It was a 6am kick-off on Sunday morning as Robbie Hayman and I made 2 and half hour journey north to Braemar for the start of Lairig Ghru race.As I left the house it was Glasgow liquid sunshine! The rain was bouncing off my car.
The weather for the race was to be cloudy with sunny spells, but this was hard to believe as the rain didn’t stop for the full journey.
We reached Braemar just before 9am and headed along to the Village Hall to register for the race and I spotted the first bit of blue sky, this was looking good.
Once registered Robbie and I headed back to the car to collect our running gear where we bumped into David Stakes who was also doing the race.
All 3 of us headed back up to the start line for the briefing before the race started.
The start line was between to lamp posts in the middle of the main street through Braemar. I don’t remember much of the briefing as the 3 of us were all wishing each other good luck for the race.
After the briefing finished 30secs later the race started as there was a car waiting to drive up the street.
So we were off!
Robbie and I had planned to go at a nice steady pace as we know there was a fair distance ahead of us.
I checked my Garmin at the first mile at it was showing 7.30 pace so I said to Robbie that this pace might be a bit fresh so early on and he agreed. Mile 2 then dropped to a 7.10 quickly followed by mile 3 hitting a 6.50. I think someone forgot to tell Robbie that we weren’t doing the London Marathon. 😯
We then hit our first hill climb on the trails and I looked at my Garmin and it was showing 7.10 pace, it was then I though this going to be an interesting run.
As we made our way along the trails for a few miles Robbie mentioned if you looked up often enough the scenery looked brilliant and I couldn’t agree more. The views were stunning.
A few rivers had to be crossed along the way before we hit the Boulder Field! The path at this point started to get a wee bit more twisty then we came up to the start of the Boulder Field. Robbie was leading the way and he looked a lot more comfortable about running over the top them than I did. At one point I looked to my right and seen another runner pass by me and he looked as if he was floating over the top of the boulders, and I also thought he was doing this wearing a pair of Flip Flops. My feet and toes on the other hand were killing me as I think I was playing boulder football. Looking ahead there was Big Robbie just striding over the top of them as if they were pebbles on a beach.
During this point I felt a bit burst as I managed to down a Mars bar then felt like bringing it straight back up again. But 5mins later I started to get my energy back but the boulder field felt like it was going on and on.
Once we had made it over the boulders there was the decent through the forest and Robbie was a fair bit ahead of me, then as we made our way through the forest trails I started to catch up with him or it was more like he had slowed down to allow me to. I decide to take a caffeine gel just before we met up again, the gel went down a treat and then came straight back up in a festival of colour. So I think caffeine gels will be getting binned in the future. We both headed through the last part of the for forrest and came up to a steel bridge as Robbie crossed and I followed behind for some reason I missed the last step and down I went both knees hitting the bridge. It was sore! I got myself back up and started to sort of run again.
The last 2 miles were along a cycle path and then the road. We could see a couple of runners ahead and I knew what Robbie was thinking. We passed them by the time we got back onto the final road stretch and we both crossed the finish line in 4hrs 8mins and something.
I then looked across the road and there was Tommy O’Connell who had traveled all the way up to see us finish the race. What a guy!
We sat and had a chat for 5mins then Robbie said that if we could have managed to get across the boulder field quicker be maybe could’ve broke sub 4 hours, but I don’t I could’ve done that wearing Safety shoes to protect my toes.
In all honesty I think I held Robbie back from getting a sub 4 hour time but it was brilliant of him to run with me.
Tommy very kindly gave us a lift back to Breamar to collect my car which was really good of him.
Would I do the race again???? Yes it’s a great hill run!
Would I do anything different??? Yeah wear better PPE as I currently am in the process of losing 3 toe nails and split another one. I am also sporting 2 Hello Kitty plasters on my skint knees from that bloody bridge!