Glencoe Mountain Marathon
Reviewer: Rob Laughton
Price: minimum £100 charity to raise and £50 to enter.
location: Glencoe, Scotland
Starting at the red squirrel campsite at 8am, with the sun behind the mountains beyond the river in the distance and a young local playing bagpipes in the background, the scene was truly set for a magnificent race.
The start was cold, but the atmosphere was good and a mobile van selling excellent coffee helped keep everyone warm. The bag drop was smooth, no issues and we were off on time.
The race starts up-hill from the get go, down a side road, across the A82 and then along a trail up the valley of glencoe. There were impressive views every time you look up.
The pace was fast despite the uphill start, and continues for the first 6 to 7 miles to the start of the marshy bog at the base of the devils staircase. 1 or 2 miles of bog up to ankles and knees in places. Hard going, pace really slowed down.
Then you get to the devils staircase. Steep is the word. No one ran up the devils staircase but once at the top you pick up the pace again being careful on the small stoney path littered with large jagged rocks. This gives the first downhill section, and was tough to navigate the rocky decent. Very technical. The rocks give way to some areas of faster track all downhill to Kinlochleven and the halfway point.
Off again by road for 300 meters then up a very steep hilly trail up another mountain full of rocks and roots, then through a woodland. Climb takes you on to the west highland way - 400 feet of climb in one section, slowing pace right down again.
CP at 22 miles welcome sight and has cheese and wine amongst all the normal regular goodies.
The race continues climbing again right to mile 24 then a fast painful downhill mile 25 and 26 - feeling quads on fire and cramping up. You can hear the finish line noise before seeing it, emerging eventually through the woods to the finish, one last go across the marshy grass to the finish line.
A very tough but very rewarding race over 26.2 miles with 1700 meters of ascent.
Would i do it again? definitely!!
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