With only 36 hours to go until I start the 2015 West Highland Way Race, I thought it would be nice to have a brief look over my journey to the start of this particular race. There’s not much else I can say – everything has been bought, prepared, packed, organised, finalised, and now I’m ready to go. How do I feel? I’m not really sure; partly calm, partly excited, partly in deep dread and a feeling that I’m in way over my head. I’m not, though. I know I’m not.
Every runner has a support crew; a back-up crew who is there for them no matter what happens throughout the race. They are committed to getting their runner to the finish under all circumstances. The large group of people involved in this race year after year are referred to as the West Highland Way Race family; a term of affection which is not given lightly. A dear friend summed up this alliance perfectly the other day when he referred to us as ‘the biggest support crew I’ve ever known’, another pointed out that family is not always marked by blood; “It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs, the ones who accept you for who you are, and who would do anything to see you smile”.
I’ve always thought of myself having a very small family; even when the McKinnon and Mitchell households combined last year, we still remain a very small family unit. That’s just not true any more though. There are dozens of people out there that have my back, and I know that regardless of the outcome, the support of the Family will carry me though the good times and bad during the race and afterwards. Without us we are nothing.
There is a tracking system for the race which should update my personal Facebook page and my Twitter account (@rhinomittens) with my progress throughout the race as I pass through check points. You can also follow the development of the whole race via this page: http://live5.sportident.co.uk/westhighlandwayrace15 – I am runner number 45.
I hope to finish between 25 hours at best, and 28 hours at worse, but what ever happens, will happen. Thank you for all of your support in this, this longest of journeys.
“In summary, it was without a doubt one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had the honour to be involved in and Mike was a pleasure to support. It goes without saying that one day I will do this race; not next year, and probably not even the year after – but one day I will. At 31 years of age, Mike was one of the youngest racers on the course and I would put the average vintage of the competitors at around 45, so I feel under no pressure to achieve this immediately. The hills aren’t going anywhere, so I will respect this race and take my time until I’m good and ready to tackle it.
That’s all for now; thank you for reading and please do share this amongst the other WHW runners if you’ve enjoyed it. I hope to one day join you all in this amazing race and earn my very own goblet and my place in the coveted finishers club.”
“There’s a saying in the Scottish Ultra community, that all roads lead to Milngavie. With another year of running under my belt this has never felt truer as I feel I inch closer to the starting line of this race month by month, race by race. Last year I said not this year or the year after, and that statement still stands, but after that? Well, perhaps by then I’ll find myself at the end of the road.”
“Goals are good. Long term goals are even better, and from here I can see the next two years’ training shaping up very nicely. I will not be putting my name in the hat for the 2014 WHW Race ballot, but from now on every mile I run will be one mile closer to Milngavie Railway station in 2015. I will stand in the crowd on Midsummer’s night once more, but this time as a runner. I will listen to Ian give his briefing, before taking my place at the start and awaiting the horn and running up the High Street in to the darkness and the unknown adventure of the fabled 95 miles. It will be a long hard journey over the next two years to get there, but the goal has been set and the work starts now.”
“Since everyone has been asking; yes, it is definitely my intention to run in next year’s West Highland Way Race, so everything between now and the 20th of June 2015 is a countdown to Milngavie. I’m thinking differently about it all already – it’s no longer a distant dream but a tangible goal on the horizon, and under a year away. There’s a lot of work to do, starting with this weekend…”
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.
Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the shore