The D33 or the Deeside Ultra marathon starts in Aberdeen and takes you along the old railway to Banchory for 16.5 miles where you then turn around and run back to Aberdeen. Chris Burns was attempting his 4th D33 but the rest of us were newbies to this Epic Race, Gilly and Chris doing it as a lead up to the Highland Fling 53 mile Ultra they are doing in April. I must confess to having had a couple of glasses of Prosecco on Hogmanay when I signed up but I had made the decision before then that I was going to attempt an Ultra. Unfortunately I was poorly for most of January so training only really started in February and I couldn’t follow a plan becasue you don’t get 6 week Ultra plans – I just ran at every opportunity!
On the morning of the race, Gilly and I met Chris and Mark in Duthie Park and after the necessary photos we all got our drop bags into the appropriate van, made last minute decisions about clothing, shared out gels and joined toilet queues before the 9am start.
A great start to this very flat route where you could easily just as well be on our local old railway, I hooked up with Sadie’s sister Zoe and we basically chatted our way to Banchory with another lady from Edinburgh. Although I kept saying to both of them that these 9 min miles we were doing were not sensible for me I just felt so comfortable that I stayed with them. Ross Houston passed us on his way back with a huge smile and looking so relaxed running his 5 minute miles and on his way to smashing the course record by 20mins! Mark passed me when I was at 14.5 miles and he was at 18.5 – told you I was running too fast!
Hit half way in 2h 35m and refuelled with some jam sandwiches and a brunch bar before starting back. Zoe had to make a pit stop at Milton of Crathes so I kept going knowing that she would catch me. I then faffed about with clothing and headphones and eventually got myself back in a rhythm but I had really slowed down, Ed Sheeran was doing his best to keep me going though. Zoe caught me about mile 24 I think but she was so steady that I told her to keep going and I then did my best not to let her out of my sight.
After miles 25/26/27 I was hurting and regretting my earlier pace so had to start a bit of a walk 10 steps run thing, the ‘Paula Radcliffe counting to 100’ helped and then I abandonded the music and got talking to people going through the same routine of walk running as me. Gutted that so many people passed me and that my Garmin died but my new friends were able to tell me our distance and the last 3 miles are on a gradual downhill. On the very last section of railway I heard a ‘C’mon Susie’ and looked up expecting Mark Snodgrass but saw Gord and the boys sat on a wall and now all cheering me home, well if that didn’t make me shift nothing would – what a surprise!!! Got through the finish and had a wee cry and a hug with my boys who as it turned out had got on the bus in Penicuik to the train station at the same time I had started my wee run.
We all cheered Gilly and Chris home before taking more photos and eating a pack of jaffa cakes, that was just me 🙂 Well now we had Gord to drive us home which was great because Gilly and I sat in the back eating and announcing that we were Ultra runners, actually that was just me too 🙂
Really great experience, huge achievement with my lack of training, great thing to share with Gilly, Mark and Chris, my fellow Harriers – I totally recommend it!
1 Ross Houston 3h 10m
72 Mark Snodgrass 4h 36m
262 Susie Maxwell 5h 54m
300 Gilly Marshall 6h 12m
319 Chris Burns 6h 40m
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