I drove up with my friend from Harmeny on Friday night, we were staying with one of her club mates who very handily lives in Killin. Unfortunately my friend was no longer running but she came along to help marshall and cheer me on. I registered in the hall on the Friday evening and it was good to get it out the way and get my drop bags handed in, it meant I could sleep in a bit longer come the morning.
The race started at 8am and about 7.30 we left the house for the 5 min walk to the start. I met up with Vicky and before long we were getting our briefing and to the sound of bagpipes our race began. We ran through the village and over the bridge by the Falls of Dochart, just after the Falls the route heads into the woods and then u. I had been warned that it climbs for the first few miles and I had planned to take it a bit easier here, especially since I was not sure how my legs would hold up having run Jedburgh Three Peaks just a fortnight before, but I was feeling good and kept a fairly good pace up as we climbed higher along the wide trails through the woods. After about 4-5 miles the path started dropping down again and we were soon crossing the A85 and arriving at CP1, We were now onto the old railway line that runs parallel to the road, it was not long before we were crossing the Glen Ogle Viaduct. The scenery here was just stunning with the clouds low on the hills. I was surprised at my pace along this section and I was thinking to myself that even though it looked flat, I must be heading downhill.
I was worried I was going too fast and that I might blow up later on, but although I took it down a bit, I was still running strongly and felt I was getting into my stride. At the end of the railway section there were some steep little switchbacks as the route drops down, there was a little wooded section that the path twists and turns through, the rain that was forecast was starting to fall and was slowly getting heavier and heavier, luckily CP2 was just around the corner and as well as stocking up my supplies, I pulled out my waterproofs and I was on my way again. We were now on a B road that headed up to Balquhidder the rain was falling fairly heavily now and there were huge amounts of water on the road that I was doing my best to avoid. There were a few steep hills here and I started to do a bit of walk/running to try and conserve a bit of energy. There were also loads of fallen leaves on the road that were now wet and soggy and a bit of a slip hazard. I chatted with a few folk on this section, but was still pushing on so did not stay with anyone too long. As we reached Strathyre and the shoogly bridge (not a patch on the Jedburgh shoogly bridge!) CP3 was waiting. The path cut into some more woods and headed steeply up, for about 2 miles we just seemed to climb higher and higher and although not running, I marched up them, what goes up has to come down and it was a great feeling to get running again.
Before long the loop that we had been on came back onto our original path and I was at CP4 (which had also been CP2) I knew that I now only had about 10 miles left and I was feeling good, the rain had stopped, I took off my waterproof and was feeling energised. As we hit the railway line again I realised I was indeed heading uphill and my legs were starting to feel tired, Since I updated my phone I lost all my music so have occasionally been using Alan’s iPod, I try not to listen to music in races, but I felt I needed a bit of a lift to carry me through so I put my headphones on and spent the next few miles listening to a strange eclectic mix of music that had me laughing and singing away and trying to ignore the pain I was starting to feel in my IT bands. I was pleased as I was still running and reeling people in and passing them and it is the strongest I have felt at this stage in an ultra. CP5 appeared before me and I was crossing the road and I knew I only had a few miles left. I thought we would be heading up to take the same route back as we came on but instead of going up we were directed onto the cycle path and downhill. At first I thought yes! Downhill!, but very quickly I changed my mind as my IT bands were now screaming and I was struggling to run at all, the last few miles felt the longest of the race and I was trying hard to keep running but had to keep walking as it was so sore.
Eventually we came out of the woods back onto the road by the Falls of Dochart I knew I only had about a mile left so I turned the music up to try drown out the pain sensors and vowed not to walk again until I crossed the line, there were lots of people in the village cheering us on and any cars passing were tooting their horns, the organisers had cruelly put a lap of the park in before getting to the finishing arch, but there was someone just behind me and I was determined not to let them pass so I put as much of a sprint on as I could muster to cross the line. The organisers put on a great race with the usual cheery encouraging marshalls, sadly we were not staying for the ceilidh that was put on that night but it sounds like if was a great night!
I would recommend Glen Ogle to anyone wanting to step up from marathon distance, a good mix of trail and road not too flat, not too hilly and some stunning scenery.
[picasa width=”640″ height=”400″ bgcolor=”#000000″ autoplay=”1″ showcaption=”1″ user=”penicuikharriers” album=”es_GlenOgle332015″]