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West highland way 2017

To actually think that I would be where I am just now a few days before race day is really an understatement I would have never of thought it, as before I had rarely spoke about the race and having talked about the event in the past couple of years a handful of times to my buddy Kev stating 1st that we wouldn’t want to do the race unless we would could do it in under 24hrs, then following my progress throughout the year my thought’s often changed but any way I signed up and to my surprise I made the ballot I was excited for all of the 10 mins when finding out and then put back to the back of my mind as I had other races to think about before this plenty time….. OMG race month has come along what where when to soon that was frigging quick its came around so fast, but all plans for the race are set out I’ve spoken to my boss and agreed to see what’s the best approach is for the race as I’ve never gone this distance before it was always going to be going into the unknown so the aims were nutrition and hydration and the race will take care of its self no times laid down just guidelines for the support crew to follow and if I wanted they could tell me how I was getting on. they were demons in my mind to see how myself could run the race but I had to stay cool as I often do get ahead of myself which if you don’t deal with can be lethal.

Support crew happy with the plans and the plan for nutrition and hydration and what they need to do Kev was actually quite surprised at how well I had organised my nutrition plan, I did have the boss set out some ace guidelines to follow so easy to build Kev maybe thought I was going to be gel heaven but am away from all that now all natural and bland is going really well for me at the moment, my little brother who is helping out with my support he was keen and excited and also amazed at what all these runners were about to do to themselves as he completed the walk last year. race weekend it’s here Friday 23rd June 2017 I go off to pick up our hired camper van get it all packed up and head over to Kev’s house to pick up the crew were Kev had kindly made up some great personalised WHW t-shirts a nice touch if I do say so from here we set off and started our journey to Milngavie, Glasgow the drive was pretty chilled and we got down nice and early, we parked up at the station in Milngavie and jumped into the train into Glasgow city centre getting some supper which would be my last big meal Wagamama pasta dish with salmon sweet was ace but it started to get nervy at this point jumping back on the train again I felt like the paparazzi were always taking picture yes Kev I seen you hahaha even back at the van constantly needing to pee I couldn’t hide from them registration time was here I wanted to be in and out and just chill before the start came along.

It was hard as bumping into everyone team players James Stewart last year’s winner having a wee chat before getting ready first time meeting the champ hoping to meet again get a good talk, I also had a real self-embarrassing moment to myself whist at registration and getting my timing chip fixed onto my wrist by this female volunteer who was giving me great advice not to any jumping or river jumping antics someone’s been watching me on Instagram I was thinking but to my surprise I had just met Debbie Martin Consani and I didn’t even no OOPPS no wonder she knew what’s she was taking about #teampyllon jump offs, dance offs, tapsaff the troops will know what I’m talking about here but more the point Debbie I can only apologise for not being more sociable #imafool.

Registration all completed chilling out in the van lads watching a movie and ping a text from a good buddy and longest friend Stevie turner who turned up at the start line at just past midnight to wish me luck and see me off totally out the blue what a lad top friend meant a lot Stevie lad really appreciated that not very often we see each other so was a great surprise.

Well here we are at the start line awaiting the horn for the all go wishing my buddies a great race 1am Saturday morning off we go into the darkness at Milngavie starting the whwr, I was quite nervy at the start trying to make sure I didn’t go off to fast but not wanting to be stuck on my own as the pack up at the front was off quite quick, soon into it I heard the big shout ROBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB it echoed through the woods I knew straight away rob had missed the turning point I just hoped I was to see rob again and within time up behind me GAVSTAR fit like min I was like dude your a nutter but I’m glad to see u back in the mix and off he went to catch up with the fronts pack headlights just ahead.

Drymen soon came and then ascending up to conic and I was really sleepy at this point could have easily just sat down and slept 1am start did affect me and I didn’t think it would have had good rest and plenty sleep leading up to the race a slow slog up conic and a mega easy bimble down to balmaha into the van breakfast hot muesli was so nice fuelled up out the van and away again I wanted to get loch side over with as I knew I wouldn’t see my crew until beinglas but I had prepared for this I had my drop bags at rowardenan and inversnaid I didn’t feel good at rowardenan but forced my shit down got more water and off again just get to the next, now it was slow tough I wasn’t at my best at all mentally at this point it was rough but I got I got to inversnaid and I met into my best Marshall ever Ruth Howie who always makes you feel 1000 times better she got my drop bag to me and down the hatch and I was away again cheers Ruth you’re a gem.

