Loching horns at Loch Ness

26 September 2016 - By Emma Austin

We can understand why the Loch Ness marathon has grown exponentially over the last 15 years with breathtaking views, wonderful organisation and a supportive atmosphere. So with that in mind 11 intrepid Witham Running Club members had an extremely early start on Saturday morning to travel to Inverness on a hunt to find the mythical Loch Ness monster and to conquer the hills of the North either on a mere 26.2 mile or a 10K run.

Sticking with the theme of early mornings the 6 marathon runners set off from Inverness on Sunday at 6:30am to head to Bught Park to get our transportation to the race start, this was a convoy of buses packed with excited runners led by a police escort. After an hours scenic bus journey along the side of the Loch we passed the stunning ruins of Urquhart Castle and arrived at our destination.

After a blustery wait in freezing conditions we were greeted with a fantastic rainbow which set us off on our way accompanied by the sound of bag pipes.
The misconception of this route been muted as ‘mostly downhill’ was quickly thwarted by many undulations across the picturesque Scottish countryside.
45 minutes after the marathon started the remaining 5 of our running club party commenced the equally challenging and scenic 10k route (to note this party had already walked a 10K distance to get to their start line).

The miles passed by relatively quickly and were then met with the gently lapping waters of Loch Ness. Disappointingly, Nessie failed to make an appearance, however a monstrous hill at 18.5 miles reared its ugly head and challenged us all at a time where most people hit the wall. However we sailed up relatively unscathed until mile 22 where we were once again confronted with another beast of a hill ready for the downward spiral to the finish line. As we entered the civilisation of Inverness at mile 23 we were all greeted enthusiastically by our amazing 10K supporters which provided us with a much needed boost of energy to push us through the last couple of miles of this race. Our group accomplished a plethora of achievements ranging from first (and only marathons) to PBs, increasing the number of marathons completed and sheer grit and determination to come back from injury.

Well done to all of our runners and they should be proud of their achievements – the 2 races are well worth the journey and would be recommended by all and some of us are already considering a return in 2017. Full list of results are below:

Marathon results:

Graham Eyre 4:18:53 (PB)
Rachael Crisp 4:18:53 (first marathon)
Emma Sweeney 4:31:12 (PB)
Dawn Shilling 4:39:07 (PB)
Jo Smythe 4:45:57
Tracey Denby 5:04:41

10k results:

Mark Austin 42:44
Bill Smythe 42:44
Colleen Rae 52:48
Martin Rae 52:48
Clare Eyre 71:16 (PB)



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