The finish line for a marathon is always one that requires considerable work to get there. I knew that reaching the finish at Loch Rannoch, having had the opportunity to run around the Loch in it’s full autumn glory would be extremely worthwhile, but I could not even think about the finish standing on the start line.
My nose was sufficiently blocked that I simply could not breathe out of it. My pulse rate was a good 30 beats a minute faster than normal. Due to a minor packing issue I had not got any of my running kit with me, and had had to dive into the supermarket to pick up some food, and the other things I would need. I had slept very poorly due to an over-excited baby daughter and an early start.
The feeling of not wanting to put one foot in front of the other is familiar to me. I often get it when it is raining outside, or I have not had a decent sleep. I usually combat it by putting some music on if these factors are at play, but in this case, chatting to a few friends that had done the course before and declared it a belter enthused me sufficiently to set off.
Scotland is a country like no other in terms of the way that light shifts depending on the season and time of day. The trees looked like a technicolour dreamcoat, partly draped in a variety of autumn shades. Making a series of disgusting noises due to blocked sinuses, I set off up the road, leaving the eventual winner Lee to set the early pace. Running at a comfortable rate, and having no expectations allowed me to enjoy the colours, and the tremendous support of all the marshalls, and spectators. I am pretty sure I snorted out a greater volume of bogeys than volume of fluid I took in- drinking and eating pretty much needed me to stop.
The Loch Rannoch marathon has been absent from the calendar for 20 years. It is fantastic that it is back. Both this, and the Loch Katrine marathon offer fabulous courses, and excellent organisation. It is difficult not to enjoy a scenic run in such a setting. The finish was a treat for me, the first that my daughter Nina had attended. As I rounded the final corner, there she was in her buggy, asleep on the job! On a gently undulating course, I was pleased to finish in 2hrs 50, good enough for 2nd place overall although well behind Lee. The added bonus was that in the absence of my usual trainers I had my shoes (Merrell All Out Terra Trail) for the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon in the car so wore them instead. Perhaps more aggressive than my usual road shoes (All Out Rush) they were comfy and got the job done well.
In terms of what is next, the big one is heading out to Mongolia in January. Ahead of this I will be doing a load of running and may pick up a race or two.