Well, this is not my first attempt of writing this blog post… Writing about a race has never been so difficult. Usually, the report is written within a few days after the race. Now it has been three weeks and I’m finally able to try to put things to paper (well, virtual paper in this case). Be warned. It will probably be long :)
Before the race, many people who are experienced in such things have told me that the West Highland Way Race will change my life. Literally. I thought, yes, every race does that. You always learn and grow a bit during a marathon or an ultra, so you are never the same person when you reach the finish line. I thought they were exaggerating a bit.
In fact, they were right, and to an extent I can’t even fully comprehend myself right now. The West Highland Way Race has changed everything, turned my life upside down, liberated me of old structures, taught me more about myself than I ever expected. Most of these things don’t belong in a running blog though but I will try to give a vague explanation.
My previous ultras have taught me humility; each of them showed me where my boundaries lied, which was a good thing at the time. The West Highland Way Race was different. The race stripped me bare, disintegrated me, assembled a new person. It taught me how strong I can be, to go for what I want in life. It took away all my fear.
Well, that sounds dramatic… but it is the truth. But first things first…
My West Highland Way Race Journey started in July 2015.
I was on holiday in Scotland and happened to be in Fort William a few days after the race. I was training for my second ultra back then and had heard of the West Highland Way Race and the crazy people who did that sort of thing. I remember seeing a guy walking down the High Street in Fort William, wearing a WHW race t-shirt and I must have stared in awe at him… Then I passed the Leisure Centre and saw an arrow and “WHW race” sprayed on the sidewalk and I knew that I wanted to do this race.
Then the preparation started… I asked my running friends if anyone of them would be willing to join me in that adventure, as support crew. Quite soon, Dany, Sigi & Moni agreed to come with me, and later Patrick joined the team. Perfect.
I also thought that some structured training would be a good idea, so I contacted Paul Giblin and signed up for his online coaching. That was the best decision I could have made. It wasn’t easy, I often just wanted to stay in bed or spent an evening on the couch instead of going out again, especially in winter. But it was worth every step. My running got better than ever and I really was in the form of my life right in time for the race.
However, one week before the race, my horse got ill and had to go to the veterinary hospital. The race suddenly became less important and there was a chance of me not going at all… it was a stressful time and certainly not what you want to experience a few days before a race like that but luckily, it was not as bad as expected, he did need surgery on his hoof but my sister and mother were there to care for him.
So the days leading up to the race were quite emotional already. We flew to Glasgow on the Wednesday before the race but I didn’t see much of the city as I stayed in the hotel room most of the time, to get as much rest as possible.
On Thursday, we drove to Tesco to buy some supplies for the race, which I later neatly sorted into labelled ziploc bags, one for every checkpoint. The same happened to the mountain of medical equipment and other stuff that I would maybe need during the race. We had to repack our suitcases as space in our rental car was very limited and we had to figure out accurately what to store where. We felt pretty professional about it. However, my support crew later told me in awe how professional other support teams had been :)
On Friday, I woke up relatively early, enjoyed a big breakfast, and then tried to go back to bed and sleep a bit more. Later, Dany and I went to the spa area of the hotel but I was too anxious of getting tired so I only hopped into the jacuzzi for a few minutes.
Then it was almost time to go. Once more I explained the contents of my various bags to Dany, Sigi and Moni, before we went to the airport to meet Patrick and get his rental car. I was already quite nervous at that point in time. Almost there now…
Reality hit me hard again at the airport when I realized I had lost my credit card… shit. I looked everywhere but it was gone. Luckily, the others helped out and we still got our second support crew vehicle. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck.
We made it to Milngavie with enough time to spare. Finally… everything looked totally different than expected but I recognised a few faces which I had previously only seen online. It was like meeting celebrities or something J
I got weighed (all runners get weighed at the start, at two checkpoints during the race and at the finish to make sure that they take in enough fluids and, more importantly, that their kidneys are working properly and no water is retained, which would be bad news), got my chip and the t shirts I had ordered for the crew. Everyone was so friendly and happy, it was an amazing atmosphere. I had to tell myself a few times that this was it, this was really happening now…
Alas, I had to ring the credit card service from the parking lot to block my lost card before the dream could start... Not the type of thing you want to do an hour before the race of your life. But it was successful.
