13/05/23 – Cateran Way trail ultra. A stunning 55 mile loop of the Cateran trail starting at the Spittal of Glenshee.
Staying in Gullabin bunkhouse meant I could just roll out of bed for the 0700 race start. The forecast said sun but luckily it was still misty. Did make for an interesting first few km trying to stay on the trail when visibility was poor. Through rolling hills and a road section to CP1 at 24km. Grabbed my food and kept going. Luckily straight into an uphill where the jam sandwich disappeared. CP2 was 41km and by now the sun had appeared and was warm. I’d been doing well until this point and holding 2nd position but my stomach went (the next 30km were repeated hunts for bushes). I just had to slow it down and mix walk/run.
The countryside was beautiful and could see for miles and miles with hundreds of little lambs in the fields which was a perfect distraction. The woods were filled with fallen trees creating some added obstacles . Across the race there were quite a few diversions round trees just to make it more interesting . By 60km I’d hit the ‘wall’ so coach Eddie was messaged with my moan. Basically, I was told to just get the job done with some tough love. It was what I needed. I put my headphones on and listened to Young Hearts Run Free and Tea and Trails podcasts.
By CP4 I had reached 74km and the end was in sight. My stomach was feeling better and sun not so hot so it was head down. Last CP and the big hill. The trail went through the hills with a final big climb. I switched podcasts to dance tunes and with no-one near me I just sung away. At the top of the mountain it was spectacular with 360 views. The finish was in sight but with a steeps downhill to get there. When I crossed the line I was surprised (and emotional) to hear I was 3rd female masters in the Scottish Ultra Trail Champs. I didn’t expect it. Before the race Eddie and I decided I would take it easy, I’d had a really busy week with work, study, life and suddenly losing a tri club friend and coach. My mind and body wasn’t 100% but I never gave up. I thought about my friend many times during the race, this medal is for you .