The Glenmore 24hour Trail race was held on 3rd September in the Highlands of Scotland in the Cairngorm National Park, just outside Aviemore. There was a 12 hour or 24 hour option running round a 4-mile course doing as many laps as you could within the allotted time. The race started at midday on the Saturday.
Tim and I drove up on the Friday afternoon and stayed with friends just down the road. I sorted my clothes out for the next day and went through what Tim had to do for me during the race – its not often that he listens to me so had to make the most of it!!!
Runners were able to have crew if they wanted – although not essential in this race it was very helpful! The race organisers provided hot water and drinking water. Runners had to provide all their food for the 12/24 hours.
I had packed a large plastic box full of my running kit as I didn’t know what the weather was going to be like, Tim commented that perhaps I had slightly over done the clothes, however, during the race I used nearly everything except for the waterproofs!!
We arrived at about 9.30am on Saturday, registered, chatted to various people then headed to the research tent for instructions! The research team were looking at the effects that long distance running has on the body, something which I would love to know more about so became one of their guinea pigs. Peeing into a test tube wasn’t exactly easy in a porter loo, holding your mouth open for two minutes and dribbling into a test tube was interesting, blood samples, weight, BMI, electrodes were put onto my feet and hand, this machine recorded the amount of water you had in and out of your cells. All this information was then popped into an armband; this I wore for the duration of the race and it would keep a track of all my bodily functions!
The loop started and finished at the race village. It would go round the field, up the hill then down onto single track, eventually opening out onto wider tack with a long hill in the middle section, then down hill to the race village; sounds easy! Although the course wasn’t at all technical the more tired you got the more difficult it became running on loose stones.
My aim for the race was to try and get to 120 miles, but after the first loop I knew this was going to be a tough call, especially as my body hadn’t fully recovered from my Double Badwater.
After the race briefing we were set on our way. I had planned to start mid pack and relax, but no, I found myself at the front and not relaxing!
It took a couple of loops to feel a bit more comfortable. I found on the 1st loop my heart rate was too high and I was sweating a lot. My body wasn’t feeling what I call my “race ready feeling” After a while I found myself running on my own which I loved as this gave me the time to concentrate on the race for a while.
I was expecting to see lots of people as I ran round, but actually I didn’t, some people I never saw for the entire race. Rab and Sharkey were a great source of entertainment when I came across them, always positive and full of banter.
There was a CP at the halfway point, this was always good to run past as they would cheer you on and encouraged you as they took down your number. I had my own water bottle with me so didn’t use the CP except for once during the early hours of the morning when I was hit by the sleep monsters, Mike very kindly walked and chatted with me up the hill, just what I needed.
Tim was doing a great job. Each time I came to the end of the loop he would hand me water/electrolytes if needed and ask what I would like to eat. As I continued round the field he would run to our tent, grab my food then meet me as I came up the hill, worked really well and he got some exercise!!!
Food with me is a big issue on races. I often wonder how good an Ultra Runner I would be if I could get it sorted. My appetite goes completely and anything I eat tastes horrid and dry, I’m not able to have the usual carbo drinks or gels, as my body doesn’t like sugar.
There were a few low points. The first was stopping at the mid CP when I felt tired, then a couple of laps later I was walking like a drunk and kept finding myself nearly falling into the heather. Because I was walking my body temperature went right down, even running down the hill didn’t warm me up – I found out later that the temperature had dropped to minus 2! No wonder I was cold.
On arriving at the start/finish line I was extremely cold and tired and not in a positive frame of mind. Sue made me eat something, time gave me a coffee and I was wrapped up to get my body temperature up. All I wanted to do was to have a sleep but didn’t want to loose my place. Bill checked the leaderboard telling me that the next girl was two laps behind me and it was taking her 50 minutes plus to complete a lap, decision made I went for a 45 minute sleep.
After the sleep I felt much better and had a few good laps. Watching the sun come up was a wonderful sight and to make the day even better a deer ran across the track in front of me.
Passing the 100-mile point was a great moment and to mark the occasion the hooter goes off! Now to see how many more I could squeeze out of my tired legs!
Coming into the start/finish with only 2 ½ hours to go gave me a real boost and being the quiet shy person that I am I shared the moment with the camp!!
My last pad patch was about 8 – 9ish on Sunday morning when I was sick, no idea why then felt queasy for about an hour, my legs were still working so just kept going.
The final two laps I decided that I was going to relax and enjoy myself. I ran the 1st bit then met up with Jeroen who was walking, great to chat and I thoroughly enjoyed his company.
The final lap I walked with Tim. He hadn’t seen the course and for me it was a fantastic way to finish the race.
I completed my 1st 24hour trail race running a total distance of 112 miles in a time of 23:22:35 finishing 3rd overall and 1st female so very happy.
When I entered the G24 I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, however Mike and Bill put on a superb race, the course was stunning, the atmosphere along the course and in the race village was fantastic. Andrew and the medical team were always available in camp as well as being out on the course checking runners. The Marshalls and support crew were enthusiastic and cheerful, they cheered every runner in as they completed another lap whatever time of day or night it was and Scotland produced fantastic weather!
All in all I can’t think of a single negative about the race. Thanks to Mike and Bill for organizing a marvellous event and to everyone who helped look after us you were outstanding
A very special thanks goes of course to my husband Tim (HWMBO) who looked after me brilliantly, gave me a hug when needed and never complained – even though he would rather have been fishing!
Congratulations to everyone who took part in both the 12 hour and 24 hour race, I hope to meet you again on the trails.