This report concerns mainly me but I’m sure we’d all love to see additions from Charlie, Ian, Bobby or anyone else who was running or on the route.
Getting up at 6:15 to catch the 7:30 bus from Ayr to Glenbuck is never easy but for some (Ian) it proved impossible. So, Charlie, Bobby and yours truly appeared to be the Tortoises for the day and at 7:40 the race organisers gave up on Ian and we headed off.
The usually boring journey was lightened by talking to a guy called Scott Ferguson from Portobello Running Club. He was very worried about getting lost and said he’d just follow me – HA! Little did he know that I don’t even have the directional sense of a Boabee on a bad day.
On arrival we discoved that the late rising Ian had indeed risen. Knowing he was late for the bus, he’d driven to Glenbuck. Lucky for him that Tim was on hand to drive his car back to Ayr. Along with Tim were Muriel and Stan to cheer us all off.
Following the traditional photocall, we were spared any speeches and sent on our way. I immediately went into my usual quick cadence and within a few hundred yards had opened up a gap on all bar one guy, yep, Portobello Scott who was still under the impression that I was an orienteer superb.
The first checkpoint was reached on the same time as last year (35 mins for 4.5 miles). Scott and I chatted as we ran and I quickly realised that I was well out of my league if ½ marathon times are anything to go by (a good 15 minutes faster). On about 7 miles Scott discovered that I was not the person to be with as I took a wrong turn, found ourselves climbing over barbed wire fences, through a deeply rutted field (where Scott’s new running shoes were well and truly ‘blooded’) before we eventually got back to the path. We were still well ahead of the field and Scott took the logical course and ran off into the distance. Whilst this may have been the correct decision at the time, it left out one very important fact – Scott’s sense of direction is amazingly worse than mine!
It was a beautiful day and had we been running half the distance, it would have been perfect. However, 44 miles in good weather with no wind eventually takes it’s toll; but for now, I was running in second place with confidence, rythym and no one in sight.
On arrival in Catrine I was under 3 hours so still on target. I’d left a bag with one of the marshalls so I changed my footwear, removed a layer of clothing and grabbed a ½ ltr of electrolite I’d made up that morning. I don’t usually take electrolite but I thought, “Hey, I need every bit of help I can get, and what harm can it do” … little did I know!
On the way to Barskimming I downed my ½ ltr and immediately felt a bit ‘bagged’ up.
Barskimming has yet another new route. Louise was at the start and she told me that Scott was about 17 minutes ahead; I could forget about him then. I don’t normally enjoy tarmac during a long race but even with my fast upsetting tummy it was quite a delight going through the neatly coiffured grounds. At the exit, Anneke was marshalling. Expecting her to tell me that Scott was now about 30 minutes ahead I was astonished to discover he was within 2. Yes, good old Scott had got lost yet again.
Through Failford and into the gorge where I began to feel that I may have to disgorge. My times really started to go to pot here and when I came out at Sorn, it was all I could do not to throw up at Anne’s feet as she was cheering me on (sorry Anne).
Charlie caught me just after Annbank. I was really pleased to see him because he looked as if he was runing well and would be able to hold 2nd place to the end. I doubted at this point that I’d even make it to the end and about a mile from Annbank I fell retching to the ground and proceeded to empty my stomach. I immediately felt better but knew that I was now running on empty.
George was waiting to cheer us on at Tarholm Bridge. Great to see the old guy. Amazing that he still gets out and about at 97 (hope matron knew he’d got out).
Auchincruive was another morale booster with Tim, Anne and Toni all telling me that it was too close to give up. I grabbed a mouthfull of elderberries as I ran past a convenient tree and they gave me much needed sugar and a bit of carbo.
I was caught by another guy as I staggered along Tomato Lane. At this point George cycled up and told me that I was still in 3rd place. “No, surely you mean 4th” said I. George went on to explain that Scott from Portobello had taken yet another wrong turn and was now about 1 mile behind me. (Instead of turning left from Auchincruive and going over Oswald’s Bridge, he’d gone straight on – ploughed fields, large bulls and zero paths were his lot). Should have gone to Specsavers.
I reached Ayr in 3rd place but was caught by yet another guy as I went past Kyle Academy. He kindly offered to run with me but I told him that I couldn’t raise my pace at all, so off he went to an eventual 3rd place.
My final placing was 4th and I was pleased with that. I was exhausted at the finish and felt awfull. My own stupid fault for taking the electrolite when not used to it. I’ve often advised people not to take such things unless they’re used to them – wish I’d taken my own advice. I was slower by 7 minutes this year but I still managed to beat the 7 hours at 6:58.
The winner was Charlie. Well deserved and keeps the Tortoises as Ayrshire’s no 1. Great stuff Charlie.
Slept in Ian forgot to turn his watch on so we’ll need to wait to get his time and placing but he looked as if he’d just been out for a leisurely jog when I saw him at the finish.
Hop-a-long Bobby came in on his slowest time even although, considering the injury he was carrying, he ran a brilliant race. As he finished he shouted to me, “Important thing – did my record survive?” Yes Boabee, you’re still the man.
Portobello Scott eventually finished. It’s reckoned he lost about 1 hour with his wanderings around the Ayrshire countryside. However, he viewed it quite philosophically and told me, “I may not have won but I at least achieved a pb – FOR 50 MILES!”