Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Glen Coe Marathon Race Report

Well I completed it, pheewww what a course muddy, rocky, open, bog, forests it had it all.


Position:           102 of 150 starters

Time Taken:05:50:39  
Start Wave:Golden Eagles  

Glen Coe Marathon is pegged as the toughest marathon in the UK and a claim they likely have the justification for!

Start was well organised and really friendly which I really like with smaller events, water and High5 as well as sweets and other goodies at the start.  200 runners entered but only 150 turned up on the start line; shame really as they missed a great race.

Usual race brief and we were off....  Red Squirrel campsite near Glen Code village and on road for the first half mile till we cross the A82. The path here was really nice and I was hoping this would be the norm for the route .... I really was kidding myself.

Steady climb up Glen Coe to the pass and within 2 miles my feet where wet and would stay wet for the next 24 miles or over 5 hours running.  Top of Glen coe was the first water stop at jut about mile 5. I removed a layer and drunk some water. Station had some sweet and other goodies which was good.

Another mile or two and put through a bog, orange guide arrows seemed to be a bit scattered, we were all following each other all over the place with no clear path over the bog. I got wet and often my whole leg vanished underneath me into the peaty goo. Hit the West Highland Way path at last I could have kissed it to get out that bog.  Back on terra-firma a steady climb to the foot of the Devils Staircase. 

I like everyone round me walked up the Devils Staircase my legs, hips were burning and I slowed a bit even while walking. The climb snakes up the hill and is longer than it looks. Got to the top and it flattens out.  Now I was running again and the down hill section back to Kinlochleven.

The downhill is steady most of the way and was very rocky, quite a few misplaced footing and ankle twists ensued but nothing serious enough to stop me running or cause any serious issues.

Ran past my bed at the Blackwater Hostel to the checkpoint and was half way and 2hrs 35mins down. Not bad since I have a massive climb and a faltering run down the hill.  

Ran through Kinlockleven and started another climb up and up again, this knackered me and I was exhausted once I reached the top. Only had 10 miles to go and no energy, really really drained. I ran/walked for the next 7 miles or so along Glen Nevis and got to the 17 mile check point. OMG I thought how am I going make the next 9 miles.

So I ate some jelly babies took the last of my flat cola and started running at much as I could. The miles crawled passed and I reached the last check point at 20 miles. Which I went the wrong way and have to be redirected. There was still some climbs which were not bad but given my state seemed like mountains.

The path dropped the last few miles and I ran as much as I could and had to stop for micro breaks as I call then (5-10 seconds walking pace) and plunged on. My Garmin said 26 miles, then 27mile and still no sign of the end.  At 27.5 miles the end was in sight (this over mileage is quite common in Garmins over long distances and they are a guide not 100% right).

The Finish was also well organised with free soup (just the one cup) for runs and unlimited hot tea, sweets and biscuits for runners.

Over all the race was good, I was very very under prepared for it and only signed up a month or so before so didn't have my usual 16 week marathon build up.  The first runner across the line did it in 3:50 and I was in at 5:50 so my time was not too bad considering.

Would I do it again........ I might.

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