An ordinary woman's fascination with an extraordinary sport ... and the extraordinary people who take part

Friday, 17 June 2011


Now we're all in limbo, waiting for tomorrow night, waiting to press the button and start the race.

Most people will - I guess - have finished work now and have tomorrow scheduled as a day of rest.  Not everyone though - there are at least two teachers amongst the runners who have no choice but to work as normal.  One is even having her school inspected this week ... this may be taking the distraction approach to tapering a little too far ....

There are still a flurry of announcements coming through on the website, forum and facebook, so the organisers are still busy fine tuning details.  Technology is starting to come into play with a first attempt at live streaming the race Click here to view although apparently not working if you use IE9.  And twitter also becomes a main information source this year with the new #whwrace tag being used by organisers, runners and support alike for updates and encouragement.

This particular marshall has managed to indulge herself by finishing work on the Wednesday with a whole week of time off to come.  (Talking of work, I have discovered that Norman, who works in the same company as me and is competing for the second time this year, has been reading this blog.  Hello Norman.  Norman's crew - whatever he's told you, I am NOT making you tea at KLL.  Coffee maybe....)

Today has been an indulgent and lazy day with the intention to now try and stay up late and start rolling my body clock forward to cope with Saturday night.  Not an advised strategy for runners but then I have every intention of sleeping on the Friday night.  In my third summer in Scotland, I still find it amazing how short the summer nights are; that it still seems to be full daylight at half ten and later.

Tomorrow I have good plans to make the most of the day off and go and stretch my legs around Flotterstone reservoir.  After Sandra's comment below, I nearly burnt my running shoes in sheer terror at the slippery slope I might be starting on!  But I figure my complete and utter lack of talent or aptitude will rescue me from any foolish inclinations regarding racing :-)  In the meantime I am a very slow and ungainly plodder who still gains an immense amount of satisfaction from what I can do compared to what I couldn't do only a few months ago.  For the runners, I should point out that the phrase "stretching my legs" means a distance of 2-3 miles at best.  And no hills.

Then it will be a leisurely drive over to Milngavie, a few hours rest at the hotel and then down to the station to watch the start.  I saw the end of the Fling but this will be my first start and I can't wait to see the atmosphere.  Or try and distinguish between the "old" family members and the new ones taking on this challenge for the first time.  Is it more scary as an unknown quantity, a previously tried and failed event, or once you know how it feels to complete the 95 miles and bang on the door of the leisure centre?  Maybe scary isn't the right word; although any runner should certainly be respectful of the hours ahead of them. 

(Bizarre thing - if you google images of "Fort William Leisure Centre" an awful lot of them have runners in the picture!)

I wasn't totally sure about going to Milngavie, but I've had to realise that it's very unlikely that I will see any of the runners come home as I'll still be in Kinlochleven when most of them come through; and probably sleeping while the last of them arrive.  I'll miss seeing that but hopefully a few hours sleep should see me refreshed enough to come through to the prize giving at midday.

And now we're 24 hours away from the pre-race briefing.  Still on pause, waiting to go...

For all those taking part, I hope you have a wonderful race whether it's your first or your fifteenth, whether you finish in sixteen hours or thirty-five.  Or not at all - it will still be there next year for you.  It's an amazing thing to do, in an amazing stretch of countryside.  Enjoy it.

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