The week after the fling went to brew at the bog which is a small music festival near Inverness sponsored by Brewdog. Whilst standing in the queue I was approached by someone called Steve (and he girlfriend Robin) who was a runner and had also just done the fling. *waves* Hi Steve and Robin. My friend that I was with at the time was couldn’t understand how a random person knew who I was. I told him “Running fame is hard work you know”. We had a great chat an it was really good to hear that he included me with the like of Paul Giblin and we were an inspiration. My wife say you give me a big head! Anyone else that wasnt to say hello at random please do.

Since I was in Inverness area anyway I thought I might as well go for a run in the Cairngorms. I had a 23 mile route planned but I had to retrace my steps a few times due to weather conditions, clag whiteout on a few of the peaks it ended up being 28miles. Here are some photos including a heard of reindeer the roams them hills.
On to the task in hand The Double Cateran 110mile Ultramarathon. This race came about one night in the pub when Karen agreed she might think about doing a double one year as a one off event. After saying that, she had no choice but make it happen. Karen wanted to keep it small scale with a max of 25 entrants. This was due to the original race the Cateran 55 being run at the same time and we have to think about environmental impact and keeping the land owners happy
.
Looking at the names on the start list the names that I was checking out were:
Sean Maley – An unknown, most of the races I could find that he had done were ones I didn’t know much about
Keith Mabbott – a bit of an unknown with a top class support crew. We did a night recce a few weeks previous and he convinced me that he wasn’t going to be fast.
Stephen Bell – Sub 20 for Wes Highland Way and 10hours for the Cateran 55.
That left Morgan Windram-Geddes she had history with several long races in USA. But she was female and although racing at the same time I convinced myself that the male and female race was a different thing.
Registration was the usual know almost everyone in the room. I picked up my goodie bag which was a new Cartan kit bag filled with chia charge goodies and a race t-shirt with a picture on the back that I had drawn, I didn’t know Karen was using it. I had a chat with Howard Seal who told me his times were based on my times from last year. I told him it is all runnable but I struggle to run up the last hill. He was now off to recce it.
6pm was soon upon us. On the start line we didn’t know where the start line was. George told us back beside the hotel door behind the cones which turns out to the finish line as well. That meant there was a gate about 20 meters from the start that only allowed 1 through at a time. That’s when the“red mist” hit, I was getting to that gate first. I was getting to the top of the hill first. I was running to win!
Stuart Mills is quoted quite a bit for saying his tactics for races are “run as fast as you can for as long as you can”, but I think he is often misunderstood and is quite happy not to correct people. What he actually means is run as fast as you think you can for the distance of the race right from the start. His reasoning is everyone is going to slow down so why not be as far on a possible before that happens. My tactics were a modified version of this, “run as fast as you need to for as long as you need to”.
Go!
First to the gate gate, done!
Half way up the hill Sandra was taking photos and comically shouted “not far to go”, nope only another 109.5miles
The hill gets steeper as you approach the top and I was well aware that this was not the time in the race to be wasting my legs so I power walked. I looked back to see where everyone else was, I could see someone in blue a few minutes back.
First to the top of the hill, done! 17min. Polka dot jersey is mine!
Howard was there having recced the other side for tomorrow race.
All the way to Enochdu was much drier than it had been a few months ago, this was good that I was able to keep my feet dry but it also meant the ground was not as comfortable to run on.
Enochdu – 51 min,
George told me after the race he was worried that I was through the 10km mark in 51min, I though why that’s not that fast is it. Oh wait there was 1000ft climb and there is still 104miles to go.
10miles down 10% done. Wait no it’s not.
11miles down 10% done that’s more like it.
By Bridge of Cally I had opened up a 10min lead. I was told Morgan had gone off course. I knew that 10min was nothing when there was still 93miles to go. I only found out after the race the reason Annette was right at the other end of the car park was because she only arrived 2 minutes before I did and it was the only space left. I have told her to double park the next time so that she can get a front space. As long as the person she is blocking is support for a slower runner than me I am sure they wont mind. Her response was you had 110miles to run why are you complaining about having to go an extra 20meters.
The woods after Blairgowrie were pretty dark but by the time I bothered to look for my torch then get it out, turn it on, I was out the other side and could see again. It was getting dark so I kept the torch out but turned off. My ITB on both legs hard started hurting by this point, by I told myself to MTFU this does not hurt, focus on technique and the pain went away, or at least it wasn’t as sore.
Coming into Glen Isla we had to follow a slightly different route than normal round the other side of a farm. This was marked by post that the race had put up and Stan met the runners at the start telling up just to follow the markers. As I waded though the bog almost knee deep following the route that I didn’t have on my GPS as it was different then before I was able to see the posts then eventually I saw a normal Cateran marker so a followed it then crossed a fence and I could see a head torch. It was Stan again???? WTF??!!? How did that happen? I had gone round in a circle. Quick off the mark Stan guided me through the knee deep bog again and soon I was back on track. Thanks Stan! Looking back on my GPS tracking now I still not sure what I did wrong but I had run an extra ¾ mile and a section that should have taken me 2 minutes took me 14. That would have eaten into my lead. Morgan was only 5 min behind now I time to push on again. That gap was confirmed when I could see a head torch in the distance behind me. Time to push on!
At about 3 miles before the end of the first lap I saw someone running down the road towards me telling me to “turnaround you are going the wrong way!” errrr no! It was Morgans support crew they were convinced that the route went the other way down the track. Luckily for me and probably also for Morgan who was following I knew where I was going and showed them where the Cateran style was. It was a genuine mistake on their part, but just goes to show that knowing the route can be much more valuable than looking at the map. That style leads into a field of cows and the quickest was though is past the feeder and though the swamp of cows shit. There were calfs in the field, and proper Cateran cows with big pointy horns, but at that time of morning they didn’t seem to care that I was running through them.
Back to the Spital this was the turnaround point, the point everyone seemed to think would be difficult having to run past the finish line and set going again. For me it wasn’t difficult at all, it was the same feeling passing Tyndrum during the west highland way race, you know that this is where you would be finishing if this were a different race but part of the challenge is to keep going. This race we were only at half way. 55miles in. It was light enough to see again so I left my head torch with Annette. Setting off again was also the opportunity to see for myself where everyone else in the field was. I was told I had pulled back my lead again and it was 22 minutes at the last checkpoint. Given that I had spent 5minutes at The Spital I expected to see Morgan about 10-15min after I left but it was 35min later before I saw her, and she was two fields away, off route. I could have put my head down and powered on knowing that that would extend my lead. But I didn’t, I stopped and shouted her over, she could hear me but not see me, I shouted again and eventually she was coming over. I pointed her to the gate that I had just come through and we were both on our way again.
I started to see other runners again around the cow shit swamp. This time they looked a little more awake(the cows not the runners), still not moving though. Hands up in the air to make myself look big and power walk straight through the middle. I heard a snort, I looked around and there was a pair of horns right behind me. OH FUCK! Time to run! The cow stayed where it was and luckily so did my bowels, I for one did not, I was out of there!
Back to the new route beside Glenisla I missed the marker and once again Stan had to save me, I had seen the Cateran marker just after the diversion marker and headed for that. With 70miles in my head not just my legs you tend to do stupid things like that. Stan also showed me that he moved the diversion slightly further out but after I had gone through the knee deep bog the first time he realise there was a dry route about 10feet away, that meant nobody else got the joy of having to run through that bog.
Every check point I was told that my lead was just over an hour and not getting any smaller. By Den of Alyth I realised that I “only” had 30 miles to go. I didn’t need to run it that fast, Just stay ahead. Anyone else not only had to catch me but then pass me as well. I had run as fast as I needed to for as long as I needed to now I could ease off a bit. When I say ease off I still wanted a decent time. It was here I realise that my ITB still sore I had just forgotten about them. A couple of paracetamol and telling myself to MTFU again and it was soon forgotten.
Bridge of Cally saw the first of the 55milers catching me, people seemed to think I was racing them trying not to get beaten by them, but I had no intentions of doing this I was just using them as pacers to try to pull me along. The funniest thing that I saw as Paul Hart passing me, that in itself wasn’t funny, but him passing again, and a third time was amusing. He may have lost a place on the podium because he got lost so much.
Kirkmichael is a handy point on route for supporters and this year it had some friendly faces. The Shanksies were there with some welcome news that Morgan had pulled out. I never mean ill on another runner but, from a purely selfish point of view that finally felt like the race was won.
First ever race win in sight and all I had to do was jog it home. Keith who was now in 2nd place was 2hour 13minutes behind. So I powered on last split in 1hour 31min. To show that I wasn’t taking it that easy the average split time for the 55milers was 1hour 32min.
Top of the hill and 1.5miles downhill to go. WIN!!

