134th Igs Robun 16:44:51
Salomon Skyline Series
Mamores Vertical Kilometre – 13th Sept.
147th Ali Nash 63:06
Ben Nevis Ultra – 14th Sept.
98th Ali Nash 5:47:39
Glen Coe Skyline 16th Sept.
196th Bernadette Cook 8:29:08
Ali Nash reports ...
Mr Huntsman, our PE master at school, he was a right twat. All crisp manufacturers, mostly Seabrooks, but I'll happily throw KP in the mix for beefy Hula Hoops.... and Mr McVitie for all of his digestive-based confection range. Jane and Malcolm from across the road, and Mr Shigeru Miyamoto, who invented the Nintendo wii fit. A random selection? No, a 30 year perfect storm. The use of cross country as a punishment..... introduced my hatred of endurance running, vast quantities of confection made me a right fatty and then the 2013 New Years Party at 2am after stepping onto a Wii fit and it categorising me as obese.....something had to change.....
Run the Vertical Kilometre in the afternoon and then next morning be ready on the start line for the Ben Nevis Ultra...... Off to Scotlands West Highlands for the Vertical Kilometre World Series, Ben Nevis Ultra World Championships, Ring of Steall Skyrace and then the Glencoe Skyline, throw in 3 film nights and after party.... what a 4 day programme!
"....with the exception of the World Championships or the Olympics, this is without doubt the greatest elite field ever assembled on U.K soil of Sky, Trail and Mountain runners. It's a who's who of the Skyrunning world with the best all assembled in one place in what will be an absolutely incredible weekend of racing...." although when I entered I had no idea that the VK and Ultra were going to feature so high on the world calendar. I may have ( yet again) bitten off more than I can chew..... Nowhere else could you have been rubbing shoulders with the worlds elite, Dakota Jones having toast and a brew in the Kinlochleven Ice Factor cafe, Sage Canaday, Remi Bonnet, Laura Orgue... the whole Salomon team..... bumping into Kilian Jornet buying a 6 pack of jam tarts in the CO-OP ( I did the same and ate all 6 just to be on the safe side...) Insane!
The VK - An incredible leg burning and lung busting ascent from sea level to Munro summit at 3327ft in 3 miles. 480 runners, 40 nationalities and 80 internationals.... It's just a parkrun. I was ready for it this year, plenty of seriously hard hill work combined with ultra distance training. Bring it on. Tuning in to the local weather forecast was a mistake "....it's all set to go to shit at 3pm..." I was starting at 3:10pm. Oh cock. Little did I know how accurate that forecast was, Scotweather reports from the mountain started to filter through.... lower levels "pishing doon" turning to "bullet stanes" at mid mountain, with "it's pure f***ing Baltic, pal" on the summit. Throw in a wind gusting 60mph....and a -8c wind chill for fun.
Feeling a tad overdressed with a t-shirt under my club vest, introduced to the crowds on the start line as " the familiar face of Ali Nash" as usual, Nash style it was full beans from the off, going bloody well until about 2500ft when the half of my body facing the weather started to seize up. It looked a bit like the death zone up there, I'll forever remember the haunting sight of a bearded ginger chap perched precariously on a 50 degree slope facing the maelstrom with a look of utter befuddlement...slowly shaking his head. By the top 500ft summit ridge I was in a mess, certain death to both sides, 'pure f***ing Baltic' and reaching the summit cairn falling over twice, failing 3x to hit the timer and worst of all forgetting to stop Garmin. In the lee of the ridge I joined a huddle of runners putting on every possible piece of clothing for the hypothermic descent. The ginger chap was still there on the way down....
How bad was it? apparently the three event safety teams were all up there and Glencoe Mountain Rescue assisted the last off the mountain at 1am. All for a 50 second PB.
No way was I doing the ultra in the morning. No bloody way.
6am, back in the zone, dressed for action, the camp breakfast of champions inside me (ready brek, toast, tea and crumpets), feeling ever so slightly the poor relation as the team managers for the Czech, Dutch and Polish teams fetched them breakfast, although listening to the poor Aussies complaining that this wasn't their usual gourmet peanut butter made up for it.......ffs.
An announcement that we would be avoiding Ben Nevis summit due to 100kph winds, lying snow and dire conditions, meant a slightly revised route, but still a toughie. The first 3 miles a 2500ft climb, then rough single track, trackless tundra followed by bog and swamp descent, waterfalls, river and stream crossings and good tough ground. 13 miles in - Bloody loving it. 19 miles in - looking for a suitable stream to wash down the desperation nutrition of a mouthful of leaves and moss. A kindly rambler informed me the aid station at the Ben Nevis visitor centre was 200 yards away with tables loaded with grub and drinks. Arse. At this point I'll cut Mr McVitie some slack, forcing down some Jaffa cakes during a smash and grab raid through the aid station before joining the West Highland Way for 12 miles or so back to Kinlochleven. I hate the West Highland Way, every rocky, pebbly, steppy, wet, undulating inch of it. After the hundredth a false summit I happened upon a bearded ginger chap, sat facing the next undulating section disappearing over the horizon uttering the immortal words "git oot ma face ya wee scunner". He was beyond help. Again.
Who were those Baildon runners supporting everyone in the middle of nowhere??? They said it was 11km left......it was 13.... ( never trust a Baildon Runner) with 2k left "you can smell Kinlochleven from here!" even better I could see it! 5hrs 47 minutes....EXACTLY the same time it took to drive the 287 miles home.
What a blast, finished off watching the elites come down from the Ring of Steall, a 29km/ 2500m skyrace. Unfinished business. VK & Ring of Steall 2019???