Glen Ogle AGAIN, my fifth year in a row! I enjoyed this one the most I think, and it was a nice antidote to the Pentlands Skyline debacle. I was running it with my friend Claire again and as we don’t see each other that often it makes it a great chance to catch up and have a good blether.
The weather was pretty decent, mostly lovely golden autumn sunshine illuminating all the leaves. A couple of showers but only one that was heavy I think. The views were just stupendous as usual and I think doing a scenic route really does help take your mind off some of the ultra-weariness.
Part 1 – the route leaves Killin before heading mainly uphill for quite some time. Must be unpleasant for those up the front trying to get a fast time but for us lesser mortals more of a chance to get warmed up.
Topics of conversation here:
– Bowels and the benefits of achieving that all important pre-race movement
– Should Claire try a gluten free diet?
– What an awesome way to spend a Saturday, we pity the fools who don’t get up at the crack of dawn on a November morning to run an ultra
– Ooh, look at that view!
– Work – why does it suck so much?
Part 2 – checkpoint 1 then that nice gradual run down the cycle path, steep switchback then along to checkpoint 2. Topics of conversation here:
– shall we run/walk or just go for it and hope the wheels don’t come off later?
– This is the point where I thought I was going to sh*t myself last year, ha ha ha!
– If Claire won the lottery how would she cope? (Answer – admirably)
– Strictly and is Debbie McGee the best dancer (I thought so) or a cheating old bag who is an ex-professional dancer (Claire’s opinion)
– Would we be finished in time to watch Strictly?
– Who had the most disastrous recent romantic weekend away? (I think I won that one)
Part 3, the road to Strathyre. I reckon this is my favourite bit now despite the tarmac, once you are on the quiet little back road anyway. There are lots of beech trees which were looking quite magnificent with their autumn foliage. Topics here resulted in a deep sense of the world being put to rights.
Things that REALLY boil our piss. In no particular order:
– people who drop litter
– ultra runners who drop litter – & the special place in hell for them
– folk who walk their dogs in the toddler play park in the Meadows.
– the dog poo bag droppers – a curse upon them
– what is wrong with people in general? They are all numpties.
We shared stories of having accosted anyone foolish enough to be in the toddler play park with a canine and the triumph of giving them A Piece of our Mind, eliciting grovelling apologies and even tears in one case. Ha, take that! It also turns out that both of us have developed a habit of emailing Edinburgh Council with our gripes. There’s a surprise.
Part 3 – the hill
Strathyre seemed to arrive more quickly than usual, but perhaps time passes faster for the righteous ultra-runner. We cruised up the hill which genuinely seemed shorter and less steep this year. Not long into the climb we saw a bunch of runners emerge from the shrubbery having gone off piste up the wrong path but they seemed fairly good humoured about it.
Part 4 – back up the cycle path.
Communication here was pretty monosyllabic, we were both still feeling Ok but there was a feeling of just putting the head down and getting on with it. And it was raining. Neither of us had drop bags, I hadn’t bothered with them anyway but Claire had done one with a can of coke for checkpoint 4 then accidentally left it in the car boot. What little chat we had revolved around how much she’d like that can of coke. What were the chances of finding one in the left-over pile at the checkpoint she asked? Practically zero I reckoned. This brought back traumatic memories of finding some coke left over at last year’s race only to realise with horror that it was Diet Coke. What sort of animal drinks Diet Coke in an ultra race?
Part 5 – the final checkpoint then the run home to Killin.
Claire had drawn ahead a wee bit as we came up to checkpoint 4. It was almost as if she sensed it, like a golden retriever inexorably drawn to the scent of a nice pile of fox poo to roll in. As I trundled up I heard her shout with joy, and lo! She held aloft a Can of CocaCola. Real full fat Coke too, and not some Aldi facsimile AND……IT WAS UNOPENED! Words cannot express how amazing it felt to crack open that can and glug down some sugary caffeinated goodness. Claire was convinced that it was the work of our Lord and that I should immediately convert to Catholicism in gratitude. Or at the very least go to Mass to say thank you very much. I informed her that she was on her own there.
As we headed downhill a bloke came steaming past declaring very loudly that he’d had vodka and some proper Scottish tablet at the checkpoint and now Had Wings!! Claire got a glint in her eye and suggested we hammer it home but I declined, this was supposed to be training run FFS! But we both felt pretty good on this stretch and were probably talking loudly and irritatingly about how good we felt.
So we finished in 6 hours 16 minutes. Which considering Claire’s had a bad back and not done any long runs and I was just doing it to get some miles in for the Cheviot ultra next month isn’t too bad. We both enjoyed ourselves anyway. Super-well organised as always, great marshals and a very nice bottle of cider in the goody bag!