West Highland Way Race

Updated: 2010-06-22
Huge thanks to my support crew for encouraging, cajoling and dragging my sorry state to the finish line of the 25th West Highland Way Race. John Malcolm and Louise did the first night shift getting me to Rowardennan in good nick. At least I hope it was them because these 2 folks in heavy midge gear kept popping up everywhere and feeding me. After a good few hours on my lonesome doing the dreaded lochside stretch my knees and feet were starting to get trashed so was happy to meet up with next crew member, Allister Guy, at Beinglas bearing gifts of bandages and plasters. Bliss! Feeling a bit better, off to the next checkpoint at Auchtertyre where Mike and Hazel, Teresa and Jim are waiting. This is also a weigh-in checkpoint. Discover I have lost only 1 kilo. After running 50 miles there is no justice in the world… Allister joins me for this next section which suddenly feels incredibly tough. The heat has been unbearable and suddenly I’m wabbit, completely out of energy. Somehow make it to next checkpoint at Bridge of Orchy where Mike runs with me for next 4 miles. Manage to eat something and feel life coming back into my legs so had a really good section here. Team up next with Teresa who joins me for the Rannoch Moor section. Finally the heat dies down and we can breath but I end up at Glencoe feeling dreadful. Had to lie down in car for 20 mins. Didn’t fancy food, same old story, so take off again under par. Jim Salvage takes over now and we head across to Altnafeadh and the Devil’s Staircase, by now in the dark. This is a real struggle, very rocky and my left knee won’t bend and right ankle won’t flex. Takes hours and I can’t remember eating anything. Completely exhausted can’t remember much of this except it was torture and lasted for ever. Finally make it to Kinlochleven and lie down for half an hour. Wake up revived, have a bite to eat and head off with last support crew, Jim Alexander, for the last 15 miles. By now daylight is through and we make the long climb out of Kinlochleven, through the Lairigmor (I call this bit Valley of Death)on to Lundavra, the last checkpoint. With only 7 miles to go and Ben Nevis appearing ahead of us, we make good time, through Braveheart car park to offload rucksacks and jackets to Mike and Hazel, then last couple of miles to the most beautiful sight in the world, the Lochaber Leisure Centre, the finish. Time was slow, 33hrs, but of 160 starters only 109 finished so I am one of the lucky ones. So once again, HUGE thanks to my support crew. I was a torn-faced disaster at the latter end and to quote from the R.E.M. song, they were ‘shiny happy people’. Couldn’t ask for better.

Mags Turnbull

Lothian Running Club