ECRAD Long Run – Day 6

Day 6 - Drumnadrochit - Fort William

Over 160 miles traveled and only 19 miles to  go.

After a bit of porridge for breakfast it was time for Sue with Mandy, Anne and Debbie with company on this last leg – a sprint to the finish!

The ever-present John with Sandy are the backup crew today waiting expectantly at the finish line. 

What a week it has been.

It started off in bright sunshine on Monday , endured Storm Hector mid-week and and by Saturday afternoon, Sue completed the amazing 173 mile trek traversing the West Highland Way and Great Glen Way.

Congratulations to Sue , John and all the supporters who accompanied Sue throughout the trip.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Sue and team in their thoughts and prayers too.

 

ECRAD Long Run – Day 5

Day 5 - Laggan Locks to Drumnadrochit

Weather much improved from  yesterday though still a strong wind blowing as the team set off.

Though tired and fatigued Sue sets off with the wind at her back with Sandy and Debbie accompanying her throughout today.

A long day ahead up through Fort Augustus and most of the length of Loch Ness before Day 5 ends.

At one point the support team had to work extra hard to find Sue and Sandy to bring supplies as they were much higher than expected. 

But the day ended well – only 1 more day to go!

 

ECRAD Long Run – Day 4

Day 4 - Lundavra to Laggan Locks

Day 4 provided an early weather threat – with a couple of Sues supporters, due to be running later in the day, finding the wind was keeping them from opening the coffee shop door to get out.

Not put off by such weather conditions , Sue started on the last leg of the West Highland Way accompanied by Liam and Ross.

This first leg was definitely the hardest with the wind and the rain pretty constant – really horrible conditions.

But the West Highland Way was complete in just over 3 days and onto the 73 miles of the Great Glen Way.

Debbie joined Sue for the first part of the Great Glen Way with Sandy joining Sue for the last leg for today through to Laggan Locks leading to a well deserved dinner for all involved today.

 

The end of the West Highland Way.

Onto the Great Glen Way

ECRAD Long Run – Day 3

Day 3 - Bridge of Orchy to Lundavra

Today would see the half-way mark passed on this epic trip and at days end, the West Highland Way would almost have been completed.

Anne was supporting Sue throughout today.

The first stage would take Anne and Sue up to the Glencoe Mountain Resort.

Many friendly exchanges with others following the WHW and an enjoyable break at the ski centre made for a pleasant start to the day.

The next stage included the Devil’s Staircase. Shortly before this climb to the highpoint of the WHW,  the rain started to fall and it begin to get a lot colder. 

After the run up the staircase and a good pace down the other side, some supplies ( cake! ) were taken on-board at Kinlochleven.

Then it was straight back up the hills leaving Kinlochleven behind and out over a bleak Laraig Moor.

Not many others were seen on this part of the route and with the weather worsening and “blawin a hoolie” the Day 3 end at Lundavra was more than welcome

 

ECRAD Long Run – Day 2

Day 2 - Rowardennan to Bridge of Orchy

What would the running team meet on Day 2. 

This stage is the longest at approx 35 miles and expected to last over 10 hours.

The midgies helped spur the team to a great start and chased them out of Rowardennan.

The day started off overcast but brightened up and turned into a spectacular Scottish summer day.
Day 2 was spent in warm sun, blue skies and no breeze.  

The support team today was Elaine, Jennifer , Jamie and Kenneth and all did a great job of supporting Sue through this challenging day.

 

Elaine covered the first stage to Beinn Glass with fantastic views of Loch Lomond. Jennifer then took up the hilly section up past Crianlarich.  Jamie and Kenneth ( on mountain bike ) then joined Sue for over the top section following the railway line down to Bridge of Orchy.

The traditional finish was followed by dipping tired legs in the cooling water of River Orchy much to the amusement of campers on the West Highland Way trail.

ECRAD Long Run – Day 1

Day 1 - Milngavie to Rowardennan

The ECRAD Long Run gets under way from Milngavie at the start of the West Highland Way.

Only 170 odd miles to go for Sue.

Accompanying Sue from the start, Scott, the minister of Maxwell Mearns Castle Church chose two wheels as his mode of travel – maybe to keep up with Sue.

Sue will be accompanied by many friends along the way lending their support and encouragement at each stage and hopefully enjoying their part of the run.

Sandra and Seona joined Sue on Day 1 with Mark and Lynsey lending further support from Balmaha. 

 

Day 1 was very humid but with beautiful views from Conic Hill.  Challenging inclines and really fun downhill sections.

Of course when out in the open country side around summer time, the midgies might not be friendly but on Day 1 they were not too bad.

A well-deserved paddle rounded off Day 1 and the first day marathon ( and a little bit more ) is complete.

Sues Thoughts on the Run Ahead

Why are you running for ECRAD?

I was introduced to ECRAD through Sandy and Debbie and I was moved by the work that was happening in this village through all the team involved with ECRAD. It eventually became a no-brainer to raise funds and share this work with a wider audience.

Why West Highland Way and Great Glen Way?

Both the WWH and GGW are amazing places of natural beauty that can’t be experienced by road. They are trails away from vehicles and built up areas.

Have you done this before?

I ran the West Highland Way race in 25 hours and have also completed at least 10 ultras. But I haven’t attempted consecutive ultras up and down undulating hills over a 6 day period.

How have you prepared for this?

Believe it or not I have been preparing for this adventure since last year when the team went out to Malawi from Scotland ( See : http://ecrad.org/the-rebuilding-continues/

It has involved months of building up the distance over weekends to a peak of 50 miles when possible. Weekdays training involves getting up at 5.30 am, often with my trusted training running buddy, Seona. There used to be 5 of us calling ourselves “Early Birds”.

Anything you are not looking forward to?

In any endurance efforts there will be tough spells and it is having the strength of mind to push through these inevitable spells. The weather can be variable, a headwind will make it much harder.

What are you most looking for ward to?

I love this kind of running, every section is completely different. Having a support team behind me and with me all the way will be special. Some, I have known and ran with for years, so we have a deep bond having experienced low and high moments together and others who have joined me in this training journey who have been an absolute joy to run with.

Also, its not a race!

Preparations Almost Complete

Preparations for the long run are almost complete.

With less than a week a to go it is time for the hard training to finish and look forward to the 173 mile run through the beautiful surroundings of the West Highland Way and Great Glen.

Sue is not going to be on her own though and will be regularly accompanied by friends and supporters running alongside for a day or part of a day.

The minister from Maxwell Mearns Castle Church aims to accompany Sue on the first leg of the West Highland Way, though will be using two wheels rather than two feet and will hand over to the real “athletes” at Drymen.

Nearly time to get going, but definitely time to start getting excited.