Thanks to all of you who took the time to read and/or comment on my initial blog posting. It is much appreciated and I hope that my postings will not disappoint! My initial ‘Setting the scene’ post came together quite easily but I have to admit that this, the ‘difficult second post’ was a lot more troublesome. It’s not that I have run out of things to say (already!) – Quite the opposite in fact. So many things have happened since my last post and, on top of that, I wanted to share more of my journey from 10k to ultras.
I decided that the stories can wait for following posts and that I will, instead, mark the completion of the Montane sponsored Scottish Ultra Marathon Series (S.U.M.S.) for 2011 as this has been the main focus of my running efforts this year.
The Series, created in 2010, brought together 9 of Scotland’s ultra marathon races, both old and new, ranging from 33 miles to 96 miles in length.
In 2010, the year in which I ran my first ultras, I completed 2 out of the 3 Series races which I entered.
In 2011, I completed all 6 of the Series races I entered. I came in 39th position overall in the males results table so not exactly troubling the series leaders. 44 males completed the 4 ultras required to participate in the Series. A great many more males and females participated in the Series overall and some 380 runners started the Montane Highland Fling, the largest of the S.U.M.S. ultras – testament to the growing popularity of ultra running in the UK.
Given that I did all of this whilst tipping the scales at just over 15 stones, I regard 2011 as a successful year! At approximately 5 feet 9 inches and with a less than adonis like physique it should be obvious to all that I am far from athletic in terms of build. Indeed, at the start of many of these events, surrounded by typically athletic looking runners, I have looked around and evaluated the possibility that I might just come in last. This has not happened yet but there would certainly be no shame if it did. As far as I am concerned, ‘to finish is to win’ and whilst this may sound like a cliché, I am almost certain that, for the majority of the Series participants, it is completion that they strive for.
Six people, including myself, completed 6 of the 9 races that make up the series, with 1 person each completing 7, 8 & 9 races respectively. When I look back on 2011 it will be in a positive light. Not only did I banish the demons of my 2010 DNF – I completed 6 ultras (albeit slowly), something that I would never have thought possible even a year ago! Along the way, I got to savour some of the finest countryside Scotland has to offer and to meet lots of great people.
Congratulations to all who participated and a huge thank you to all race directors, marshals and helpers, without whom none of the above would have been possible.
I can now turn my attention to 2012 and to attaining goals both old and new. Reading back over this post, it has turned in to another ‘scene setter’ in some respects. From this point on, I will be blogging on my preparation for 2012 and with regard to lessons learned along the way. Hopefully you will join me and, in the meantime, why not check out the Series for yourself and remember to Aim high!