RACE REPORT -Glen Ogle 33m Ultra 2015


TIME: 5 Hours 1 Minute and 56 Seconds

Overall position 70th/327 finishers

13th/131 females


Glen Ogle 2015 – my last race of the year. The lead up to this race hadn’t been a great one as I’d hurt my back at work and had limped through the 2 weeks leading up to the race with minimal effort and mileage. I’d had a fantastic year up until now, starting every race injury free and feeling good (except the Haddington half in August, but the less said about that, the better!) so come race day my only real goals were to beat last years time and finish pain free.

Race morning began at about 4am. I woke up before my alarm and instead of going back to sleep for another half hour or so, I got up and started the race morning preparation. That done, I still had over 40 minutes until Alastair was to pick me up so I took the dog out for a walk seeing as she was awake as well (and expecting breakfast on our return, so was heartbroken when I set her back to bed!). Just before 6am, Alastair arrived with Andy and we began the hour a bit journey up to Killin, joining the steady stream of tail lights of all the cars also heading in the same direction. The Ultra runners are back in town!!!

After a quick registration, I dropped off my drop bags and went about saying hello to all my friends. I felt ridiculously calm and even as we listening to the briefing and shuffled up to the start line, I didn’t have a single ounce of the pre-race nerves I usually get. Before I knew it the race had begun and we were on our way through Killin and on to the first forest climb. I’d started a bit further back than usual so spent the mile or so chatting to everyone around me and then falling into line as we began to stomp our way up through the forest. We were surrounded by stunning autumnal colours and an eerie low lying mist as we made our way up and up through the forest for the first 3 mile or so climb. I tired my best to keep my pace at something above a shuffle up the hills, slowing to a walk only when absolutely necessary.

The forest section was enjoyable, if a bit slippy. Road shoes were the obvious choice for this route, but as the first few miles were on soggy forest tracks there were a few stumbles as I fought to find my footing! Once out of the forest and on to the long downhill stretch and over the via duct, I picked up my pace a bit and tried to stretch out my back. I ran along for a few miles with a couple of guys (sorry I didn’t catch your names, but your chat was awesome!) and the pace seemed to get faster and faster as we trundled down the cycle path, catching up with Derek and adding him to our wee pack about half way down. By now the weather was starting to turn. Up until now the drizzle of rain hadn’t bothered me, but I began to think I should probably put another layer on soon before I got cold. In the end I couldn’t be bothered taking my bag off and having to slow down to faff around, so I didn’t bother! Onwards, along the cycle path towards Kinghouse and I felt my pace increase a bit. Still only 12 or so miles in, this was probably a bad thing but again I just wanted to see how long I could keep this up…


The road section towards Balquhidder and round to Strathyre has been the worst part of the race for me for the past 2 years as it is constant ups and downs on tarmac, but this year I wasn’t going to let it beat me! The rain was picking up but still I didn’t want to break my stride and walk to put my jacket on. Stomping all the way around to the road that leads back to Starthyre, I finally admitted defeat and walked up a hill while taking the time to finally put another layer on even though I was already soaked to the core. The field of runners had really spread out by now and I was passing and being passed by the same people time and time again as we made our way back to Strathyre, down across the shoogly bridge and into check point 3.

The hill out of Strathyre. Ouch. I used this to slow down and refuel with cheese seeing as my other option of a cereal bar had pretty much frozen and almost broke my teeth! Nearing the top, Billy from my club whizzed by having jogged all the way up! Up and over the top of the hill and finally it was down, down, down for a few miles and then back on to the cycle path and on the return journey to the finish line. We caught up with Graeme and Billy and the 4 of us struggled up the zig-zags together. They are ridiculously steep – I can’t imagine going up them on a bike!! The stretch back up to the viaduct is on a gradual incline and last year had been a nightmare. I’d walked sections, hobbled sections and felt like I was about to keel over, but this year I was determined to run all the way up to the check point. Marathon distance came and went in just over 4 hours and before I knew it the final check point was on the horizon…. could I actually finish this race in around 5 hours?!

Photo from Chen Chee Kong.
Photo from Chen Chee Kong.

Coming back into the forest for the final section, my back started to seize up. Every time I hit section of down hill I’d get shooting pains up my spine. I tried to relax and lean backwards and drop my shoulders, but the downhill stomping was agonizing. 30 miles ticked by and I knew it was less than 3 to go… so close to 5 hours, I couldn’t break now! I pushed up the inclines, passing people who were walking, and shuffled down the declines with pain written all over my face. The last stretch coming out of the forest felt like it went on forever but finally we were spat back out on to the road and across the bridge back into Killin.


