Well that soon came round. The Ben Nevis race is one of my favourites and although its a huge journey north to get there I dont mind it one bit. It takes about 6 hrs there and a bit longer back as your legs are aching and it takes three times as long to walk into the services and get your Starbucks. Race morning I had a lie in because the race doesnt start until 1.00pm so there's not the usual rush to get to the start.
I wandered into Claggan Park to the sound of the Pipe Band in the background and registered to get my summit tag and numbers. You have to put a number front and back for the Ben race. No shirtless running here.
I had a steady start and was determined to not go mad on the road. The climb as always goes on forever and my back was aching by the time I had a quick drink at the red burn. My plan was to use the scree on the way down to make a bit of time up and it worked because as soon as I handed my tag into the summit marshal I floored it back down. A few risks and I tried not to think about falling. Only once did I miss judge it and caught the inside of my left leg on a rock and to the shout of B.////.,cks I carried on withg my left leg in agony. The grassy bank slowed me down and I literally fell back into the burn and had another drink. Down the walkers path and dodging lots of tourists on the steps and down to the road which was the usual plod back to the playing field. The announcer shouted my name and I was sure I would beat my aim of sub 1hr 50. I class anyone who goes under this time as special. Everyone who completes the Ben is a top runner as running up 4406ft and back down is damm hard and you struggle to train for it unless you live near it. So just my luck I finished dead on 1 hr 50mins in 18th place. I was gutted to not go under as I could have pinched a few seconds for sure and I suppose if I had a stopwatch I would have pushed a bit harder but I wasnt moaning really. There's always next year.
A nice Steak after the race in great company and a couple of beers and I was ready for sleep. I collected my certificate and watched all the winners get their trophies. Other runners seemed to want to stay up all night but now Im a vet 40 those days have long gone. I had 2 x beers, some of the others had a few more with a few glasses of red wine thrown in.
So I think Ive done something like 1hr53, 1hr 52, 1hr 51, 1 hr 50 for this race. It really is a special one amd maybe who knows I might just reach 21 races and get a plaque.