I trained on the mountains and on the bike, on the D33 and at Alloa; I spent too much time worrying about how much more I could and should have done; I talked my Andrew (my son) into being driver and support crew; we travelled with my good pal (and fellow Flinger) Gilly and navigated the bustle of Glasgow; I was tagged (some might say not before time); I fiddled around last minute gear and food checks; I rose at 4 and forced down porridge; we soaked up the buzz of the start at Milngavie and OMG, we’re off at 06:06; en route I said ‘hi’ to old friends and Harrier relay pals; I marvelled at the speed of Mike and Chris who returned with encouragement; I made new friends like Lynn and Scott ‘The Minch Swimmer’; I said ‘thanks’ to well wishers and ‘cheers’ to the awesome marshals; I said ‘bonjour’ to soaring crows, to big cows and wee calves, to bemused sheep and to a teeny weeny green lizard; I stepped over dozens of streams and crossed as many raging rivers; I climbed the steep flank of Conic Hill; from high vantage I watched the sun rise on the mountains to the north; I listened to inspirational music and yes, Donnie Munro did sing Loch Lomond, and yes, it was ever so bonnie; I felt the warmth of the sun on the back of my head and a sublime cool breeze on my face – all day; I breathed in the intoxicating essence of pine forests; I gathered myself up and focused myself in over 53 miles and 7,500 feet of climbing and arrived in Tyndrum after 14 hours and 16 minutes with total delight at a Fling PB; I was so pleased for Gilly, home and dry in 13 hours 27 minutes; I wore my Penicuik Harriers vest with genuine pride; I received a fantastic welcome at the finish line along with a goody bag to end all goody bags and most definitely the best shower I’ve ever had; I said ‘thanks’ to the legend that is Johnny Fling; we ate at the fantastic Real Food Café; Andrew drove almost 300 miles end to end, provided outstanding support at checkpoints and got us safely home . . .
. . . and after all that, while I may just be paddling in the shallows of ultra running, I can honestly say I was as happy as can be – how lucky am I?
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Full Fling Results:
522 Gilly Marshall 13:27:37
590 Chris Burns 14:16:23
Relay Fling Results (Overall):
5 Peni-Harriers (Mike Brooks, Rob Wilson, Gillian Cairns & Sarah Burthe) 08:09:24 (3rd mixed team)
16 Peni-Cuckoos (Fran Jones, Ngeme Ntuli, Andrea Wilson & Chris Downie) 09:28:18 (10th mixed team)