Right beinglas it’s almost here a wee ascent up towards Dario’s post a rub on top RIP a wee look back scenery was spectacular, finally reaching beinglas I had a smile on my face seen the lads new socks new shirt and dry trainers fuel down the neck and off I went leaving there happy and running again I felt good for once and I knew it wasn’t far before I got lunch at auchentyre it was a nice run towards the farm feeling that section a lot better than the two flings before was nice to be able to feel good at this point and into the roller coaster to passing a couple of people, coming into the farm a nice veggie hotpot awaited ah my it was awesome 600cals down the hatch boom coffee down feeling warm again right lads give me my headphones I need a bit of Robbie Williams here to get me entertained again, tunes on banana in hand weighed in and bang on NO loss and no gain off I go to tyndrum passing the fling finish was really weird trying not to think wow how far have I got …….. anyway to my surprise and shock I had caught up with john Connelly and his crew I was gutted for john but I gave him and James a handshake hoping he would get back in the game but a fever had got the better john you will be back stronger buddies ready to smash it I know it this shit happens all the time total respect for you bud hope to see you again soon.

The road to bridge of orcy vie never ran the second part of this race so it was all knew to me here I was running well feeling good in a happy place at this point I knew it was a good place to be at feeling good running well weather holding up good stunning views ahead and then a wee oh

fuck moment the feeling under my big toe was so intense I thought something had broken but a wee walk off and I was running again few, coming into BOO I seen the lads sorted myself out again and was off across the road and beeped in and up jelly bean hill this is where the shit started to happen with the wind and rain, I had stopped for a piss and noticed I was started to dehydrate total bombshell and was getting nailed by the rain and wind but thank god my crew came to meet me at the bottom of jelly bean hill weather jacket on water down the neck and kicked out by Kev come on Gav keep on going you’re doing so well.

I’m managing I’d say lol that section towards Glencoe was unreal probably the toughest for me the emotions the weather trying to sort my head out and just think of picking this off ahead to run to and so on hoping id see Glencoe soon it was a slow slog wind trying its hardest to push me off track it almost got me a few times waving back and forth fighting against it as there was no other way mother nature at its best. finally reaching Glencoe this point I was to have dinner mushroom pasta I looked so good and smelt great but was so hard trying to eat so was reverted back to smoothies and my oats which kept me going spending way too much time at checkpoint’s through my own fault as Kev was itching pushing to get me back on track again mark rushing about getting new socks new jacket.

This point to my surprise my family and kids had turned up and it was quite hard to keep all the emotions in but seeing them made it even more just to dig in and carry on, again with the rain and wind kicking my ass it was a slow hog around to the bottom of devils staircase where the lads met me again to give me another push to get up there and down descending into KLL, the decent down into KLL I would have loved any other day killed my quads was here went it started to hurt big time I’ve never felt my quads like that before so I knew they were pushing into the checkpoint we go weighed in and weight was on point no change there but we had to get a kit inspection at this point before leaving we had to ensure we had full waterproofs whistle, phone and foil blanket and show the marshals before leaving as the weather was closing back in again.

I had everything bar the trousers they were in the van, because I switched to my running belt instead of the vest the trousers weren’t going to fit so I was like ill just wear them hahaha full water proofs on running must have been some sight but I didn’t want to faff about changing gear. last push to go I had it in my mind 15 miles my god but I’m glad for kevs thinking he said to me just before I left that no break it into sections look out for the flags at the top then lundavra then the finish, got to the tops passing the flags and a few marshals braving out the horrendous weather from here I ran as hard as I could bounding threw the small rivers were some were still trying to pop around I wasn’t having it I wanted to see progress so I pushed on surprisingly feeling good running well even though I’m getting poured on by the rain it was like the heaven’s had literally opened up I was closing in on lundavra.

I didn’t know the route so was in aware of where it was I looked at my watch and said to myself I must have passed it getting to ahead of myself again this point put me quite down pushing and still pushing then I see it the checkpoint beeps in and from here I knew it was 6 miles still to go I was a bit disappointed with myself as I wasn’t thinking straight but anyway there was no way I could have gave up now here came part of the route up and down up and down then the decent towards Braveheart car park hurt the most I think I had pushed that much that my quad was fucking screaming at this point I knew I had to try to keep going as if I didn’t it would of just stopped working all together this picture says a lot about it really just burst and not far to go down to the car park where my crew and family were saying it’s there the finish is there.

I see the road and say well that’s it get down the road and you’ve made it you mad maniac my mind at this point had so much emotion thoughts excitement relief I see the finish and it’s a yassssssss the weight that fell off my shoulders as soon as I dab in to finish the run was huge I had done it whwr completed 16th place out of 209 starters well what an achievement I had forgotten to mention the fall I had at the end before reaching the forest track flat faced in the mud as you can see from the pictures above, I must say I would not be able to completed this challenge if it wasn’t for my support team Kev and Mark you guys rocked saved me when times were low and always leaving the aid points better than I had come in top effort and for the rest of my family and friends the support and messages has been truly humbling, and also to TEAMPYLLON guys you have been ace to and to the boss himself Paul Giblin thanks for all the advice and top training and for all the time you put in its highly appreciated I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for you. Tash Abbie Jamie and Brooklyn, you guys are my rock and thank you guys for putting up with so much you guys mean the world to me and your hidden support doesn’t go missed.

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