Phil said: “The Cateran Trail Ultra-marathon is a 55 mile footrace and follows a circular route starting and finishing at the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel. The race is mostly on the Cateran Trail long-distance footpath around hills and valleys of north Perthshire, although it takes a slight detour between Alyth and Blairgowrie. The terrain is varied mainly on good paths with some short road sections. With all the rain we’ve had in May it was quite boggy and wet in places, and keeping feet dry was impossible. Also with crossing a lot of farmland there were plenty of obstacles to negotiate including countless gates and styles, sheep, highland cows and cow pats. But it all made for a very pleasant and constantly changing route.
With only 51 starters this was a small low key race, with most of the runners and their supporters staying in the hotel over the weekend made it a very sociable event. The start was at 7am on the Saturday morning, and despite the talk of stormy weather by the Met Office it was mostly dry and even occasionally sunny. The wind and rain did appear towards the end of the day, but didn’t appear to dampen spirits. There were 6 checkpoints/water stations along the way, which we also had drop bags transported to. I managed to keep a fairly even pace of 10 min miles for about 31 miles, but inevitably dropped off a bit in the latter stages. The route is quite undulating with plenty of ups and downs (just over 6400 ft of ups according to my Garmin), and in the last 5 miles there is a 800ft climb to a pass followed by a 600ft descent straight down to the hotel. I caught up another runner at the last checkpoint with 6 miles to go. At that point the wind got up and it started raining, but fortunately the wind was behind us and we ran/walked together up to the pass to try and get under 10 hours. After we reached the pass his downhill legs were in a better state than mine and he sped down hill while I took a gentler pace making sure I didn’t slip. Still I managed to finish in less than 10 hours which I was very pleased with.
Despite the weather there were plenty of folk to cheer me over the line, and straight into the hotel bar for a well earned pint. With such a small field runners were quite spread out and every time one was spotted coming down the hill people popped out to cheer them over the line, and through to the bar ! Prize giving was in the bar and ALL finishers received an engraved quaich instead of a medal, which was a special touch.
Overall a very friendly race, and superbly well organised with lots of encouragement from helpful marshals at the checkpoints (including Elly ;-)).”