Without a doubt, my completion of the 95 mile West Highland Way Race in 2012 ranks as my all-time running achievement to date. That weekend in June changed me and, to this day, I still think back to what I learned over the course of the weekend.
95 miles in under 35 hours with 14,760ft of ascent would have been enough of a challenge. However, I also had to contend with apocalyptic weather conditions, explosive diarrhoea and projectile vomiting. Overall, it amounted to a very challenging 31 hours, 1 minute and 50 seconds of running! Not the time I was aiming for but, under the circumstance, one that I am very happy with.
That weekend was a roller-coaster of highs and lows like I had never experienced before and it redefined just how low I could go and yet still carry on.
I had briefed my support team to expect to see me at my worst throughout the weekend. Little had I expected, however, that this was actually going to be the case!
What’s more, we had only just found out that my wife Leanne was pregnant with our first child days before the race. To this day, I still feel guilty for putting her through the stress of seeing me at my worst.
In a lot of respects, I had the easy part. All I had to do was keep moving forward. My support crew however, had to witness what happened to me through the course of the weekend and to try, where possible, to keep me fed and watered and moving towards Fort William – not an easy task given my reluctance to consume anything for fear that it would soon exit from one end of me or the other! To this day I cannot figure out exactly how I managed to keep moving.
I’ve collated various blog posts relating to The West Highland Way Race below. Be warned, it wasn’t pretty!