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Glencoe (Mamores) Half Marathon Race Report

Glencoe (Mamores) Half Marathon Sunday 8 September 2019 Race Report

Well, what can I say except that this was an absolutely amazing event. I’ll apologise now for the length of this report, but it was so much fun.

The initial thinking was to run the full marathon, but an injury in May and a general feeling that that was beyond me meant that I decided to try the Half. Even then, I have been fairly nervous about doing this, as I haven’t run a lot of hills and trails in the past. I might grind to a halt on those elevations!

Travelling up the night before, the weather in Fort William was fabulous, and today promised to be a great day for running. Although today was slightly more cloudy and cooler, that made for perfect running conditions.

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The Half starts in Kinlochleven, and the start seemed very organised. We met Sarah Petrie before the start, which was a nice surprise and before we knew it the officials called the runners together, starting in waves 5 minutes apart. I went in the second wave.

We had the slightly unusual experience of cheering some runners through the start before we set off - the Half start is the halfway point of the full marathon, with both sets of runners then following the same route. 4 or 5 marathon runners went past before the Half started, the full having set off 2 hours earlier.

The route starts fairly flat until turning off onto track and up a steep route. The second km had an elevation of 140m (329m over the first 6km) but after that it undulated for most of the central section until a fabulous downhill at the end (222m over the last 5km).

The route follows a chunk of the West Highland Way, it was mixed terrain although many sections were slightly stony so you had to keep your wits about you. I saw quite a few people at the end with scrapes and grazes from tripping, thankfully I survived without a fall.

It follows the south west of the Mamores Mountains, until descending into Glen Nevis.

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There were lots of walkers on the route, which I thought might be problematic but quite the contrary. Most of them were conscious of the runners, made way, held gates and best of all shouted encouragement which was really nice.

There was a food station around the halfway mark, which was very well stocked with drinks, food, sweets, etc. How they got all that stuff up there is anyone’s guess. It even had port and cheese which I had forgotten about! Just as well, a port with 8k to run may not have had a good outcome!

I had the strange experience at that point of bumping into a neighbour who was walking WHW with her family.

Being my first race of this nature, I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was lovely not to feel the pressure of pace like you often do in a road race, and whilst I didn’t necessarily hold back, I wasn’t concerned at walking the most hilly bits, taking some photos, and I had a couple of short chats with other runners which was nice.

I had no idea how I would fare in this race, and so had got into my head, based upon training runs, that I would be 2:30 or so. Add to that the fact that I have had a cold this week, I was far from confident beforehand, and indeed more nervous than I would normally be.

Ironically, a break from running this week seems to have meant that my legs were fairly fresh. Once the first, hilly 10k was over, I realised that my time prediction was a pessimistic one, and that I would be a bit below that, which gave me a real boost. Official time still awaited, but it’s likely to be around 2:07/08, which I was delighted with.

The finish is at Glen Nevis Visitor Centre under the shadow of Ben Nevis. The finish area was really good, with food & drink available, some stalls, massage & you could even get a pint (tempting!).

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Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this race. The organisation was in the main really good, and the whole event felt very friendly. The scenery was fabulous, although admittedly the weather has a huge impact on the experience. Whilst the elevation scared me beforehand, it really wasn’t too difficult, and certainly manageable for most.

You never know, you might be reading my Glencoe Marathon report in a year’s time.

Michael Royden

 

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