Just as we crossed the bridge, David Scott flew by me at an incredible speed! He was also pushing for under 5 hours, but as we came back into Breadalbane park, we noticed a line of tape going round the perimeter of the park, adding on a good few hundred meters. So close…. yet so far!! But 1 minute over 5 hours, 40 minutes off last years time and feeling good after 33 odd miles? I’m over the moon!!

So the racing year has come to an end. What a year it was, but I think I’ll save these ramblings for another post. So much has happened and I owe it to so many people, so big thanks to you all. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store! And I’ll definitely be back for Glen Ogle round 4, sub 5 has hopefully got my name written all over it! Well done to everyone from my wee running club who completed this race. I think there were 25 Wee County Harriers there on Saturday and every single one of us finished the race!!

RACE REPORT – Glen Ogle 33m Ultra

Glen Ogle 2014

Official time: 5 hours 41 minutes 18 seconds

Overall: 113th/237 finishers (4th out of 12 senior ladies)

Medal : Yes, (same design as last year) and an awesome Tshirt as well

Before I get started, I’d like to apologise for the fact that my blog seems to just be a steady stream of race reports recently. The plan was always to update it more often with training/life/etc as well… but the whole life/work/training/sleeping balance has been way off recently. However, I plan to rectify that asap!

The only thing worth drinking after an ultra marathon!
The only thing worth drinking after an ultra marathon!

The Glen Ogle ultra was my first attempt at racing distances over 26.2m around this time last year. I had done all the training for Loch Ness and keeping the miles ticking over until race day 6 weeks later had been pretty easy and enjoyable. I had no major injuries and my legs were feeling good come race day. Fast forward a year and it’s take 2 of the same events, but stick the Jedburgh half, a cold and a sore hip into the mix and you can just about imagine how I felt as I rocked up to the start line this year.

I had been looking forward to the race for months. I put my name down as soon as entries opened and then with so much other stuff to focus on in my racing calendar (including my 45 min 10k and sub 4 hour marathon!), completely forget to get excited about it until about a week before race day! On the Friday evening before the race, Jemma made the 300 odd mile journey down from Ness in the Isle of Lewis to meet me in the central belt and not 10 minutes after she had got off the coach, we were stuffing out faces with pizza and catching up on wedding planning gossip. Priorities first of course! After filling our faces with a substantial number of carbs, we headed back to mine where we sorted our drop bags and kit and after some cheesy tv we headed off to catch z’s and prepare for the super early start the next day.

My perfect pre race dinner!
My perfect pre race dinner!
Taking way less than I did last year! Did't even eat all this, but the coke was definitely a saviour!
Taking way less than I did last year! Once again didn’t eat even half of it, but the coke was definitely a saviour!

My alarm went off just before 5am and after having an amazing breakfast of porridge with nutella and blueberries and a vast amount of coffee, we were in the car and on the road over to Killin. This year there had been a slight adjustment to the route at the last minute meaning we were no longer starting in Strathyre and were going to do the route in reverse with a little bit extra added on at the end. This meant all my lovely down hills near the end were going to be up hills near the end and vice versa… nothing like a last minute shake up to keep the mind alert 30 odd miles later! After registering and meeting up with the other Wee County Harriers, we had a quick briefing from Bill and Mike and before we knew it, we were walking round to the very narrow trail where the race would begin. The weather was very, very mild and any worries of a repeat of last years weather eased off and I decided to run in a long sleeved top with just a t shirt underneath. Jemma was so confident about good weather she didn’t even take her jacket with her!


The first few miles were very stop/start as we tried to find our pace while avoiding puddles and having to run along a very narrow track. Soon enough we were spat out onto a road for a few hundred metres before taking a sharp left and beginning a short climb into the bottom of the forest loop which we had met at about 17 miles when the route was the other way around last year. The positive thing about this would be that one of the worst climbs was out the way within the first 4 miles! I ran with Kirsty, trying to slow our pace down and not set off too quickly on fresh legs or get carried away too early on. We were having so much fun, walking the steep climbs and flying down the descents and having a good chat the whole way round. We passed through the first check point and began our descent down the cycle path towards Lochearnhead, forcing down a gel at 6 miles and keeping the pace steady and consistent. The weather looked like it really was going to stay in our favour and I had to take my long sleeved top and buff off as I was already getting too hot!

Spotting the camera from afar.
Spotting the camera from afar.

As we approached the very steep descent on the zig zags just as we came into Lochearnhead, I felt a horrible twinge in my back and began to panic. This was too early for things like this to be happening!! I hoped it was just because I had quite a lot of water in my pack and it was slightly heavier than usual, so I decided to empty some of the weight out as we continued to fly along the cycle track and immediately noticed a difference. Fingers crossed I wouldn’t come to regret that decision later on in the race!! Kirsty was looking a lot stronger than I felt, so I made the decision at that point to push her on if the time came where I needed to pull back. She kept saying she was going to stay with me, so we pushed on and continued to enjoy the run.