We wandered over to the start line, which is the official start of the West Highland Way, right at Milngavie train station. It was a typical Scottish summer night (I assume), with a fresh breeze, and we were all pretty cold waiting there… and admired the runners who were brave enough to run in short shorts :)
The race briefing was short. The race safety officer said his famous words “There will be weather” and everyone chuckled. Yes. We knew that. I had checked the forecast every hour. Some light rain, some stronger winds. I was prepared. Or so I thought….
Then it really happened, the start of the West Highland Way Race, and now I was right there! One of 211 people of all ages and stages of life who were crazy enough to run 95 miles for fun. The start was pretty spectacular. We ran through the small tunnel first and then through a cheering crowd of people on the other side. I got goose bumps everywhere.
A couple of minutes later, I realized that I wouldn’t need my jacket as it was warmer than expected, so I had to stop to take it off again. Minutes lost, but who cares about minutes when have more than a day to go….
The first kilometres in an ultra are always weird. Hardly anyone talked, everyone was concentrated on the way, the task ahead… We ran out of the city, into the countryside. The route was quite tricky here, lots of stones, roots and holes, so I had to watch my feet all the time. I still haven’t forgotten my little trail accident of September last year, where I stumbled over a tiny stone and broke my elbow.
When I did look up, I saw a seemingly endless line of headlamps in front and behind me, which was pretty special. The first kilometres were quite crowded, I had to adapt my pace to the people running in front and behind me, as the course was quite narrow and it was not always possible to pass others. I was also careful not to go too fast in the beginning…
We passed a few houses here and there, I also saw mini ponies somewhere, probably sheep too. Running through the Scottish night was amazing and, slowly, I started to relax a bit and enjoy the race. Things were looking pretty good.
I ran through the first unofficial checkpoint, Drymen, at around 19km. After that, the landscape got a bit rougher, there was some climbing involved, and the first hills became visible on the horizon. It was already bright enough to switch off the headlamp at 3.30 am, just when Loch Lomond appeared in front of us. A spectacular view. I resisted the temptation to take a picture… you can’t take pictures in a race.
Next, we climbed up Conic Hill. To be honest, I hated this section quite a bit. Throughout the entire race, I had some problems with keeping up a steady energy level even though I was eating and drinking regularly. I got a bit dizzy from climbing up the steps so I was pretty relieved when we reached the top. Again, the views were fantastic. Loch Lomond was covered in mist, which made it even more mystical. Ah. No pictures, Dani…
I’m not a fan of technical downhills… We don’t have many rocky trails where I live, so the climb down Conic Hill was a bit of a challenge for me. Many people passed me here and I apologized often for being in the way. But I told myself that this was good, I would save my legs for later… Then, finally, it was done and I managed to run a bit faster into the first official checkpoint, Balmaha.
Balmaha – 31.6 km – 3:45:35 hours
I held my timing chip against the reading device. Patrick was already waiting there, alone, as the girls had decided to go back to the hotel to get some more sleep before they took over support crew duties. Or that was the plan J
It was good seeing a familiar face again. I still felt good, so I only refilled my water bottles. I may or may not had to ask Patrick to open the wrapper of an energy bar for me, with which I had been fighting in vain for at least half an hour before ;)
After a quick bathroom stop in the pub, I was ready to go again. It seemed like everyone was more relaxed now. I had to laugh at two guys who burped loudly walking out of the checkpoint and didn’t notice me being right behind them. They apologized but hey, that’s ultra running. Things get worse than that…
I really enjoyed the next section of the way, a beautiful, easy path along Loch Lomond. I talked to quite a few people here, I never asked for names unfortunately, but everyone was really friendly. And everyone instantly knew where I came from…
I met one of the two other Germans in the race shortly before Rowardennan and chatted to him for a while, until we reached the checkpoint.
Rowardennan – ?? km – 5:33:47 hours
Rowardennan was just a small drop back station without support crew. My chip got read by the lovely marshals there, then I quickly went through the contents of my dropbag to see what I wanted to eat. I got a fresh bottle of Irn Bru and off I went.
Another runner actually commented on me being German and drinking Irn Bru. Yes, I like your lemonade. We don’t have it in Germany, so whenever I’m in Scotland, I drink as much as I can ;)
The path got a bit rougher here. I remembered that it was supposed to get rough at the Lochside section, so I wasn’t worried. This was supposed to be the technically most difficult part… or so I thought. I still managed to run most of the time but had to stop more often now when things got too technical. My legs were still feeling fine here, though, and I was enjoying it even.
There was another drop bag station at Inversnaid, where I could stock up on food and water again. I got a bit confused with respect to the route here and thought the most difficult part was over… it hadn’t even started.
