Monday, 3 September 2012

A View of Glenmore 24

Last year’s race at Glenmore was such a blast that I knew I would enter the 24-hour for this year. Unfortunately my alternative training methods meant that there was no chance of even doing justice to the 12-hour. I was still keen to head to Glenmore for the party though! Erm, I mean help-out / assist / be-of-use...

After a wee stop at the Tiso sale on the way up we arrive to a flustered John Duncan about ten minutes before the starting horn. We’re given instructions to make purple drinks and egg mayo sandwiches.  Crewing is harder than I thought;
Is that too much egg mayo?
Which way does he want the rolls cut?
What is the best way to wrap them in foil so that they are accessible?
Did he say two bottles and two scoops?
The powder is clumping in the bottle. It’s overflowing. Should I have poured some water out beforehand?
This doesn’t bode well for my crewing position at the World 24-hour Championships next weekend. I should stick to running.  

The laps are a four mile loop consisting of trail and forestry track with both the 12-hour and 24-hour race starting at midday. Half-way round the first lap John throws up by the loch. Apparently there were a few people partying at the campsite the night before… Lorna swigs some wine after the second lap to quell the taste of her vomiting session on the course as well. The lifestyle of an ultra-runner is not an easy one.    

Karen and George are considering a cycle but are spending a considerable amount of time pre-fuelling on Snickers and crisps. Once they’re off on their adventure we chase a fly-away gazebo which has snapped in the wind. John comes round from another lap to find chaos has erupted at his food station. Norrie’s family are pitched in the tent next door and valiantly hold the structure off the course until we attempt to fold it back together.

I’m learning more runner’s names and it’s nice to put a face to names I’ve heard about. Scott and I walk a backwards loop snapping photos of runners walking up hills. Mike Raffan and Bob Steele are leading the race although there are mixed rumours as to whether they are doing the 12 or 24-hour. Later when I walk a lap ant-hill hunting with Lorna, I get the urge to do some jogging and join Carolyn for a few laps. She’s thinking about trying for 60 miles. I do some mathematics and tell her to go for 100km. She tells me that she can’t be bothered with that sort of distance! Norrie’s having a hard time coming down the hill and his wife and mother get sent up with a blanket and some tough love for him. His body has called it a night for him but he’s had a great run up until now.

Lorna’s not out of the 12-hour race but is having an extended break which lasted until the end of the 24-hour race. I arrive back at the tent to find the Wayward Four of Lorna, Scott, Karen and George abusing the runners with various catch-phrases. Donald trots past in his tartan breakers totally confused by the random assortment of phrases flying in his direction.

As it gets dark I decide to plod a lap. I catch Bob Steele although I didn’t know it was him I was talking to. I blether away to him until the check-point half-way round. He takes off out of the check-point at a reasonable pace to get away from my nattering. I keep the marshals company until the next runner comes along as I’m actually a bit spooked out running on my own in the dark. I hear the ladies before I see them… it’s Sandra with Louise! They let me join their talk train to finish off the lap. When we come through the start/finish area it’s 11pm. This means the 12-hour runners are now on small laps until midnight. It’s fantastic watching all the runners racing around the wee loop with their head torches on and the crowd cheering them on…

The horn goes off for midnight and the party begins!  I sit around the fire with a few quality ladies, a bunch of middle-aged men and George who falls into neither category. There’s a few rounds of musical chairs and some curry-flavoured pot noodle. With the 24-hour runners still going I try to keep my eye out for them coming past to give them a cheer. It must be very lonely running past a warm fire surrounded by people drinking. Wives are being roped into running more and more laps as the number of runners and spectators around the course reduces. I sneak off to a much warmer tent than last years.

Just after 4am I decide to survey the port-a-loos. On my way I spot a lone figure with a head torch leaning over a box of supplies. It’s Grant and the marshals tell me that he’s covered 92 miles which is amazing. I feel quite sorry for him leaning over his box at a crazy-hour of the morning after having run so far. I wish him luck and retreat back to the comfort of my air mattress.

It’s not much of a surprise when I hear the horn start going off from about 6am for the runners passing through their 100-mile mark. I’ll confess I did sleep through a number of these horns and was eventually woken by a coffee and bacon roll entering the tent. Nice touch thanks Scott but I still don't think you'll be getting breakfast in bed tomorrow. We set out on a recovery walk backwards around the track to watch the 24-hour runners power through. There are some runners looking really good! We chat to Bill at the half-way mark and he lets us in on their secret: sleep.  I think Colin Knox had more sleep than me if the rumours are correct J Not a bad psychological tactic though because the other runners must have felt terrible watching these rested men zoom past!

We make it back to the campsite as runners begin their small laps. Mike Raffan has thrown off his shoes and is flying around the loops barefoot! Rab Lee had a sleeping competition with Ray McCurdy and as a result is also soaring around in his green kilt. Spectators are jostling for position on the sidelines.  We haven’t seen crowds like that since we watched the men’s triathlon in London during the Olympics. The horn goes off as Rab is tearing down the side of the hill. Everyone puts their sticks in the ground and that’s the race over.

We have a BBQ feast once everyone has regained consciousness. My face and pointy chin have made the cover of the beer bottles this year along with the other starters from last year.  Huge congratulations to all the runners and a big thank you to Bill and Mike for letting us come and hang out. Visit Glenmore24 for the results.

Now I’ve got a night to pack for Poland and prepare myself for my role crewing for New Zealand at the World IAU 24-hour Championships in Katowice. No beer drinking or catch phrases allowed!

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