Through this Saturday (26th June 2013) I, like many others I'm sure, was sucked into checking up on progress of West Highland Way Race via the #whwrace2013 twitter feed, and the SPORTident webpages that reported who was through each checkpoint and when.
Even devoid on any video, pictures or audio this text stream of information was addictive - better than watching the grand prix any day! Through the day I got to see some amazing performances unfold. Have to admit I'm rather astonished by Paul Giblin and Marco Consani who both took around 2 hours off their already impressive PB's. Paul's performance is still difficult to comprehend, being half an hour faster than record pace for much of the second half and somehow holding it together right to end. Later in the day I was chuffed to bits to see other come in within their goal time. Tracking all these performances unfold on my phone and tablet even got my youngest daughter (aged 9, who loves running) a little hooked too.
At one point my eldest daughter (aged 13) quipped so "why aren't you running it Dad?". Which I didn't provide a proper answer, but realistically right now I can't stay injury free long enough to put in the required training. Last year when I finished the Fling I was happy to not going any further, the thought of another 42 miles was rather difficult to comprehend. There is a lure about the West Highland Way Race that is difficult to not be drawn in by. Partly I think it's about the route itself, it's beautiful and challenging, partly about "surely" you can't run that far in a day craziness, and partly it's about the community and tradition behind it - being part of group of like minded that are daft enough to find supremely difficult and painful challenges as perfect hobby.
So like a month to a light I am drawn, so while I didn't run it this year, someday I want to be there on the start line in Milngavie and if at all possible very much later that day I'll potter in to the Leisure Centre at Fort William exhausted yet elated to have conquered something special. I have gone from never wanting to do a marathon, to now think if it might be possible to an ultra, now to wondering when I might be able to take on the challenge of the WHWR.
If to prove I have an obsessive enough a personality to train for the WHWR I just came across a little quiz on the bbc website "7 questions on ultramarathons". I answered all 7 questions correctly, does that make clever or just a little over indulging in my passion for running long distances? I fear it might be the later... However, it is nice to see ultra running getting a little bit of exposure in wider media.
Well done to all those who finished the 95 beautiful miles of the WHWR, and thank you to the organizers, marshals and supporters that provide us with great updates on the unfolding race.