Website and Results
As usual a very well and friendly organised race with a superb buffet (warm food for the runners and another buffet even for the supporters) at the prize giving. Highly recommended for the experienced and beginning ultra runners alike!
But for me this year the race itself (43 miles from Tyndrum to Fort William) was a very, very tough one. I have been fortunate to be in good shape for all the other races this year, so this was a reminder of how it feels to struggle. I was not sure if it was a good idea to run this race. I had not trained properly. My mind and body were all still on the house move. And I did not want to spoil my chances for the CCC by racing 42 miles and kill my legs for the rest of the season.
But on the other hand I had very good reasons to start:
1) I just love that race.
2) I was really looking forward to meet the bunch of runners. Some of the became very good friends over the last couple of years
3) I needed that race to qualify for the SUMS. The RAW was just not doable for technical reasons and the Speyside Way was sold out.
4) I needed to get some fresh air and get my thoughts back on something different (which was not related to the new house)
Originally I had won Peter Duggan (who just completed his Ramsey Round successfully) to support me for the Devil's but I phoned him a couple of days before and told him that I would either not run or Silke would support (with Andreas) since both Silke (achilles tendonitis) and Andreas (still struggling to get back into shape after his Comrades) had to withdraw from the race.
Anyway, off I went together with the others running up that ascent out of Tyndrum and soon catching for breath. No way I could keep up (or should even attempt to) with the top runners. Ahead was (as expected) Craig Stewart who would not just start fast but also finish fast to win in 5:30 which is getting even closer to Jez Bragg's record. Marco pulled away with Craig and left me no chance today. He would finish 4th in 6:14 a massive PB but still not showing his capabilities. My old friend from Orkney Graham Harcus also had a very fast start and would win the Super Vet's prize in 6:17 and 5th overall.
Both Jack Brown (back from his injury and in good form) and George Cairns had a moderate start but very strong 2nd half and would have a fine "battle" to finish close together 2nd and 3rd in 5:48 and 5:50.
I hoped I would still have some of the endurance from the WestHighlandWay race and that would carry me to the finish and could not resist to race with Richard Galbraith for 6th place. Over the Lairigmor I tried to break away but instead hit the wall badly. I suffered for miles like a beginner who went of too fast and at Lundavra Silke shouted to me that he (Richard) was right behind me and I had to work harder to defend my 6th place.
Miraculously I recovered somehow and could shake him off and finish 6th in 6:22. Totally exhausted but very happy. Richard would finish 6 minutes behind me for 7th place.
Dealing with a grumpy moaning and groaning runner is not an easy job but Silke supported me (grumpy, moaning and groaning) brilliantly! Thanks darling!!!
Other remarkable things: I survived a few just unbelievable midge attacks. One when I changed my shoes at Blackrock Cottage left covered with a layer of a black itching substance consisting of little monsters.
Other highlights: Sharon (2nd lady) 7:06:54 finishes ahead of Debs (3rd "burd") and also ahead of Debs' PB from last year (7:08:59). Ian Beattie impressed everyone by coaching Supervet Ray McCurdy to a massive PB. Debs (coached by Allybea) survived a spectacular fall descending into Kinlochleven (partially on her backside) but finished strongly (but also strongly bruised). Although only 6th I won 1st Vet. Other vets ahead got different prizes (Jack and George 2nd and 3rd overall and Graham 1st Supervet). So all runners in the top 6 ended up with prizes. Well not quite... Marco "wooden spoon" Consani who finished 4th overall did not get anything... again! Well he always has his trophy wife... ;-)
I have managed to finish my four races for the SUMS Championship (and a minimum of 4 is needed). I am more than delighted since only a view days ago I did not even think I would be able to finish the Devil's.
I have collected quite a few points for the champs and end up just behind Marco and currently in 2nd place (I think). That is to change however soon since some of the superfast competitors will collect points and easily end up ahead of me: Eg Grant Jeans with two wins and one second place, Craig Stewart with two wins and Jack Brown with one win and two second places to name a few.
Triple Crown (not really official)
Always dreamed of completing the "Triple": Highland Fling, WestHighlandWay Race and Devil O' the Highlands. And I have achieved it this year. Does it get any better?