I may not be competing in this year’s West Highland Way Race anymore, having withdrawn from the race following the birth of my son, but, reading back over my blog posts from last year, it’s clear that this was one of the most exciting times of my running life.
In the weeks leading up to the race, I was filled with mixed emotions, feelings of anticipation, excitement, fear, dread, self doubt and, mostly, a sense that I was about to embark on something totally new and challenging, stepping (or should that be running!) into the unknown.
Make the most of these last few weeks. For many, they rank among the most difficult. Most of you will be starting to taper and it is often in this period that you will find yourself focussed on aches, pains and niggles that go unnoticed in the course of normal training.
Savour the last few weeks of the build up and, of course, the amazing weekend of the race. It can best be compared to Christmas – a long build up to the event and then, BAM!, it’s over for yet another year before you even realise. Of course, for most of us mere mortals, The West Highland Way Race will last the best part of 2 days so, in that respect, there’s more to enjoy! With a lot of effort and a bit of luck, you will hopefully all receive your Crystal Goblet, welcoming you to The West Highland Way Race family.
I will be following the race over the weekend, no doubt wishing I was there at times. However, I am in no doubt that I did make the correct decision to withdraw from this years race, so that I could focus on the family and savour the time with our new addition.
Runners, be sure to appreciate your support crew. Anyone who is prepared to give up an entire weekend to follow and support you on your exploits is truly special.
It might also be worth discussing the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish) beforehand. Given how my weekend went, had I not discussed DNF with my crew in the weeks leading up to the race, there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line in Fort William. Thankfully, we had ruled out any mention of a DNF for all but the most extreme circumstances and, with this discussion out of the way, there was no mention of quitting on race weekend.
My support crew were exceptional and, without a doubt, were the only reason that I did finally make it to Fort William. I will never forget the part that they played in my success.
Good luck to you all and, especially, to Ian Minty, who is running his first West Highland Way Race having acted as my support runner last year, accompanying me from Auchentyre Farm to the end in Fort William.
Here’s my account of the 2012 West Highland Way Race:
- Build Up: The West Highland Way Race – The Final Countdown
- Build Up: 3 Sleeps Until #whwrace
- Race Report: Against All Odds – The Quest For A WHW Race Goblet
- The West Highland Way Race 2012 Gallery
I would definitely recommend that you commit your race experience to a blog or journal of some sorts. It’s a great reminder of the experience and something you can look back on for years to come. Of all the blog posts that I have written, these are the ones that I return to most, reminding me just what I am capable of achieving with some training, some support, and a lot of determination and stubbornness!