04/02/2023 – Wee race report for the inaugural Ardgartan trail race today. The chat all week has been how far the race would be, no-one really knew but it was going to be 21-23miles. Given I didn’t know the area or route this really was going to be one of those races that plays out as it goes.

The forecast said rain coming by 12 noon so the hardest decision was what to wear. Turns out I put on too much as was a balmy 9 degrees.

So, the race started in eve grounds of the beautiful Ardgartan hotel. The usual long toilet queue meant the race briefing shifted so everyone in the queue could hear. Bang on 0830 the hooter went and off we set. We started heading up on the undulating forestry roads with Loch Long to the left. The view down was stunning and I tried use this as distraction and the roads kept going up, slight down, uuupppp, slight down, up again etc. By about 11km I hit a wall (not literally) so dig out my jam sandwich and started munching. Refuelled and downhill came. Water stop and a lovely little Loch and onto proper trail. It was perfect, rolling trails through the forests with fab downhills, I was in my element.

Soon we were round at Loch Goil and Lochgilphead was in sight. Small road section then another big up and time for more of my sandwich. Back onto forestry track and then km 22 hit with a water station and an uphill that didn’t seem to end. I just went on. I resorted to walk 20 steps then run 20 steps to keep me moving. Another runner came past and said we keep going until get near the Rest and Be Thankful carpark. Now that is high!

It was about 28km before the downhill started and by then I’d munched through quite a few chocolate eclairs. Into Glen Mhor and given I didn’t know the route or how far it was to the end it was head down. I love downhills though so this perked me up. Now seeing the sign for Glen Croe I knew we must be nearly there. The rain was smurry so glasses in the pocket so I could see. Eventually I passed the car park where my van was I knew I was nearly there. Another km and the hotel was in sight and then the finish line. As I crossed the line I was asked how far I had recorded… 34.7km (21.6miles). I then checked elevation and it was over 970m I now know the hills weren’t just in my head but I’d run a munro. It took me 3hrs 36mins and was 8th female.

Big shout out to all the amazing runners, was lovely to chat to some of you, the organisers and the volunteers who got very wet. Great race, great route and definitely one to do again.

Now, home for a cuppa and to dry off. I thought I’d survived with no injuries until my shower, screamed when the water hit my back and I realised I’d skinned it. Worried child ran through to check I was ok but didn’t quite understand. Time to chill now before swim club ceilidh and celebrating my wedding anniversary.