Ben Nevis Race

Having entered way back in January when in good health this became my main target for the summer hoping to break the 2 hour barrier. However come April things started to go downhill eventually being diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis and by June it had became a case of nursing my way through the summer to get to the Ben. A busy spell through July saw me getting a few hill races under my belt and after a week to recover hopes were high that I may get there in better shape than expected. However I then managed to go over on the same ankle which had been causing all my problems and once again the aim became just to get there.

So standing all strapped up on the start line the target had drifted from under 2 hrs past 2:05 and now 2:10 was looking more realistic. However the forecast rain hadn’t arrived and although the winds were high it wasn’t too cool so conditions were better than my previous attempt, although to be fair they could hardly have been worse. After a brisk start round the football pitch I was soon losing places as we moved up the road and it looked like a bad day was in store, but once onto the hillside things improved and only congestion on the path was causing frustration as I found myself walking more than I would have liked. Once the Red Burn was reached everybody was spreading out a bit and I started progressing through the field although the wind was pretty strong by now and visibility was getting limited as we moved into the cloud base. Once on the summit the wind was howling and it was pretty unpleasant so all respect to the marshals who had to man the top and were still able to offer a cheery face and plenty encouragement.

Turning in under 1 hr22 was promising being 8 mins under my previous run but with a dodgy ankle I wasn’t looking forward to the descent. However despite not pushing it I was surprised to be picking up a number of places all the way back to the Red Burn despite a couple of tumbles. At this point I became a bit more protective of my ankle though and the guys in front stopped coming back to me and pulled clear a bit after I took a couple of bad route choices, the second of which saw me sliding through some gie squelchy mud until coming to an abrupt halt when my knee crashed into a rock. Getting to my feet a little gingerly it took me a wee while to get going again but by the time I reached the road I was running freely again as indeed was the blood coming out of my knee. A good run down the road, which I hadn’t been looking forward to, got me back in a time of 1:05:50 and 105th place, much better than I had expected although by now my leg was covered in blood.

So after a limited build-up much less miles and hills under my belt than anticipated a result which has me pretty confident of going back and beating the 2 hour barrier, I only need to get there in one piece and back.