Monday, 13 November 2017

Loch Ness Marathon 2017

Nessie on her home turf


For millions of years I have lurked peacefully in my home Loch of Ness. There was a brief period when my home was subjected to inspection from nosy tourists but they do not cause me too much bother. However, since 2002, there is one day a year when some non-swimming folk pound the ground next to my Loch of Ness. I poked my head up a few times to check out the action and fortunately no one spotted me. They were too busy staring at the neon shoes of the runner in front. There is quite a number of these folk. So, I have decided to give the event a go myself. 
Today I have donned a kilt and Scottish bonnet in an attempt to fit in with the running creatures. I even stayed in accommodation with three older blokes and took a wheeled machine with the ordinary humans to the start line. The boys got quite the surprise when I walked out of the bedroom in the morning. Fortunately, my wheeled machine had a toilet but I must say that the entering of said machines is a bit of a shambles. One in front of us even broke down! 
Nessie with kilt (because the costume was for a 7 year old and my physique differs from that of a child's) 
The heathered landscape creates a barren start. Fortunately, the man in charge of our wheeled machine lets the human folks and myself stay sheltered inside. He is what is referred to as a good bloke. In typical running event fashion, there are not enough port-a-loos and many creatures have to go heather. Going heather when you are the Loch Ness Monster is a difficult endeavor. 

All creatures huddled together near a sign that read 4:30. Overly ambitious for some among us (Norm, who interestingly tries to take off ahead without us noticing). Keith keeps his pace calm while Ally and I go slightly ahead. Running proved more difficult than expected due to overpopulation issues. There are not many of us in Loch Ness but far too many squeezed onto this road. These human folk are making me cough and sneeze. Must be their germs I am not used to. 
After a few miles, I pass two of my cousins who are also having a go at this land maneuvering event. They are also named Nessie as we have strict naming guidelines in our community. And all you humans just thought there was one of us! International guests are particularly joyful at my presence; they can go home and tell their loved ones that they have indeed seen the Loch Ness Monster. I do aim to please.

The land is undulating. Like waves. But I live in a loch where we have less waves and more boat splash. I am surprised at the undulation. Perhaps I should have read the land description; I think it was on page 712 of the advertising pdf I was sent. However, downloading limits are tight below the surface. I've not trained for this event; how do you train from the depths of a loch? 
With a long-legged land dweller

One of the land dwellers tickles my fancy and I decide to run with him. His name is Scott. Like the land. After a while he needs to relieve himself so I travel backwards up the hills waiting for him. We rejoin at about half way. Despite having longer legs than me, he is looking a little worse for wear. He's not looking as bad as the some of the long legged folk though. Everyone is busting their legs to stay hanging out with the infamous Nessie. Some others have donned kilts too; family tartans like mine I assume. A spectator cheers out for a crocodile which makes me speed up in fear. However, I suspect he was cheering for me and just wasn't a local. I have deceived him. 

An issue I wasn't expecting was chaffing. Down my neck. Down my sides. Chaffing that was to leave scars. It turns out monsters have side seams and head pieces. Engineer ?????? suggested that for my next running attempt, I attach the head piece to a cap to stop it moving around so much. A wise thought. Vision is limited. That's just a down-side of being Nessie. Most of the route has been a small road with trees. It sounds nice but after a while it is rather boring. Even the sight of my home loch is not as interesting from above. 

We pass through a small village and the few spectators who are out give great cheers. The fine rain (it soaks you through) does not bother me too much. I am used to being covered with much greater amounts of water. At the 19 mile mark, Scott and I decide to part ways to increase the chances of relationship survival. I will finish 14 minutes ahead of him, a Nessie personal worst. I glide up some hills, passing the bedraggled human folk. It must be my home turf advantage. Some runners are worried that they are hallucinating. I do nothing to lessen their concerns. With my head sliding from side to side and my kilt swaying, I soar into Inverness. Spectators do a great job of keeping spirits up; particularly important as the finish line can be seen for miles before it is reached. 

I'm waving to children, grannies and their dogs. Their is an arch indicating the end of this event. I am photographed with some children, who may have been a little scared. Scott needs a bit of support upon finishing (just a touch over the four over mark) and I am a bit of a hit in the ladies changing tent. Drizzle continued to drizzle. The soup was awful. The beer tent was closed. Seriously, no beer left?  

My new human pals all finished after an eternity and I was then allowed into the wheeled vehicle to drink some beers I had stashed away. I opted not to keep the key on me because I couldn't imagine that Norm would get beaten by Nessie. On the wheeled journey home, I noticed a few other human folk coughing. Norm really wanted me to mention this.  Maybe I've passed on some of my monster germs to them. I look forward to getting a million years wear out of my new marathon t-shirt; just like my new pal Norm.

Special thanks to Shona for the fabulous breakfast in rural Perthshire on the drive up! 

1 comment:

  1. Hope these humans have gone home now and left you alone! Great read as always x


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