There was a wee problem with the buses, three didn’t turn up and one broke down, so me and a couple of hundred other runners ended up having to stand all the way to the start once we got shared out onto the rest of the buses. The start was was delayed by nearly an hour, it didn’t bother me at all but I think it might have messed up some folks race plan who had timed their eating precisely for a 10.00am start. I gave a rueful smile when I handed my bag over to be placed into the van that would take all baggage back to the finish; I was relieved I’d emptied my water bottle before hand, with the skills of proper airport baggage handlers; they were lobbing the bags in like shot putters doing a time trial!
The pipe band marched through the runners then we were off into the sunshine and scenery. I felt just a wee bit of an ache in my left knee and my ankles which I have never had before, my muscles didn’t have any bounce in them at all but apart from that I was perfectly fine enjoying my run. Another reason why I enjoy this race so much is that it brings back loads of childhood memories, the field with the static caravans used to be a small campsite.
We spend all our summer holidays swimming in the loch, dangling on tree swings and Nessie hunting. I remember one year being taken over the loch in a wee boat to visit a Nessie Hunter that was living in a wee shed for the summer near Urquhart Castle, I don’t remember much about him except he had freckles, long ginger hair and big fluffy orange sideburns (It was very early seventies!) it wasn’t ‘til years later I found out it was BBC’s news correspondent Nicholas Witchell, he’s even published a book about his Nessie research. I’ll need to read it some day.
Enough happy memories, time to get back to some happy running, and I certainly did that, the support at Dores was great; the crowds were as loud as the supporters on a Tour de France mountain stage. At the drink station, in preparation for the long slog of a hill I took a couple of paracetamol, ate a Mars Bar and drank a fair bit of Lucozade, which is something I usually find makes my tummy a bit yeechy but today it went down nicely.
As the miles clocked up I actually felt better, I was in my happy plod for days pace and at 20 miles I got a real buzz from the thought “ The last time I had 6 miles to go I’d already run 101 miles and that was just a fortnight ago!” I found that hard to believe and I’d done it!!! I had another thought. “There are no limits!” and thoroughly enjoyed my run into the finish. Pauline missed me finishing, my fault though, I’d predicted a finishing time somewhere between 4½ and 5 hours, but was pleasantly surprised to finish in 4.15 hours, I must be recovering from Keswick better than I thought.