Congratulations to Phil Humphries for completing his third marathon ultra of the year – the 41 mile River Ayr Way (RAW) Challenge. Phil finished in a time of 06:45:03 in 26th position. Phil also impressively attended the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series (SUMS) ball thereafter (along with Elly) in Ayr Town Hall. Wow!!
Phil said: “The River Ayr Way Challenge is a fund-raising event open to runners and walkers in aid of Scottish Cancer Support. This year, the event was also part of the new Scottish Ultra Marathon Series (SUMS) and was the concluding race of the series. The route followed the River Ayr Way – a 41 mile long “source to sea” footpath extending from Glenbuck to Ayr. There were about 80 runners and 40 walkers. The runners had a day to complete the route and the walkers two days.
At 7:30am the runners were bussed out from Ayr town centre to the start at Glenbuck (which apparently is the birthplace of Bill Shankly, if you are interested in football trivia). After a mass photo-shoot and race briefing we had fed the midges more than enough and were on our way. It was quite muddy in places and there were countless gates, styles and steps to negotiate. There were no hills as such, just a lot of short ups and downs. On the whole it was a super route, mostly on good paths and trails with just a few short road sections. It was great to witness a body of water gradually grow from a small stream to a major river. The race was well organized with plenty of checkpoints on route supplying water, fruit, chocolate and other goodies. However despite the great efforts of the organizers in marking the route, navigation was tricky in a few places and the detailed map that I printed off from the race website proved invaluable (apparently several runners did some unplanned extra miles!).
In the evening after the race Elly and I attended the end of series SUMS prize-giving ceremony and ball in Ayr Town Hall. It was quite a contrast to see runners from the race all dressed up in their finery, and amazing to see so many up dancing after the exertions earlier in the day. All in all, it was great value for a £17 race entry (including a t-shirt and medal for finishing) and £10 a ticket for the ball.
Due to injury earlier in the year I only managed to complete 3 ultra-marathons in the year – one less that the 4 required to qualify for an overall championship position, but hopefully next year I’ll go one better!”