The 1st of March 2014 will go down as the day I ran on the West Highland Way for the first time. A chance meeting with Gerry Craig when I was out running last weekend landed the opportunity, and the Saturday afternoon window is one I usually can’t make but luck had it that I could.
The only blight on the day was my journey as Scotrail cancelled one train and then the next one ran late, which meant my time arriving at Milngavie was 1307 when I should have got there by 1230, albeit we weren’t meeting until 1pm and a quick Facebook message meant Gerry, Mark and Duncan waited on me. Thankfully.
The plan was to run from Milngavie to Drymen and back, 23-24 miles. Mark was coming back from injury and Duncan was just starting to ratchet up his training, which meant any worries I had about the pace being too tasty for me were assuaged.
The run out to Drymen is a mix of hard packed path, proper rocky trail and some tarmac roads. We set out easy and I split the run into two halves on my garmin, partly driven by the need to visit the trees (ultrarunners will know exactly what I mean here). 11.56 miles out.
The way back was a touch slower and the glorious sunshine gave way to light drizzle and a couple of references were made to a big hill that I don’t remember coming down.
The picture above was taken by Gerry and features my massive arse and this morning my wife asked if I was actually running beside Mark & Duncan, and then called me Jimmy Krankie. Love is blindness, eh?
As we hit the hill, about 350 ft of climb in a mile, we slowed a bit, Mark was brilliant in pushing it up given his stage in recovery. I was quite happy to go easy given I have D33 in a couple of weeks.
Gerry and Duncan waited for us at the top, then Gerry and I upped the pace a tad for the last 4-5 miles, doing 7:30(ish) miles to the finish to complete the run in 3 hours 15 minutes. It was nice to turn up the pace a wee bit after the slower last few miles. I felt excellent after the 23.1 miles and a really good last long run before the race on 15th March.
1st of March 2014 will not be the last time I do the WHW. Big thanks to Gerry, Mark and Duncan for their company.