A weird mixture of being terrified and elated when I got my entry for this race! I’ve trained all Summer for it, hitting the hills every Friday evening and whenever else I could because I was so scared of not being strong enough for it. Bill showed me where to practice scree running on Scald Law & Carnethy although was at pains to say it wasn’t as tough as the Ben (boy was he right) and I bought some gaters because my poor ankles didn’t like the rock bashing they were getting whilst training. Bill also gave me great advice and support in my efforts to be Ben ready – thanks Bill 🙂
Had a great journey up in the car with Tim Doyle & Robert Walker, very educational, random and funny 😀 I dished out marshmallow cake & banana bread enjoyed the chat and marvelled at the amazing views – bliss 🙂
When the race started and we were heading for a mile along the road I asked Chris if this was the way back, unfortunately yes it was. Chris’ wife and friends gave me a lovely cheer from the Ben Nevis Inn just as we hit the hill/mountain and then the climb began. Not too steep and very runnable for a while, I managed to pass lots of people by taking the chicken runs at the side however did get stuck behind a guy on singletrack who kept on slipping and he just about kicked me in the head on a really steep muddy bit! So I got passed him and ended up with a lovely bunch from Lochaber who were so friendly and seemed to know everyone passing us on their way back down. I got to the Red Burn which was beautiful and got a “c’mon Penicuik” shout from Janice’s husband Derek which was just what I needed.
Finlay Wild passed me (on his way down) when my watch said 1.09, it’s hard to gauge where I was but I was on scree and still a long way off the top (which I got to in 1.52), he was incredible, no-one else came along for ages. He finished in 1.30.
The rocks were tough to run’/climb on as they moved all the time, more so however when you are running back down – nothing stays still when your are really, really hoping that it will. I saw Tim on his way back when I’d got to the flatter bit at the top, I handed over my badge thing, started Strava and just totally hoped I could get back down in one piece!
I can’t say I was being cautious and going slow I just couldn’t go fast! Chris came by me pretty quickly 🙁 As I said before everything moved and I was just really scared of hurting myself but I did manage to get going on some bits which felt great and then I hit the Green Wall and pretty much slid and jumped my way down this section. Janice passed me here 🙁 We crossed the burn again to join the tourist path and it was great because I could actually really run again, well run and jump off the rocky steps and constantly thank the walkers who move out of your way. Gave the rest of the route down everything I had and even managed to pass 4 people on the road back to the shinty field, lots of great shouts from locals to help you get through that last bit.
Crossed the line in 3h 06m which I could only improve on if I pushed harder on the uphill and got some courage from the Chris D school of downhill running. I had a wee tear in my eye at the relief of having completed this ‘great race’ and was with such nice friends who were just so lovely to me, sniff!
Have made a wee album of photos that I pinched from Robert Walker and some he took with my camera.
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