Soon after Inversnaid, things got even more technical. Rocks and roots, all wet and slippery, made it quite challenging. I took forever. Whenever I thought I could run a few meters, the next obstacle was just around the corner. At times, I had to scramble over rocks on all four. Or on my bottom… it reminded me of the Chiemgauer 100 last year.
I almost fell into the Loch at one point as I slipped on the wet rocks but managed to hold on to some bushes. My knee and shins suffered a bit, but other than that I was alright… that would have been nasty. There was no soul around who could have rescued me from the icy water … and the fish.
Then, finally, we left the loch side. Yay. Not far now until Beinglas Farm, the next checkpoint, where I would finally see my crew again… and hopefully get some coke. I was so relieved that I didn’t really pay attention to the way. And stepped right into a huge mud hole. Shoes, socks, everything was soaked through with a dark brown, questionable fluid. Ugh…
I managed to get my phone, which was covered in the remains of a scone that I had put back in my backpack without thinking about the possible consequences… nice. I called Dany and told her that I would need a complete change of shoes & socks at Beinglas Farm…
I expected the checkpoint behind every corner and at one point I was sure that I was lost. Luckily, I met some hikers who told me that yes, I was still on the WHW and yes, they had seen other runners. Phew… Literally a minute afterwards, three runners passed me flying by. I hoped they were relay runners, they still seemed so fresh and fast.
Beinglas Farm – 67.6 km – 9:33:13
Then, finally, Beinglas Farm appeared. Sigi, Moni, Dany and Patrick were already waiting, ready to make this a formula-one style pit stop. Shoes off, socks off, fresh shoes, fresh socks, water, foot, sunscreen… sunscreen? That was pretty optimistic.
Before I knew what was happening, I was back on the course again, with a sandwich in my hand. Ok. I talked to another runner, whom I had met a few times already, and he told me that the next section would be much easier. A few rolling hills, etc. That sounded good.
We were also surprised by the first, pretty fast approaching rain shower here. It didn’t last long though. Jacket on, three minutes of rain, jacket off. I didn’t want to keep my jacket on as I was sweating too much in it.
I went through an insanely small little tunnel at one point, then we climbed up a bit again. The landscape was now getting rougher, less trees, more green, more stones, more sheep.
There were quite a few hikers out there now as well. And I really needed a bathroom now…but there wasn’t even a tree in sight.
Something happened to the path here. It slowly turned into one gigantic mud hole and we had to jump from stone to stone to get through it with dry and clean feet. Having just changed my shoes, I couldn’t allow myself to get wet feet again. One Scottish runner next to me explained, with some pride in his voice, that this was the famous “Cow Poo Alley”. I had heard of that, apparently an angry farmer regularly puts some manure on the path to make it extra nasty. It was wilder than in my wildest dreams :)
After cow poo alley, a forest appeared on the horizon. Finally a chance to get a bathroom stop in without exposing myself to everyone. I passed a group of maybe 15 hikers from Iceland, who cheered me on, as I made I a beeline to the forest…
They arrived just as I crawled out of the bushes again. “Did you get lost?” one friendly lady asked me. I told her the truth. She looked a bit embarrassed.
My energy was getting low again, I tried to eat as much as I could as I was hiking up a little hill again now, but it didn’t really help much. I was craving something salty, hearty, but I only had a pack of crisps left somewhere, which were probably dust by now.
One English runner I met here told me that this section was called “rollercoaster”- very fitting. I walked all the uphill and ran all the downhill sections, which was alright.
The next checkpoint, Auchtertyre, appeared soon after that.
Auchtertyre – 82.1 km – 12:05:48
Sigi was already looking for me when I approached the checkpoint. It was so good to see her again! From Auchtertyre onwards, I was allowed to have a support runner on each section, which was a huge relief. I met the rest of the crew, got fresh water and loads of food. I kindly asked them if they could try to get me something salty, like chips or pizza, in Tyndrum for the next checkpoint. Then I got weighed for the first time since the start – 1 kg lost. No drama.
I felt much better leaving the checkpoint with Sigi, after a can of coke and some (fresh) crisps. Sigi was doing a great job pacing me. I told her that I wanted to walk all the uphills and run the rest, which was fine. The route was also quite easy here, nothing really technical, so we moved rather quickly. However, the rain showers were more frequent now and the wind got colder too. I had to put my jacket on and off again. It was still bearable though.
