Wednesday, 23 July 2008

70 Wild Miles

Doug Flint found an interesting way to fill the longest day this year. Here's his personal account:

Perhaps it's something to do with the mid-summer light bringing out the maddies, but on 21 June this year there were a few Harriers in/passing through the Glencoe area (including those true nutters doing the W Highland Way race - still in awe of you guys - congratulations to you all, and phenomenal result for Phil M getting 2 hrs under his own target!).
Not quite such a success for me in this year's '70 Wild Miles' event but still hugely enjoyable now that I can look back on it from the comfort of my chair!

So, what does it entail? It starts with a 47-mile road bike race from White Corries ski centre car park across the edge of Rannoch moor to Tyndrum and on down to Taynuilt on Loch Etive; followed by a 10-mile sea kayak from Taynuilt (exciting mass-start of 100+ kayaks) up to the head of L Etive, all rounded off by a 13-mile jaunt back up the Glen Etive road to a welcome finish below the spectacular Buchaille).
After I completed the 2005 race in 6hrs 2 mins, my wife, who some of you may think of as the cheery/lovely Cathy (but read on), 'generously' set me a target of 5hrs 30mins (despite me now being 3 years older than last time and possibly 3 years less fit, I didn't get to set my own more realistic goals this time!).
Race day dawned dry and nice and cool for my bike leg start at 8.48am.
Trying to suppress both my porridge and pre-race nerves, I was excited and confident, despite having only made the transition to clipless pedals a week or so previously (a huge thanks to Will Manners for the loan of the shoes and some tips!). Then disaster! A final pump up of the tyres to make them race hard - my back valve blew out - no, nothing to do with my nerves or the porridge!. So with 10 minutes to go, I had to rush to change the rear inner tube (my only spare), and get down to the start. As one of the last to set off, it was a pretty gruelling slog but thankfully I passed a few stragglers on the way, and only got passed by a few real racers who’d set off behind me. Lost a minute or so having to stop for a traffic light/road works, but otherwise uneventful (and rather scenic), arriving in Taynuilt in just over 2 hrs. At 5 mins better than 2005, I was pleased and was up for hitting Cath's target). Glad to get off the bike, with slightly sore kidneys, only to be seized by hamstring cramp as I cocked my leg over the seat to dismount (still a lot to learn!). I thought my race might be over at that point, and wasn't welcoming being in my kayak with legs braced in one position for the next 2 hrs.

L Etive was glassy calm, apart from the frantic spray of eager paddlers at the start hooter, but having set off an hour later than the organisers had planned, there was more tide than I allowed for. A major tactical blunder saw me head up the middle of the loch with a few others, on what we thought to be the shortest straight-line distance. Frustratingly and mysteriously, the majority who chose to hug the left shore inexorably pulled away, but by the time I had worked out that they were probably less-affected by the strong but invisible current, it was too late as I was 200m from shore. It was a genuine slog ploughing along, and again I was relieved when the finish came, although the spectacular views had kept me going. However, a disappointing 15 minutes down on 2005, and probably losing 15-20 minutes on the day to the smart Alecs who had hugged the shore. I won’t make that mistake again (if/inevitably when I do it again next year).
After a brief re-fill (I gained in weight to sandwiches, chocolate and drink what I lost to the ferocious midgies and could stand it no more) I set off on the run. From memory miles 4 and 6 are the tough ones as although it’s all predominantly uphill, these two are the sapping steeper ones. Thankfully, although warm, it wasn’t too hot for running, and I was delighted to knock 7 minutes off my 2005 time, and to be met by Cathy and the kids at the finish.

To stop a long story getting longer, I finished tired and happy but annoyingly 2 minutes slower overall at 6hrs 4mins. I was forgiven though.
Icing on the cake was learning a few days later, to my amazement, I’d come 7th overall out of 58 individuals who did all 3 legs, and ahead of all but
6 of the teams of 3.

The photos show me at various stages of 'knackeredness' and my supporting family on the day. Now that my training is over (until next year) I can go back to eating donuts and enjoying life!

If anyone wants to do the event next year, or any part of it, I'll be happy to help and train with others. Gorgeous scenery, 47 miles on a bike, 10 mile kayak, 13 run; what more can I say, a top day out! And certainly less painful than 95 miles on foot…


Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Famous Grouse Crieff 10k 2008

This year's Famous Grouse Crieff 10k on Sunday July 13th was another fine event.

The sun was out, the grass was green, bagpipes skirled and at eleven o'clock 254 runners lined up to start the race.

The course was in excellent condition and winner Rob Gilroy of Ron Hill Camsbuslang broke his own course record by finishing in 33.22, spurred on by a fine competitive run from David Morwood of North Belfast Harriers, holidaying in the area, who finished a close second in 33.56. Ian Stewart of Carnegie was third in 36.30.

The other prizewinners were:

Male V40 - 1st Chris Upson of Westies, 2nd Gary Mitchell of Kirkintilloch

Male V50 - 1st Martin Dean of FVO, 2nd Ian Johnston of Carnegie

Women's race overall - 1st Ros Alexander of Carnegie, 2nd Polly Harrison of Central, 3rd Hazel Dean of Central

Women V35 - 1st Frances Maxwell of Calderglen, 2nd Fiona Angus of Perth RR

Women V45 - 1st Ada Stewart of Kirkintilloch, 2nd Sharon Taylor of Bellahouston Harriers

Prizes for local runners went to Derek Phillips of Perth RR and to our own Angela Mackenzie.

The race was ably organised by Alison Beattie, with a multitude of helpers. Thanks also to our main sponsor The Famous Grouse Experience and in particular to a very lively Gilbert the Grouse!

Some pics below by Ali Manners, who also took the start video clip, and from Beth of The Famous Grouse Experience

Crieff 10k 2008

More pics at