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Glencoe Trail Marathon Race Report (Not the Easy Glencoe Marathon)
Well that was an Experience. Do something that scares you once in a while they said!!!
In my case it’s sign up for the wrong race and realise you are running in some of the biggest scariest mountains I’ve ever been on. The only munro i had ever been up was Ben Nevis Tourist Route.
Up to a week before i was thinking about not even turning up, but running a recce of the Two Brewries with Gilly Marshal and Allan Dunbar the week before I though how much harder can this be (oh how I was wrong ha ha)
Michael my Race support team and Molly the mountain Labrador stayed up at the start at the Glencoe Ski and Midge centre the night before the race in the campervan.
Race day was absaloutly lovely, clear skies, no wind, the perfect weather for bighting beasties and running in the hills. I think if the weather had been any different i would have definitely pulled out.
The race briefing was very short and to the point, I think somtimes that is best as if it goes on, people loose interest, start chatting and miss the real valid points.
The race started at 8.30 and off to a quick start down hill from the ski centre towards Kings House Hotel on to The West Highland Way heading towards the bottom of the Devil Staircase (the way I thought i was going to be running) This was check point one, just before the first big climb past the most photographed house in Scotland, The Lagangarbh Mountain Climbers Hut and up a pass on to Buachaille Etive Mor, at this point I really though What have I done. But no turning back i carried on with another runner who also thought a mountain marathon may be a bit much, but after a 40 minute climb I was rewarded with some of the most amazing views. Then a few ups and downs through Stob Na Doire, Stob Coire Altruim, Stob Coire Raineach down a horrendous bum sliding bog filled valley to check point two in Glen Etive at about 12 miles in 4 hours met by Michael and Molly who gave me the nudge to dig in and carry on along with a girl Marina from Clydsdale Harriers and back up the valley around the other side of Stob Dubh thankfully not having to go along a heart stopping ridge but down another bum sliding decsent back towards check point 1 which was also check point 3 (7hrs 15 minutes). At this point i thought i was on the final home straight, back on the military road along the west highland way towards the Midge Centre, how wrong was I. Just a few hundred meters from the finish line check point 4 we were directed back on to the West Highland way heading South for what I thought was going to be a small loop of a mile or so, but little did i realise the marathon was over 28 miles long. On my own a bit round this part, i phoned Mike in a panic as i thought i had taken a wrong turning and thought i was going to end up in Inveroran, but Mike re assured me I was going the right way but the course was measured incorrectly and i was on the right route but still had two miles to go.
At last Climb to the turn off towards the top of the Glencoe Midge Centre chair lift through another muddy bog then down the side of the chair lift to what must be the worst and scariest hillside decsent ive ever done.
Finaly home 10Hrs 5 mins, 2559 meters of climbing, 28 miles +++++, 24th out of 28, with 12 DNF, pretty mediocre medal, no goodie bag, no food and a pretty crap T Shirt, but still had a great day. Will I do it again………………….???