach the summit,I hand my tag in and start the descent. I am about 2 Min's into my descent when Nick comes flying past me . I somehow stumble down falling on my backside at the Burn. After the Burn its a lot more run able and I start to make a bit of progress overtaking 6 or 7 other runners.

Back on the road i feel strong and catch and overtake another 3 runners crossing the line 2hrs and 4Min's after I started. A little disappointed that I never got under the magical 2hrs but there always next year.
10 miles

A wet looking Sue!

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