We were chatting happily and time really flew by. We met a group of German hikers and had a wee chat with them. One of them seemed particularly interested in our adventure but sadly declined my generous offer of joining my support crew :)
I couldn’t believe it when the next checkpoint, Bridge of Orchy, already appeared in front of us.
Bridge of Orchy – 96.6 km – 14:19:21
Bridge of Orchy was a bit of a turning point of the race. Everything had gone pretty smoothly until then, I was even still in time for a finish around the 24 hour mark. But in an ultra, you never know what to expect. Things can change dramatically within seconds.
I was happily running into Bridge of Orchy but I noticed that the crew was nowhere in sight. Oh shit. My mind was racing… no crew = no food, no water, no Moni (who was supposed to take over from Sigi here). No food and no water was no problem at all, I still had plenty of water and some food left. But Sigi wasn’t prepared to run another 3 hours with me. I had to go alone…
As I was crossing the street, I caught side of Dany & Moni, who were standing in the parking space in front of the hotel. Then everything happened pretty fast… a bit of shouting, a bit of panic, then Moni was standing next to me, ready to go.
My chip was registered again… I remember that we asked the marshals there which way to go. I remember that they pointed into a vague direction but they were greeted by some friends just in that moment so I didn’t ask again.
Moni was really happy to be running and so was I. We were chatting along nicely, so it took me quite a while until I realised that something was wrong. We were still running on tarmac. There were no other runners in sight. There were no WHW sign posts… Shit. We got lost. There was no other option but to turn around and look for the right path.
After 100km, the realisation that you got lost and ran around 4 extra kilometres is quite devastating. Especially since the weather was now really turning to the worse, it got cold, windy and started to rain again, and I was running out of water and food. We had to go all the way back to the checkpoint to find the entrance to the West Highland Way again. People had parked their vehicles in a not so clever way right in front of the sign posts indicating the WHW, so if you didn’t know the route, it was really hard to find it. Which, at that point, made me quite mad.
But anger is good fuel and I was storming up the hill that followed. Time lost, places lost, energy lost… yadda yadda. Poor Moni had to endure this diva moment and I felt really, really sorry for her afterwards. It was not her fault at all. (sorry Moni). Luckily, the anger resolved as soon as we reached the top. There was nothing I could do now but to accept it.
We were greeted by the famous Murdo on top of Jelly Baby hill. He thought Moni was the runner and me the support crew. After we had clarified that, he offered me a jelly baby and I carefully selected a purple one, as it matched the colour of my jacket. Then he asked me if I was warm enough as the weather would get pretty nasty. I was still warm and relatively dry at that point though, so we said thank you and moved on J
The wind was so strong now, I was seriously concerned that Moni (with her estimated 40kg) would get blown away. I had to resist the temptation to grab her by the arm…
Then the rain got heavier… if Moni had taken a jelly baby, I would have assumed they had been spiked with something. She seemed to really enjoy running in the rain now, spreading her arms and smiling at me J Sadly, I couldn’t enjoy myself so much anymore. My energy level dropped again and, except for some leftover crumbled scones, I didn’t have any food left in my backpack. Moni fed me dried mangos from the pocket of her jacket though, which saved me for a while.
We now ran through a pretty wild, mystic landscape called Rannoch Mor. I would have loved it in any other situation. Right now, I was just looking for Glencoe Ski Resort. I expected it to appear behind every hill that we climbed - but there was only another hill, and another one, and another…
We were still moving at a steady pace though, walking the uphill sections, running the rest. We managed to pass a few runners again. Quite a few support crew members of other runners came running in our direction now, many with energy drinks in their hand, looking for their lost sheep. Another hill and still no end in sight… I got cold and hungry.
Then, miraculously, a familiar figure appeared on the horizon. Patrick came running, looking for us - and he brought pizza! We stopped quickly to get some food but he urged us to keep moving as the weather was getting even worse. More rain, more wind… I asked him how far it was until Glencoe and got no real answer, which was not a good sign. So we tried to move as quickly as possible, down one last big hill. The route was now really wet, the first little streams of water started to appear and, of course, my feet got wet again. The pizza (I only managed to eat a small piece) worked wonders for a little while but I was now pretty much soaked through.
Glencoe Ski Resort, 114.3 km, 17:23:20
Finally, the parking space of Glencoe Ski Resort appeared at the horizon. The crew and the car were waiting but I was too cold to stay out there… I headed straight to the café to get into the warmth.
I went straight to the ladies bathroom and got rid of all my wet clothes. Dany and Moni brought me soup, tea, dry clothes and dry shoes, and with their help, I managed to get changed. I tried to dry the gloves Patrick had given me under the hand dryer but it was pretty much in vain. The dry clothes and the hot drinks were heaven though.
