Officially an “Ultra-Runner”
Well that came around quickly! First ever ultra-marathon completed and it was…great fun! Sun was shining, everybody was super friendly and I felt as though I finished strong!
- Distance- 36 Miles
- Total Elevation Gain- 1,450M (4757.21FT)
- Time – 06:58:55 (Under 7 hours! woohoo!)
- Position – 21st senior male and 27th overall
- Terrain- varied terrain including sandy beaches, large seaside rocks, forestry tracks, hill footpaths and road. Some very steep ascents and descents.
- Aid Stations – Carradale & Ifferdale
- Race organisation- Lacking in some areas (Read in post)
- Atmosphere- Friendly and motivational
- Beatson Cancer Charity raised so far – £425 (https://www.justgiving.com/Jordan-Young2/)
Arriving at Tayinloan early enough to get myself organised and meet Steve . I was surprised at how chilled EVERYBODY was, well maybe not the frantic race organiser running about the place! Most people were very chatty and instantly made me feel a bit more at ease! It was a beautiful sunny day I was feeling ready for this!
Setting off, we followed the track down to the shore and enjoyed the first short beach section before cutting back up inland on a narrow track and starting the first long ascent.
The first ascent is not a particularly steep climb but it is a long one, spread out over 6 miles of forestry track. Though tough on your legs right at the very beginning you are rewarded with beautiful views back towards Jura.
After the initial long accent the road plateaus before some really fun long descent through Deucheran Windfarm followed by an undulating mix of road, forestry track and footpath. Just before Carradale you reach a fantastic view point giving you amazing views over the water to Arran before you have a steep descent into Carradale.
Just before you reach the Carradale checkpoint there is a nice forestry track through the woods were the photographer was hiding!
I arrived at the first checkpoint (15.5 miles in) with my lovely support team standing by and ready to fill my water bottles for me. I was disappointed that none of the race organisers were handing out water/nutrition/drop bags, it was a bit of a free for all. There were no cups, you just had to refill your water bottles, yourself, and you had to find your own drop bag. My supporters ended up helping other competitors refuel and refill as they came through the checkpoint because nobody else was helping!
After a brief uplifting stop over in Carradale and kiss from Rosie I was off and on my way to the next check point in Ifferdale. This was the leg of the course I had not recced as it was the shortest. It may have been the shortest… but holy sh** it was the toughest! I set off at a decent pace along the flat coastal path and down towards the shore, with friendly locals giving support as I went.
Easy right? WRONG! The path slowly dwindled to track, and then the track dwindled to boulders and rocks. I think this short section was the most technical, unmarked terrain of the race!
After clambering over rocks on the shore line the course took a sharp right and began a hard climb on legs that were beginning to complain! The reward was a fantastic view back down towards Arran!
Fun wee forest section!
The fastest and most enjoyable decent of the race was the rapid drop down into Ifferdale. I can’t imagine what this would have been like in rainy, wet conditions as it was hard enough to keep your footing on a sunny, dry day!
At the bottom of the track it was just a short road until the Ifferdale checkpoint at 21 miles.
By this point in the race I was not feeling too hot. I am not sure if it was the heat as I haven’t had this problem in a long time, but I had been struggling to eat any nutrition and keep it down. I had eaten 2 energy gels and some peanuts so far. Thankfully I had an amazing group of people supporting me and keeping my spirits high!
Forcing a bit of grub down my throat I set off again on the final leg of the race to Campbelltown.
Climbing out of the valley away from Ifferdale felt like an easier ascent, though my legs were still complaining from the previous hills!
The descent towards loch Lussa has spectacular views over the loch and is followed by a very flat course around the loch. There were a few locals out to support on the way and it was nice to get chatting to a few other runners after being mostly alone over the last section of the run!
The final few miles was the section of the race that I was dreading the most as it was on tarmac road, a terrain which my knees do not enjoy!
Anybody who has read my recce run post will know that in this section I experienced the most pain. This time, thankfully, it wasn’t too bad! I don’t know if I had just mentally prepared for it, but it felt gentler and there was considerably less “foot slappage” (technical term for trail shoes slapping against harder ground) on steep descents than in the recce run! I was feeling good (I could eat again) and knew I was definitely going to finish!
Woo hoo! On the final descent into Campbeltown I decided to push it a wee bit for the final kick. Unfortunately this push didn’t last for long as my muscles were beginning to cramp as i tried to speed up on the flat road. However, i still felt good and as though I had a strong finish!
First ever ultra DONE. It was an amazing day, I really enjoyed the run and at the end I still felt good. Bonus, only lost 1 toe nail and I had no blisters! I would just like to take the opportunity to congratulate fellow teammate and Dundee Road Runner Steve Peters for doing so well and finishing in 5 hours 42 mins (Flying!) and to thank the lovely support team (Mum, Melon, Rosie and Elaine) for being such a huge help, making me smile and being at all the checkpoints to cheers me on!
So, What next?
I have caught the Ultra bug! I definitely want to do more possibly a 50miler next. I just need to find a race! Any recommendations? Leave a comment!
I also have the Glencoe marathon coming up as I continue to raise money for the Beatson Cancer Charity.
Route Map and Elevation
Thank you for reading!
Follow my progress on Instagram – @jordan_love_live_run