 

In terms of nutrition and hydration for the race and kept things quite simple. It was mostly plain water, Annette did try mix things up a bit by giving me a flavoured Nuun table at one of the splits but I didn’t like it so back to water again. Electrolyte wise I took salt tablets every few hours. Food wise I got through at least 6 banana chia charge flap jacks and the sea salt one that was in our goodie bags at the start. A packet of chocolate hobnobs, which thinking about it are more of less flapjacks with a thin layer of chocolate. Rice pudding and a handful of SIS gels.
With a 50% dropout rate and at least two people hospitalised here are these that made it to the en.
Mike Raffan 22:35:00 1st MALE
Keith Mabbott 25:06:58 2ND MALE
Sean Maley 25:31:30 3RD MALE
Neil Ambrose 26:32:48  
John Moffat 27:08:35  
John McLean 29:57:53  
Keith tried to tell me in the pub afterwards he didn’t deserve to come second but I told him you cant think like that because he did come second, yes there may be better runners out there but they didn’t enter, they had the same chance to enter but choose not to, you have to be in it to win it and you have to still be in it at the end to get to finish.You did come second Keith and it was well deserved! if you think about it does it matter if you win or come seconds or last in a few months nobody outside your local running community will remember. What is more important than winning is inspiring. Sounds a bit hippyish for my liking but it is the taking part, everyone who was brave enough to try something when nobody knew what was ahead, brave enough to sign up and make it to the start line is an inspiration.Winning feels bloody good also.
Someone in the pub (sorry I didn’t catch your name) told me he saw some half naked guy(Donnie Campbell) with a heart rate monitor then me later on running last year. Seeing some crazy nutters running in the hill he found out what was going on and he ran his first ultra today. That made me happy to know we inspired someone to the world of Ultra and he chose a great race to start with.

Well done to everyone that took part. The Cateran Team, Epic Shit racing and a massive thank you tomy wife Annette who was a my solo support crew for the who race.

There was a lot of chat about the 110 on facebook and thanks for that, but please dont forget a massive congrats to everyone in the 55 as well, especially Howard Seal, and Antonia Wesley the winners. The 110 wouldnt have existed if it wasnt for the 55.
results with a bit of geeky numbers added
One week on I have been for a few runs, other than being a bit jetlagged everything seestobe working fine to the easing off must have worked. time tostart training for the Lakeland 50