Yesterday was the annual Lairig Mor race, a low key event organised by Lochaber Athletic Club. The route starts at Mamore Lodge above Kinlochleven, joins the West Highland Way path after about a mile, then follows the WHW route all the way into Fort William Leisure Centre. The total distance is 14 miles.
I did this race last year for the first time and really enjoyed it. It's a good chance to have a fast run on the last section of the WHW - by the time I get to this bit during the race I've already run 80 miles or so, and am normally starting to feel a bit tired. To add to the excitement John K was running as well, so it was a 'counter' in our own race series. The pressure was on - although before giving you the result I should point out a few small things. I had run a hard half marathon at Inverness last week. I have a full marathon next week. I was suffering from a stinking cold. I had been away on business for a few nights during the week. I had also been out at a number of dinners. I had eaten a bacon roll just 3 hours before the race. The weather was too sunny and made it hard to see. I didn't do a proper warm up. The path was too stony. I was wearing new shorts which I wasn't used to. I hadn't drunk enough water before the race. Apart from that I felt fine, and wouldn't want anyone to think I was making excuses.
As you may have guessed already, John hammered me. To be honest I was pleased enough with my time of 1 hour 49 minutes and 8 seconds, which was about half a minute faster than last year and included a 2 minute stop in the middle of nowhere to deal with an urgent 'call of nature'. (Incidentally I just hope it rains heavily in the next few days and washes it all away. I wouldn't want any WHW walker to come across it by mistake). I ran with John for the first mile before watching him pull off into the distance. No problem, I thought: plenty of time to pick things up in the middle and later sections of the race. The gap between us got wider and wider, and after 4 miles or so he was completely out of sight, never to be seen again. At the finish I discovered he had finished in the superb time of 1 hour 43 minutes and 7 seconds, a full 6 minutes in front of me. The man is on fire at the moment. Thomas was even quicker, finishing very high up the field in 1 hour 38 minutes. So now it's back to 2-1 in my series with John, with the next event being the Highland Fling on 26th April.