Up until last week Ian didn't have place in the Devil. He did mail them in April asking to be added to reserve list but after spotting he wasn't on he had to mail them again. Actually think all RD's should get guaranteed entry to the Scottish Ultra's but that's another story. He got call on Thursday offering him a place then he ummed and aaahed about it. I told him to make up his mind one way or other so we knew what we were doing and he decided he would run it. He loves the Devil race, its his favourite part of route.
So the boot (or rather, trail shoe) was on the other foot for a change and it was mine & Susans' turn to support him for a change.Susan's wee boy Alex was also joining us,starting him young so he's ready to crew for Susans Whw attempt ;) We headed up to Tyndrum on Friday night, stopping off for dinner en route and once we arrived we headed straight to bar for small refreshment. We were met with smiley faces and pink hair, no prizes for guessing who I'm talking about, their reputation precedes them :)
We were both pretty knackered after busy week so headed off to bed, Ian set his alarm for 4.10am, i intended getting up 5 mins before race started. Only things didn't go quite to plan. Next thin i knew Ian was jumping out bed saying "its 5 o clock!" Cue bit of panic as he set about trying to get breakfast down quickly, get dressed, have quick coffee then head off to register.
Once he got back we got organised then headed off to start. Susan was busy driving round the Highlands familiarising herself with random places she'd never been so was arriving a bit later. I was getting txt telling me, be there by 6.30, be there by 7, might be there by lunchtime. Ok, last one maybe be a porkypie.
I waved a happy Ian and rest of runners off & promised to be errm, somewhere on route to support, at some point. I headed back to room for cup Tea and to lather self in killthemidgie spray as i they were swarming like evil blood sucking demons & were dive bombing on every available piece of skin.
Susan arrived at 7 and we quickly packed car and headed up towards bridge of Orchy, arrived to find a sea of midgie nets but spotted Robin Womble & asked if we'd missed Ian and by how much. 10mins, bonza. We headed along the road towards Victoria Bridge, lucky i was there really cause Susan wanted to turn around and drive along main road.
We arrived again to find everyone hiding under midgie nets and it was no wonder.Managed to work out JohnK & BillH were there but no one else. My god it was hellish. I quickly got my backpack on headed up hill. UUrgh, it wasnt my finest hour. Running up a hill straight into glaring sun blinding me trying not to trip up fuelled by a cup of tea and dodging all the runners coming towards me, most of who i couldn't see til they stood on me lol
Eventually came across Ian and asked if he wanted anything. "a new body" he replied. Oh dear. Told him that wasn't so much of an option and asked if could perhaps get him anything else. Banana & coke was request so off i skipped down the midgie infested hill eating some to make up for lack of breakfast. Protein apparently. When he arrived at car he told me he was thinking of pulling out! I walked up road with him whilst he ate banana and drank and told him not to be so silly, to get across Rannoch Moor and see how he felt after that.
Off he went with a grump in his step.
And off we went to Glencoe. Great to see the Midgies didn't follow us and we got out able to see who was around us instead of relying on going right up and peering into nets :) Was surprised to see Team Giblin there and asked if Paul had secured last min place but no, they, like many have been sucked into this world and come out just to cheer on, because they can. Lucy was there with a very excited kipper, that's the name of her dog btw,she hasn't suddenly turned into a freak fish lady. JohnK was there too, Katrina was having great time and always had smile when saw her.
I headed off into the trail looking for Ian, passing many a runner who said "you're going wrong way" bet they all thought that was original ;) I high fived a few folk and congratulated everyone i passed. Soon came across Ian, asked how he was "rubbish" he said. found out what he needed and ran back in to make sure we were ready for for him.
When he got in he said he was ready to quit again. I said just run on and see how you feel.He said he'd been walking , and singing. "I'm Ian Beattie and I'll walk if i want to, walk if i want to" lol if he is still singing there is still hope, i had wondered why there were no other runners around him mind you ;)
He agreed & we set off to meet him just after kingshouse so he could eat some cheesymash. We were now getting comments from all the runners about popping up all over the place. we brought cool box from car so Ian had seat to sit and eat. He arrived and seemed almost happy, who knew.. Maybe the cheesy mash spurred him on.
That didn't last long really and he spoke about pulling out again. I said we'd go to bottom of Devil and meet him there and he could decide then.He was just wearing his waist pack and plan was to take backpack from bottom of devil. He wasn't exactly enthusiastic and off he went with a grumpity grump, grump grump grump.
We parked up and sat waiting on him coming in. I was half convinced he'd walk straight to car and jump in. Alex had got his TeamGB Mascot out and stuck it on side of fence, he said it was his TeamG-Beattie Mascot :o) Had good chat with fellow supporter here, she was moaning cause her husband Rob was taking too long, and had taken far too long to finish Clyde Stride. She was very funny indeed and making us laugh a lot. Turns out she used to be Debs M-C support, so i guess she isnt used to being kept waiting!