When I was standing outside half a minute later waiting for Patrick to get changed, I suddenly felt really dizzy and little stars appeared in front of my eyes. That must have been my body telling me it was time to stop that running madness.... I tried to gulp down as much coke as I could and it seemed to help. Two minutes later, I was ready to go again.
Dany, Patrick and I ran the next stage to Kinlochleven together. I felt so much better in warm and dry clothes and running got a bit easier too. Talking about bands and music, we ran through the absolutely breath-taking beauty of Glencoe. I even managed to enjoy it a little. It felt like we made good progress on the flat section, passing a few people again. The weather was still pretty wild but it was perfect for the scenery around us.
Then the Devil’s Staircase, a quite impressive climb, appeared in front of us. I tried to make use of the time spent hiking up that beast by eating some more pizza but breathing and chewing and walking and swallowing at the same time was a bit too much for me at that point. Dany and Patrick were hiking in front of me and tried to motivate me to go a bit faster again, as other runners were approaching from behind. But I didn’t care about people passing me anymore. I just wanted to survive this.
The climb made me feel pretty warm again but when we reached the top, the wind got heavier and we didn’t spend much time enjoying the views up there. The downhill section that followed was pretty wild. Pretty wet to be precise. Lots of water to navigate through, more and more streams were now crossing our path. The wind made me shiver in my softshell jacket again and I was eager to keep moving… It was pretty difficult, climbing over wet rocks, but we somehow made it without any major incident. Quite a few runners passed me here and I never saw them again. But I couldn’t move any faster than that. The descent to Kinlochleven seemed to last forever.
Then, finally, we reached a broader, more runnable section. Dany ran ahead to prepare the others for our arrival but she later told us that it was only a few minutes before we arrived in Kinlochleven too.
Kinlochleven, 128.5km, 21:02:54
The checkpoint Kinlochleven was located indoors, in a school I think. I didn’t want to stay in there too long as it was pretty warm compared to outside and I was starting to sweat under my clothes. My chip was read again and I got weighed (weight was alright). Then Sigi and Moni refilled my bottles and food and it was time to leave again.
In theory, it was almost done now. I was sure I was going to finish this thing. Just one last climb, a few kilometres through the forest, then down to Fort William. That didn’t sound too bad. I don’t know if I would have continued had I known what awaited me there.
The climb started alright. Patrick and I were alone now as Dany had left us in Kinlochleven, and we were walking up the hill, chatting. The temperatures were alright and I think the rain and wind had even stopped for a while at that point. I was already looking forward to the finish line now.
Then we left the forest and things got worse again. Rain, wind, water… lots of stones… We had to switch on our head lamps there again as it got dark. And with the darkness came the weather… More wind and rain, more water. At some point, the whole path turned into a river.
At first, I was careful not to get wet feet since it was still a long time to go until Fort William and I didn’t want to ruin my feet. But then I didn’t care anymore, it was impossible to stay dry.
We didn’t see much of the landscape around us. Just darkness… Wind, darkness, rain, the dim light of our headlamps, water, stones. That’s what hell must be like. Every meter looked the same, it felt as if we were making no progress at all. A hamster wheel. I may or may not have cursed Scotland a bit here…
We sometimes saw a dim light in the distance, the headlamp of other runners, but that was all. No other sign of life out there. At one point, I got numb. I no longer felt the cold, the wind, the rain… I knew it was still there but I no longer felt anything. Which wasn’t too bad, just completely crazy. I think I would have gone mad had I been alone out there.
Then, suddenly, a white van appeared in front of us, two brave souls waiting for us runners, offering drinks and words of encouragement. The friendly man even told us to line up for a picture, before we moved on, back into our tunnel of darkness, wind and water.
It seemed to last days but it was only a few hours until we reached Lundavra, the last little checkpoint before Fort William.
Lundavra, ca. 140 km, 23:37:24
Reading all the previous race reports of the past few years, I had always imagined Lundavra being a wild party around a huge camp fire. There was no fire and no party in these conditions of course, just some music blasting from a car and a guy reading my chip and offering coke, for which I was eternally grateful. A few words of encouragement, then we were going again. Not long now.
