Weather conditions were good at 6am as the race started. Cool with a slight breeze. The Runner and I went for a leisurely cooked breakfast in The Green Welly which was open specially for the race. Beardie, Hippy Chick and Allyski had to dash off to make sure they were at Bridge of Orchy in time for Mr Record Holder.
We arrived at Inveroran where we had arranged to meet Mr Race Director in plenty time to see the front runners run down the hill. The Runner thought some people were a bit fast but everyone looked comfortable enough. By this time the midgies were starting to appear. We wished everyone luck through our midgies hoods.
Next stop was Kingshouse where we met with Sonic and his Laydee with a Baby. By this time it was starting to rain. It was windy and cold. But the midgies didn't seem care. They were out in force. Sonic bravely drank a coffee I made him that ended up being half coffee/half midgie! The Runner ran up the path to met with Mr RD. Later he said Mr RD was looking good but by the time they reached me he was "having a bad patch." We poured lots of Coke, 'suicide gel' and banana into him and sent him on his way.
45 mins later we met him at the bottom of the Devil's staircase. He looked and felt much better. The Runner changed into his running gear and they both set off up the hill.
I drove on to Kinlochleven and noticed that my ankle was starting to really ache. I parked in the usual place and set up the wee stove etc to heat the soup and water for coffee. The Runner planned to have some (tinned)soup here. Most cans now have ringpulls on them and the beans, spaghetti and tomato soup cans I brought all had one. However, the chicken soup didn't. Undaunted I got the tomato soup ready to heat and then sat in the car, not expecting them arrive for ages. M&M stopped briefly for a chat but the midgies were horrendous so he kept on moving. He was running back to Kingshouse.
Just as I was thinking there were about 20 mins before my runners appeared I got out to start warming the soup and making coffee. I got out the car to find The Runner approaching. They were ahead of schedule. Mr RD was running well despite being at the back of the field. They set off in good spirits with the sweeper and I was left to clear up. By the time I left Kinlochleven I was the only car left. Even the officials had left!
As I left the town my phone went crazy. I hadn't had a signal since Kingshouse so the 5 texts and 3 voice messages, from people wanting to know how it was going, all arrived at the same time. I pulled into a layby as I knew I would lose it again by the time I reached Lundavra. Beardie had left a message to say that Mr Record Holder had finished in a new record time. 5 hours 22 mins for 43 miles!
As I drove up to my favourite(!) place at Lundavra I knew that my ankle needed some medical attention. I took my shoe and sock off (big mistake) to find that I had a tennis ball sized puffy lump around my joint. I raided my first aid kit and sprayed it with freeze spray. Didn't work. I tried to put a Tubigrip on it but it was the wrong size. So when The Runner and Mr RD arrived we quickly changed the plan. Mr RD set off with the sweeper and The Runner took me to A&E at Fort William.
Fortunately, I was seen very quickly. An x-ray ruled out a break and I was bandaged up in plenty of time to see Mr RD finish in a fantastic time of 10 hours 45 mins. Well done! Just look at the determination as he crosses the finish line with 5 other runners behind him.
It really was a pleasure to provide the backup. He's much nicer and is more appreciative than The Runner at checkpoints!
After the race there was much talk about the 24 hour race in Perth. It looks like a few runners are planning on being there. I guess I should start practising putting up the new tent The Runner bought for his base!