I was looking forward to this race but with the wee bits of injury and illness I’ve had there was no racing going on for me, just a good long run on new ground and hopefully with good company too, I wasn’t disappointed, ten out of ten on both counts.
I loved the rules for the race, so refreshingly simple especially with the constraints of all the health and safety bull doo-doo that’s around nowadays!
Deeside Way Ultra Run 3rd April 2010
The concept is simple, turn up at the Duthie park car park in Aberdeen and register and run the first section of the Deeside way to Banchory, check in with marshall, turn round and run back.
Total distance out and back is 33 miles.
No entry conditions apply, if you think you can then enter and do it.
If you get half way and find you can't, phone registration with your race number tell them you are a loser and take the bus home.
Support, there is none required but if you want your mum to meet you half way with a jam sandwich then thats ok with us.
Only one checkpoint that's at half way turn around point.
You get water at checkpoint, anything else you need to carry yourself or get from your Mum.
This is a race for runners it's not for walkers so lets be sensible, I want to be in the pub at a reasonable hour so run as fast as you can.
Sue had entered but decided not to run so she’d brought George (Race Organiser) a letter from her Mum excusing her from the race on account of her sore leg! Ken and Sue still enjoyed their day, they’d brought their bikes and cycled the route.
After a team photo and a few words from George we were off. Settled into a nice steady pace with Mags, although we’d never spoken before I knew her from the WHW and we blethered the first few miles away, (so much so we missed a great big orange arrow painted on the road pointing up to the right), after running up a road, we weren’t confident we were on the right path, it was confirmed when we came to a T junction with no markers, not to worry, just went back the way we’d came until we saw a flight of wooden steps that took us back up onto the path. Oh well, bonus bits for us! We managed to stay on the track for the rest of the way, and a lovely route it is too.
It didn’t take too long for Grant to come loping back towards us, (winning in 3hrs 34mins) then the rest of the field were on their way back with loads of smiles, waves and words of encouragement. First Harrier I saw was Pete then I was well chuffed to see Gail sitting in first lady, she was a bit worried of completing the race, her knee’s been giving her a bit of trouble. She did finish first lady which speaks volumes for the saying “If in doubt just go for it!” Next Pauline, Andrew and Helena were quite close together.
It wasn’t too much longer until Mags and I reached the turn around checkpoint, I smiled at the lady in charge of the clipboard, when she was told I was number 36 she said, “You can’t be 36, I’ve just mark the last lady through as 36!” I looked down at the number on my vest, I know I was reading it upside down but it looked like 36 to me. She scrutinised my number and asked my name, but it took confirmation from the bloke beside her with his camera, checking back his photos to say that the other runner was number 26. I was free to carry on.
Mags and I had just left the checkpoint when I caught my left foot and down I went into the muddiest part of the whole route! I’m glad I chose a couple of wrapped chocolates instead of a jam sandwich at the checkpoints because they stayed safe and clean in my fist. Mags was great, she helped me up, went into my backpack for my wee first aid kit, found me an antiseptic wet wipe for the knuckle on my left hand, it was bleeding a fair bit, as knuckles do when you take a lump out of them. The wet wipe was about as effective as the hankie your Mum used to keep up her sleeve and spit on when you were wee, I was still covered in blood and mud so the next decent puddle I came to I gave my hands a wash.
Mags wasn’t just great company, she also gave me some of her homemade tablet and some of her isotonic juice that I hadn’t tried before, I was happy drinking my own diluted ginger beer but always willing to try something different, I asked if she had plenty for herself, when she said that the more I drank the less she’d have to carry I knew I wouldn’t be depriving her, I offered her some of my mini creme eggs, my staple diet for today, she declined since she’s had problems with her stomach in the past and she was working on eating something small every 15 minutes, a new tactic for today and so far was doing ok with it. We were working well together keeping each other on an even pace, although earlier we both had said that if either of us felt stronger they were just to push on. On the way back at no point did I feel stronger and I thought that if it wasn’t for Mags I would have let the pace go a bit. When we got to around six miles to go we decided that we’ve ran all this way together so we would finish together. I wished I’d paid more attention to landmarks on the way out so I’d have a clue on how much further to go. Then I saw a wooden sign that said Duthie 3 miles. Half an hours running and we’ll be finished. Side by side we pushed on… and on… and on… Where’s this flaming Park? Yeah, down a wee hill and we’re there.
Thanks Mags, you were a great help to me today.
A great big chocolate medal and a bottle of beer, what more could you want.
It was rounded off nicely, Sue had done a brilliant job of travel agent and booked a B&B for us all, Pete had to head back but Ken and Sue, Andrew and Helena, Gail, Pauline and myself had a meal in a lovely Italian restaurant celebrating Gail’s win, Pauline, second and Helena was first old burd, Andrew’s first ultra, (he said Lairig Ghru doesn’t count, it’s a marathon with loose change) and I suppose me bringing up the rear in a style all of my own.
After the finish when someone asked me “Where did I fall?” I pointed down my mud caked left leg and said “On that bit!” with no lasting damage, just a skint knee, a big bruise on my elbow and knuckles that look like I’ve been in a fight. So next year I have every confidence of improving my time a smidgen!