It was good to see all the familiar faces at the race, but several things contributed to my retiral. The main ones were hiking 825km across the Pyrenees and then racing every night last week, and the other ones were having persistent hip and groin pain, and making the mistake of eating a Power Bar just before the race. I was more or less OK over the first 2 summits: Creag Leacach and Glas Maol, and was only a minute down on last year at Glas Maol, but on the approach to Cairn of Claise I realised I was flogging a dead horse, and the horrible stomach pains weren't helping much.
Before Tom Buidhe, I suddenly I realised I was sitting on the ground wondering how I going to get back to the car. I slowly made my way back to Cairn of Claise to retire from the race, and then sat at the summit for a while, without the energy to move.
I was getting cold so I shuffled back along past Glas Maol to descend through the ugly scars of the ski area, trying to get back before 3 hours race time. I went to the car for the camera hoping to get photos of the winning runner, but once I'd returned to the finish line Tom Owens was already standing there casually with his cup of water, having just knocked 13 minutes off his own course record!
I found it incomprehensible Tom could have completed the course in 3:07, taking a full 7 minutes out of Robbie Simpson over the last 3 hills. In fact when Tom had finished, Robbie hadn't even begun his descent from The Cairnwell.
To follow a bit of the action I headed up The Cairnwell with my camera, although the light and backdrop didn't make it easy to get any decent shots. Dan Gay was 3rd in, closely followed by Mark Harris, with Oleg Chepelin and Brian Marshall the next to appear, and then Tom Brunt.
First lady to come through was Claire Gordon who knocked something like 17 minutes off her course record to finish in 3:56 I think.
It was good to chat with folk after the race. And I was so relieved that I packed the race in when I did.