Wednesday, 3 March 2010

What Have I Let Myself In For?

"Do you fancy doing the island peaks race?" I asked a colleague with a boat last year.

"Sounds good - what's involved?"

I wasn't sure - I was vaguely aware of the requirements - a boat sails from Oban to Ayrshire with runners visiting Ben More on Mull, Beinn an Oir on Jura and Goatfell on Arran. But when I saw the route maps I blanched and pulled out. A dash round the low hills south of Oban, 23 miles run over the munro Ben More on Mull, 16 miles over tough terrain on the three Paps of Jura, and a final relaxing 20 miles in the dark through a forest on Arran up Goatfell and back. Interspersed by periods of seasickness and dehydration. No thanks!

On the Oban dash:

But then this year the colleague got me in the pub. "Fancy doing the island peaks this year?" he said.

"Oh, go on then!"

And so now I'm preparing for the toughest long weekend of my life. I once asked a veteran marathon runner how he kept going and his reply was "it's easy, so long as you keep the weight off." Hmm. I was 14½ stones after Christmas. Have you ever seen a fell runner? They have the body morph of a preying mantis. They are all sinew and collapsed cheeks. They look like junkies. Here's a picture of a fell runner disappearing into the distance (courtesy Saab Solomon / Andy Symonds):

So now I'm running as my (occasional) daily commute for the next couple of months, and have a few big hill days coming up. But there will probably still be a great deal of walking on the race weekend itself... anyways, I'll keep you posted!


PurestGreen said...

Oh my, you brave creature. Those fell runners are mad. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I suppose. But I'm guessing it will also be really rewarding. Enjoy your training!

Billy said...

Ha Ha!