Andy Birnie sent in the following report from last weekend’s Highland Fling ultra marathon.
Saturday 24th April marked my first and very last ultra marathon.
This unique experience started off really well in cool damp conditions. Upto 23 miles it was a breeze, hitting all splits bang on schedule, sitting as 4th Vet, even enjoying the scenery.
Then suddenly somebody switched the lights out. Joe had warned me beforehand to expect some dark moments, but I did not expect the first dark moment to last 30 miles and another 6 hours. My running was reduced to something more akin to shuffling.
If my wife Emma had been at Inversnaid (34 miles) I would have happily chucked it, but without a means to get a message to her, I had to go on.
At Bein Glas farm (41 miles) I was met by the Bella posse. I knew there was no way I could chuck it now, so after my 6th Muller Rice and with my support team in tow, I was off shuffling again, eventually getting to Tyndrum (53 miles) and a heartwarming Bella reception, in just under 10 hours. I was outside my target time, but to be honest, after Rowardenan it stopped being a race and then became a challenge just to complete the distance.
I want to take this opportunity to say thanks:
- for support on the day – Emma, Dougal, Matt, Robert, Joe, Peter (& Daniel), Louise (& Anna), Neil, Danielle & the relay teams
- for my chaperones for the last 12 miles – Craig & Brendan
- for a life-saving massage after the event – Matt
- for company on my long training runs – Emma, Stuart, Dougal, Brendan, Davie, Greig, Peter & Jackie
- for advice from the ultra gurus – Robert, Joe & Stuart
And of course, well done to the relay teams:
- the ladies (Emma (the other one), Jane, Lynsey & Jackie) successfully defending the trophy
- the boys (Brendan, Marcos, Dougal & Greig) for beating Bella’s course record but being robbed of the trophy by some mob of interlopers from south of the border on a cross-border pot hunting raid.
P.S. Huge respect to the guys in the club who have completed and are obviously good at ultras