Ian arrived looking on top of the world, or perhaps not. More talk of pulling out. Said he'd walked most it, with no singing this time. Oh dear.No songs. Not good. We came up with plan of me running to Kinlochleven with him, not sure who came up with that idea but that was the decision. On went the backpack and i asked Ian if he wanted anything, he asked for a lucozade so i popped one in pack and of we went waving farewell to Susan & Alex. We passed cheeky Dave Hetherington here and he had a good moan about the weather. I told him it was rather nicer than the apocalyptic weather we got on WHWrace but he disagreed.
We made good progress up the staircase overtaking 5 runners and quite few walkers. Until Ian had a bit of a moment and complained that not only was i going too fast but that I'd been asked to come with him so he could talk to me, not to other folk. (I'd been chatting to a fellow runner lol) He soon snapped out of it when i threatened to throw him back down though ;)
Wasn't long before we got to top & Ian was in his element pushing on down the hill. I'm more conservative on downhills after all tumbles I've taken so i struggled to keep up with him sometimes. Always caught him on the hills though as I've got good wee power walking legs. Next moment took place when he asked if i had any Bananas. I didn't. He hadn't asked for any. He said i shouldve known, i shouldve asked him. It was a fail. He actually said fail.
Now i know it's "all about the runner blah blah" but i'm not getting called a failure by no one. He'd only got there because we wouldn't let hm FAIL. Anyhoo, it was soon sorted because we dont like to be grumpy for long :o) And on we went, the Bananardrama forgotten.
We ran most of this and when we were about 1.5miles away he told me run on ahead and get organised. I asked he wanted a Banana ;) He said yes. Off i went like a rocket and i passed few more folk. One quipped after seeing me again that I'd been just as well running race.
I got into Kinlochleven & found Susan & Alex. We got everything ready that he'd asked for. BANANA, drinks, tshirt, backpack.
In he came and i waved him over to car but he pointed towards pub. I presumed that meant he wanted to go to to toilet and sat on car boot and waited. And waited. And waited. Susan headed off to pub to use loo with instructions to kick Ians arse if she saw him. Me & Alex continued to WAIT. I saw ALL the runners we'd worked hard to pass go through, then some more.
Just before it got dark i wandered in direction of pub in search of Walter Mitty.You can but cant hide. Bill was sitting outside drinking a pint & said to me "he's in there drinking a pint"
Just as steam started come from my ears Ian & Susan appeared. She found him sitting at the bar having a coffee ffs! What is this, the women's rural?
Oh and guess what? yup, wanted to pull out. I said "you cant bloody pull out at Kinlochleven" he said "yes i can, i can do what i want"
Susan suggested i ran to Lundavra with him/ I looked on horrified. What was meant to be nice pleasant sunny girls day out supporting/sunbathing at checkpoints was turning into a grumpy mans trek. I know he good Ian is over this section and i was worried I'd hold him back.
I reminded Ian that he loved this part of route, that he always overtook people here and looked forward to it, even during WHWrace. This seemed to do trick and i walked along road with him til the trail started again and sent him on his way. Ian shouted out instructions to Susan about how to get to FW as we set off in car. Clearly worried we'd end up in Fort Augustus or somewhere.
We headed straight to Lundavra from here & i was delighted to see Johnny Fling with a superb picnic all laid out. I was even more delighted spot a bottle of wine! woop. I was warned that it was Lorna's wine , i think he was scared for his life if he offered it out without the nod. Lorna however was far more forthcoming and quickly poured me a big glass/cup once she came over. :) now *this* is what i call supporting. Julie was here with huge saltire waving and cheering everyone on.
Alex decided last minute to run with her and off they went. About 20mins later i saw them all come over hill. Alex put a sprint on with instructions of what Ian needed (Bananas!) he is only 10 and ran all way and back, putting on sprint finish bless him.
Biggest shock of day was Ian was smiling.
Turns out he'd been throwing sticks for the Wilderness Response Crews dogs! He was happy cause he'd been out playing with the bloody dogs. Somewhere along the lines i think he forgot he was in race, maybe he thought he'd just stumbled across it by mistake. He also stopped for a chat with Thomas, oh and to speak to the twins. Right wee social occasion this.
Never mind, he was happy, this was good for 2 reasons.
1. It made me happy
2. I wouldn't have to run with him.
I sent him off with instruction to catch Colin Knox who'd passed through about 5 mins before him and off he went. We stayed around for wee while before setting off for finish line.
We popped into shop and i got Alex a wee pressie to say thanks for being super support and bought a wee flag to wave, not quite the same size as Julies but hey ho, we have to do best with what we've got!
I blagged an ice cold beer off Bill and we sat waiting on Ian finishing, cheering everyone in. I knew that he'd be running as he always makes me run this bit which i always find bit of struggles after all that downhill.
He came round corner and ran to finish looking HAPPY. And he was. Personal worst for him but his last long run was the Cateran back in May so he cant complain really. You kinda have to train for races if you want a half decent time.
So Team GBeattie - Job done.
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