Trying hard not to step on the poor photographers head as he lay in the middle of the track :) Photo - Ross Lawrie
Trying hard not to step on the poor photographers head as he lay in the middle of the track 🙂 Photo – Ross Lawrie

We passed through check point 2 and once again didn’t stop. I forced a few shot bloks in my mouth and we decided to walk the next few hills and shake out our legs a bit. The next few miles were the ups and down round to Balquhidder which was the point where I had wanted to quit last year as my whole body had gone numb from the cold. This year we were just over 13 miles in and feeling warm (and dry!) and still pretty fresh, so it felt good to be able to push through and conquer our demons. We ran on, all the way round to just before we got to Strathyre where we clocked a hill and both gave a little yell of delight as we were both in need a walk! The constant pavement pounding was beginning to make my back hurt again and we were starting to tire a bit. However we knew that Richard from out club was waiting, camera in hand, to cheer us on in Strathyre, so we flew over the shoogly bridge with our arms in the air and cheered at him as we ran by.

Dressed slightly differently from last years picture in this exact spot! Are we sure this is November? Photo - Richard O'Grady
Dressed slightly differently from last years picture in this exact spot! Are we sure this is November? Photo – Richard O’Grady

This was where the finish line had been last year, so it took a bit of effort to push past where we had stopped last time, knowing we were just over half way and had a huge climb ahead as we entered the second forest. We were ushered across the road by John Munro who was a vision in head to toe high vis and were all laughs and jokes until we hit the climb. The route had been slightly altered at this section as well and as we gritted our teeth and shuffled up the hill. I felt like there was someone behind me pulling me backwards again – It was just so steep!! We walked all the way up to the top, hands on thighs and leaning forward trying to catch our breath remembering that once this was out the way there was a lovely 2-3 mile downhill run all the way back to check point 3. Cue photo opportunity with a genuine smile…

Photo - Amanda Hamilton
Photo – Amanda Hamilton

We stopped briefly at checkpoint 3 to pick up some coke and a few jaffa cakes and within 2 minutes we were back on the path back to Killin. This is the point where my mind started to play mental games with me and I gave in to it. I needed to go to the loo and Kirsty said she’d walk on so I could catch her up, but I felt like I was holding her back so I told her just to push on and I’d try and catch her eventually. I was glad I did tell her to go on and she ended up smashing her last years time by 9 minutes, but once on my own, I really started to struggle. The climb back out of Lochearnhead killed my already trashed quads and the zig zags felt steeper than ever before. Once at the top I tried to keep my head up and look ahead and ran to a set of gates before letting myself walk again. I pulled out my ipod and an upbeat playlist helped me push to the top of the cycle path and road crossing back to the forest. On entering the final check point I was handed my drop bag by the ever super cheery marshals and quizzed about my socks once again. Noanie and Bill ushered me across the road and after being told I only had 4 and a bit miles to go, I decided to really dig deep and go for it. The wonderful Ruth Howie got the crowd cheering as I passed by the snack van and they made such a racket I felt like I’d finished – what a fabulous sound! Just before I started my descent back into the forest the amazing Robin Wombill told me I had a fabulous smile and grinning from ear to ear, I flew round the next 2 miles of the forest track feeling like I had a second wind and it was time to finish this race with power. I looked at my watch for the first time in hours and realised I’d passed the distance of last year course and was still under the time it’d had taken me to do that, so even though I was feeling a lot sorer I was actually performing (albeit just slightly!) better. I got to the bottom of the forest track, turned left back onto the main road and followed the road over the Falls of Dochart and back down the high street towards the finish line in the sports field. Through both utter fatigue and it not being that well signposted, I couldn’t for the life of me tell where I was meant to go to get to the finishers arch, until I saw a High Vis clad figure that was Angela, waving her arms in the air and jumping up and down to get my attention. I squelched over the grass, grinned and punched the air as I fell over the line and collected my second Glen Ogle medal.

Job done.
Job done.

Once we had cheered everyone in, we headed to the Inn at Strathyre for our soup and a drink where we caught up with various people before heading home for plenty of good food and some well deserved drinks. I know I wasn’t feeling 100% on race day and it showed in my results, but it just shows that you can’t work for so many different goals in one year and expect a good outcome in all of them. My speed will take a back seat next year as I want to focus on distance and power and with my eyes on the D33, Cateran 55 and DOTH next year as well as Glen Ogle round 3…something will have to give for a while. It’ll probably be my knees, but we’ll see!

Elated we got cider instead of beer this year! And I've sill got high hopes of my mug shot making the bottle next year...
Elated we got cider instead of beer this year! And I’ve sill got high hopes of my mug shot making the bottle next year…