My 6th shot at the Ben Nevis Race and a new PW of 1:55:49.
The race started 3 minutes early at 12:57. We were all gathered on the start line, and I was wondering what we were going to do for the next 3 minutes, when suddenly and without warning a hooter sounded. I was jolted into action, not knowing if this was a false start, but it seemed that the race had begun so I tried to scramble clear of the masses by running around the outside of the field and then realised that the only runners in front were Ian Holmes and Robbie Simpson, who were just jogging along chatting. I could easily have passed them to lead the field out onto the road, but thought I would look a bit of a prat, so eased back and starting letting people overtake.
Once on the climb above Achintee my legs felt pretty rusty at this kind of thing, and I was struggling to run much, and losing dozens of places. Eventually above the aluminium bridges I got back into it and started catching people again, and above Red Burn it was the usual grunt to the summit, with Paul MacLean and Steven Fallon for close company.
The first woman, Italian Cecilia Mora powered past just before the summit, but I guessed I catch her on the way down. On the descent I tried to follow Bruce Smith and Bruce Poll, and was doing OK for a while pretty much tracking Bruce Smith, but just before the Green Wall I could feel my heels on fire and my right knee burning, so I could only hobble down slowly, catching Cecilia Mora just before Red Burn whilst tripping and almost going headfirst down the last steep bit.
Once on the tourist path, my descending lacked any commitment. I just pottered down and gave no chase to Dave Murray as he sped past.
Hitting the road I was surprised to see Steven Fallon just standing there having a drink, looking for all the world like he'd dropped out of the race. I took a drink and tried to galvanise myself into action. I already knew I wouldn't do sub 1:55, and could hardly be bothered to make any additional effort, but just by increasing my foot speed I went past 3 runners on the road and jumped in front of John MacDonald in the last 100 metres.
The race was won by Finlay Wild in 1:35:39, beating both Robbie Simpson and Ian Holmes.