I think I lost it at some point here. My eyes were playing tricks on me. I saw a cat sitting in the middle of the path in front of us but it was only a stone. A bush looked like a monstrous version of Kermit the frog. I didn’t recognize the path anymore although it was right in front of me. I do remember that Patrick asked me about my favourite childhood cartoons here and I thought of the Gummy Bears. Some magic juice and I would be jumping down to Fort William… yes. Also, communicating in English suddenly became quite difficult as the oxygen was steadily withdrawn from my brain.
There was a lot of climbing on this last section. Forestry work had destroyed the path and there was not much running. There was also a huge mud hole through which we had to navigate, which was almost impossible. I was pretty sure I would have lost my shoes in there but with some team work we got through it.
I noticed that my left hand started to hurt a bit now. My hands had been swollen for a while now, I wasn’t too worried about it as it had happened before in a race. But this time, it was more severe. I have a big scar running over the back of my left hand and I suddenly felt a lot of pressure there. Patrick told me to remove my glove and it wasn’t a pretty sight. I quickly put the glove on again. I then tried to keep my left hand elevated above my heart so that the swelling could go back but it didn’t help much.
Then, finally, we reached the highest point and I suddenly recognized the way and knew it was all only downhill from here. Funnily enough, my legs were fine with some downhill running…It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty (my tights somehow didn’t fit anymore and I had to pull them up every 3 metres.. quite embarrassing) but we got it done. And then we reached the road crossing. There were no arrows and no signs here but I remembered that Fort William was to our left. I’m glad that my brain was working correctly right there. We soon saw the first street lamp. Almost there now!
It still took forever until the first houses appeared of Fort William appeared.
I had dreamed of this moment for almost two years, over and over again. I had imagined how overjoyed I would feel, happy tears and all that, on every long run I did. But in reality, I was too exhausted to feel much other than an endless relief that it was over.
Fort William - 153km - 25:37:38
I managed to speed up a bit on the last meters up to the Leisure Centre, where the finish line of the race was located. It was like in the dozens of youtube videos of the race I had watched. With the only exception, this time, it was me running up there, having my chip read one last time. Done! To say it was a surreal experience would be an understatement. It was done!
A group hug with the crew, some pictures, then we went inside. I still couldn’t believe it was done. Everything that followed was a bit of a blur. I remembered that I got weighed one last time, I tried to eat a cookie but it made me sick. Then I went to see the medical crew because of my hands which were swollen to almost double their size. Not a pretty view.
They race doc checked them briefly but said it was alright. I had to sit down for a while since I felt a bit dizzy. Then I went back to the crew and sat down again. There was a debate going on whether I should take a shower in our B&B or right there at the Leisure Centre since apparently there was no hot water in the B&B so I agreed to shower there. I was beyond making decisions for myself…
I dreaded the moment where I had to take off my shoes and socks, I expected the worst. But they were alright, only one small blister on top of my toe, no major damage. After a bit of an improvised shower (no towel and no hair dryer.. ahem), we finally went to the B&B, to bed, which felt like heaven.
The awards ceremony took place at noon the next day. It was a great event where every finisher of the West Highland Way Race got their goblet. My hardest earned race trophy so far….It was nice to see all the other runners, soak in the happy atmosphere, talk through the events of the previous day again. In the evening, we went to the pub to celebrate and to drink whiskey from the goblet, of course. Then it was done. The West Highland Way Race experience was over.
After the race, many people asked me if I was happy about my result, if it was the finish time I had expected etc. Yes, yes, of course, all of that. But the West Highland Way Race was so much more than just a time on a piece of paer. It changed everything… it changed me. When I came back, nothing in my life was like it had been before. I’m still processing the impacts of it all and yes, I’m aware how dramatic that sounds. But it’s true. And I’m happy with it.
Well if you’re still reading this, you must be either very bored or you are considering running the race yourself now….
Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey. It would have been impossible without the help, the motivation and inspiration of you amazing people…thank you to my support crew Dany, Sigi, Moni and Patrick, it would have been less fun without you, thank you for being there for me and for enduring all this for me, for the laughter and the tears J I owe you a lot… to coach Paul for the amazing training and for making sure I get to the start line in the best possible shape… to my international online support crew Emma, Stella, Leah, Stacy & Deirdre (much love to you)… to Anja, Ute, Irmi, Karin, Marion, Norbert for accompanying me on endless runs through the forest and hill repeats on end…. To my family for their support and motivation before, during and after the race… and to everyone else for the kind messages of support and good luck wishes. It made me feel really special :)
And last but not least to Hoka One One for the great shoes… I don’t know how many pairs I destroyed during my preparation for this race so it was a great help :)
And yes, there are new adventures on the horizon ….