I may not have been up with the larks but I was certainly wakened by them the dawn chorus at 0413!
I lazed till ninish and then got showered and dressed had a chat with some fellow racers and headed to the village shop/cafe/emporium to have some food and charge phone and of course do this!
Registration opens at 1400 so plan is to stay hydrated, snooze and stretch for the rest of the day then register and have more food before a final doze then the race. Registration was a quick and slick operation admittedly I did go early.
After registering I had a short walk around the village and on the canal and headed back to the campsite to await the race brief.
At the HQ I met Phil Adams a fellow 100Km club member whom I had not seen for years Phil is well on his way to 250 marathons!
After the briefing we all miles around and then we were off right on time. A few yards walking then a few more nearly jogging as we went through the village and up onto the Taff TRail and out around the North of the Talybont reservoir, through the forest and. Reached CP1. The trail was undulating and on forest paths a. Not unpleasant beginig to the race CP 1 time 1::28:12 7.5 miles 1:23:32. As we were running along we could see the low cloud enveloping the peaks and feel the water vapour landing on our bodies.. As we left the forest we were following the Beacons Way which although it went to the summit of Pen y Fan we left to climb up Graig Fan Las which took us out along a ridge and back to the way for another short stint. The field was well spread out as was the trail markers but with only one large obvious path to follow the route finding was easy enough, staying upright though was another thing altogether. The terrain was a cross between the cobbles of the Royal Mile the boulder fields of the Lairg Ghru and the dirt of the Fife coastal path and as the surface got wetter it also got slipper!
CP 2 is at the summit of Pen y Fan 1:58:34. Tot time of 3:26 Dist app 14 summit height 886m. So began the descent following the Way once more for a short distance before going down Tor Glas and into Taf Fechan Forest and onto the Taff Trail to CP 3 at 19 miles 1:13:45 tot time 4:40:31. Food, drink, head torch and glow stick and we were back on our way. Following the Taff Trail now all the way to the finish. Strangely this was one of the hardest parts of the race a mix of tiredness and darkness I expect. Finish time of 6:09..
Up bright and early Friday morning fed, watered, washed, packed and off for 1000. A long drive ahead approx 39o miles mainly in rain and spray from other vehicles. There were some bright spots and I usually got out and stretched off when they presented themselves.
Through Scotland , England and into Wales. As I got off the motorway and onto A then B roads the countryside got greener and the sky got bluer. I had checked the forecast before I left which was for wall to wall rain luckily it did not materialise and I had my tent pitched and a brew on without a drop of rain falling. I arrived at my campsite just after 7pm a drive of almost 9 hours. Tallybont farm camp site is a lovely wee place plenty of room with all the normal facilities. I had a walk around the village and found the closed shop not surprising considering the time. I was in my bag and snoozing by 10pm.
L for Loch Katrine. A localish race that allowed me to drive early in the morning and do the race and be home for 5pm.
Being Scottish L was always going to be Loch something it was just a matter of fitting the other races in as well.
The Loch Katrine running festival comprises a 10K, half marathon and the full marathon. The full marathon sets off from Trossach Pier at 0900 and follows the Loch to just past Stronlachar Pier where you turn around and head back the way you came.
The forecast was bad but on the day the weather was really quiet good with a dull damp start and the sun making an appearance later on about mile 18 or 19. The course had a total climb of 2500 ft with some long hills. It was a small field and there were a few occasions when no one else was in sight especially with the winding loch side road which was almost traffic free. The majority of the race entry fee goes to charity and you won’t find gels, isotonic drinks or bananas at the feed stations. Water only with flapjack and sweets at the turnaround point.
4:57:0 with 2500 ft climb.
The A-Z challenge went well this year only two done but what a blast.
J Jungfrau a great trip a marvellous run and a hugely satisfying experience.
K Kielder an off road race just 2 hours from home and organised by none other than Steve Cram. Part of a festival including a 10K, half marathon and duathlon. Well worth a visit.
Kielder a local race compared to China and Berlin and with a plea for car sharing by the organisers I decided that it could be done in a day. I managed to get a lift thru FB and rose at 4am Sunday and headed for Rosyth and my ride south.
Numbers were sent out by mail along with a 4 page guide which included a route map but no route profile. WE arrive at the village of Falstone and after some food and drink and the almost inevitable pit stop we headed for the buses.
The buses took the full marathon runners to the start at Leaplish waterside park, there were marquees available for bags, massages and food and drink with a wandering MC doing a fine job. The announcement came over the tannoy for runners to head to the start which was published as being at 10:15 but ended up starting at 10:30.
The course heads north out of the park and heads around the lake. It was a dry warm day and the trails were in excellent condition. The course undulated all the way round the lake with a couple of larger lumps and some sharp bends. There were drinks stations approx every 5K with isotonic drinks being provided from 15K there was no food available.
At the end of the race you got a medal and a shirt then a goody bag with drinks and a muffin. There was also bananas available.
After the race it was back on a bus to the village and the journey home.
Not a race I would like to do again. Time was 4:53:49 442nd overall.
Actually it’s automobiles, planes and trains but hey ho. Heading to Switzerland for the Jungfrau. Parking at Edinburgh NCP then flying Easyjet to Geneva and then train through to my hostel in Lauterbrunnen.
So far so good except for rain of Floridian proportions on way to Edinburgh and a wee glitch with Siri, asked for Smoke on the water and got Hey Jude-by the Chilli Pipers, everything has gone fine but I have yet to get near a plane. Sitting people watching in the airport and waiting for gate to be announced. It has easily been over a year since I was last at Edinburgh airport and it has changed out of all recognition. Easy jet left on time and an uneventful flight saw me in Geneva at 16:40 local time just in time to grab some water and make my way to the station for the 17:03 to Bern. The train arrd in Bern and we had a ten minute wait for the train to Interlaken Ost on a German Rail train. Loads of space and very comfortable. Trouble on the line meant that we had to get a bus from the penultimate station to ours and also meant we missed the connection but it was a warm starlit night so what wasn’t to like. The journey from Geneva had been a pleasent one through vineyards, sunflowers and pastureland for the most part with industry around the rail stations.
I was booked in at the Valley Hostel for four nights a family run hostel with mixed reviews but I met a couple on the train who had stayed there and said it was lovely and clean. The hostel was only a few minutes walk from the station and was easy to find. I booked in, was given my slippers, no shoes allowed, and shown to my room which was full. After a quick supper I headed for bed. Th
is was the view I woke up to.
Islay is an island off the west coast of Scotland famous for the eight distilleries it has on the island. However it was the point to point marathon which attracted me to the island.
The race starts in Portnahaven and finishes in Port Ellen runners are transported to the start in a couple of mini buses, yes a couple, at 25 entrants Berlin this is not! A hall is available for last minute comfort break and changing and runners are then piped to the start a few hundred yards away.
The race started on time and headed north towards Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich road surface was good with a slight following wind. I was surprised to find myself in 4th place and this buoyed me up. I increased my pace and it seemed effortless the miles flew in without passing anyone I seemed to be in third assuming that the third runner had climbed a wall for a comfort break I increased the pace and tried to put some distance between us. Passing 20 miles(2:47) and now heading south into a headwind I started to fade and was passed in quick succession by another male and the first lady now sitting in fifth I put my head down and just ground out the final miles to the finish. Final posn 5th overall 4th male and 2nd V50 3:45. After the race which finished by a local hall there was food and hot drinks and then the presentations.
If you are looking for a good marathon, well organised and in great scenery I heartily recc this one.