Race report – West Highland Way 100 miles

2009 – 100 mile 3 days stage run
West Highland Way
Places: 1
Position: 1
Time: 4 days
I attempted the West Highland Way the previous year as a hike and with the help of some of the worst shoes I had ever owned (I think they were called Solomon feet destroyers) as a result I had to stop at The Bridge of Orchy. This year was different however, armed with some trusty Addidas Supernovas I was aiming for a 5 day run, which I achieved in 4 when I decided to combine days 4 and 5 and skip out a stay in Kingshouse. This was training for the upcoming Himalaya 100 stage race and was my first go at consecutive days running.
Day 1 – Milgavie to Balmaha (19 miles+5) Day 2 – Balmaha to the Inverannan (19 miles)
Day 3 – Inverannan to Bridge of Orchy (25+6 miles) Day 4 – Bridge or Orchy to Fort William (41 miles)
I used a company to have my bags taken to the next days finish point, a very useful service! The main highlights included:
– Taking a wrong turn on day 1 into Carnivore and adding on a 2.5 mile out and back, after cursing that the signs were rubbish I got to the right spot and found a big sign
– Discovering that in fact the signs were rubbish. most of them being painted arrows on wooden short posts which are so easy to miss. I added so many miles and wasted hours finding the path. Sounds silly but armed with only a little tourist map, many of the way markers are hidden in bush and the widest route is often not always the correct one, when running it’s easy to shoot straight past the correct turning
– Spending 20 mins running along a a path slowly decreasing in width until it disapeared and then convinced it must be the right path spent ages trying to fight through shrubs to the other side. I gave in ran back 20 mins and found the right path along with two other hikers who also missed the sign!
– The Drovers Inn – an old 16 century spooky pub
– Waking at 4am each morning to have a maltodextrin pre-excercise drink. I loved it and the feeling of what was coming up each day
– Day 2 rain. Once I was soaking wet there was nothing to worry about and really enjoyed it
– Nervousness on the last day leaving the Bridge of Orchy, feeling tired and excited. Listened to scottish folk most of the day to get into the mood of the scenery. Amazing route through Rannock moor
– Final day entry in my diary “Beyond destroyed. I think I have damaged my legs. Holy holy shit I feel awfull”

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