Saturday, April 24, 2010

Highland Fling (or 6 mile hike for me!)

Today was the Highland Fling 2010. I did the whole route (53 miles) last year and thoroughly enjoyed it so when I knew my friend Liz was running leg 2 (15 miles) in the relay event and another club member was doing leg 1 (13 miles) Al and I decided to go to the race and cheer Liz on and get in a hike along the way. The relay didn't start until 9am so we missed all the female runners doing the whole route as they started at 6am and were all past sections 1 and 2 by then, however we were still able to cheer on some of the slower men who started at 8am and give them a boost. Al commented on how much it lifted the body language of the runners when you gave them a big smile and a 'doing fab!' The thing is on the WHW is that there are so many walkers who look at you as if you are demented so it can get a bit tedious being looked at as if you are a moron and getting no encouragement. I replied that it can actually totally bring you out of a funk - you might be feeling like kak, but that smile just lifts your mood no end.

We headed over so that we could see Kenny handing over to Liz at 11am and then drove further North to the Parking spot just North of Balmaha. we then hiked for about 3 miles North, had lunch and turned around so that we would catch Liz as she ran towards us.

Lunch Time and view over Loch Lomond from the wee beach we were at:

Not long after we set off after lunch Liz came into view (with her sister in law who was keeping her company). She was so happy to see us and we gave her a big cheer and were able to tell her about 3 miles when she asked how much further it was. This visibly lifted her and she told me at the end that she was really flagging at that point and finding out it was just 3 more miles to go to the end of her leg helped her to keep plugging away.

Liz coming into view

Her sister in Law cheering at the news that there was only 3 more miles to go!

It was really interesting to watch the event as a supporter rather than a runner and was interesting to see the different body language of the runners. Some of those guys look like they were really struggling and they weren't even half way in terms of mileage yet. I say in terms of mileage because the 2nd half takes longer as there is a long stretch of tree roots that really slow you down so goodness only knows what they would be like on that section. I remember watching a guy a little ahead of me last year literally weave and wobble and I remember asking him with quite a lot of concern if he was OK as I overtook him. He assured me he was but I remember hoping that he got to the next checkpoint OK.

The weather was absolutely cracking again today as it was last year and what a difference that makes. I'm not sure how much I'd have enjoyed it in pouring rain. Anyway I hope that all those doing it his year were really pleased with their runs and that their legs recover well in the next week or so.

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