Mega congratulations to Susan Wiltshire on a stunning run at this year’s Loch Ness marathon. Susan finished in a very fast 3.32 taking 9 minutes off her previous PB and setting the fastest ERN women’s marathon time to boot! Brilliant effort on what is a challenging course. Simply superb!
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The course is overall downhill but the majority of this is in the first section and can devastate your quads with the continual pounding if you’re not careful. Also, while the hill between miles 17-19 is a significant challenge, there are also a number of other short sharp climbs to contend with as well.
Susan said: “Loch Ness 2011 Marathon:
A very early start with a 5. 45 rise and forced down breakfast, then on to a long bus journey. On my own for this race, so photo taken by official photographer.
Toilet mayhem on arrival (a woman fell flat on her face at my feet struggling to get there). The ground was quite slippery as it was raining and everyone rushing for the loo. They need to do something about timing between bus arrival and toilet opportunities. Race delayed by 10 minutes due to toilet requirements for runners and having to queue.
A seasonally chilly start to the race and the rain came down hard for about an hour.
I found the course tougher than expected, in terms of steep bits that just seemed to keep coming. I knew of the big hill at 18, which should be the Scottish version of heartbreak hill (aka Boston). The downhill’s were steep and really went for the knees. Due to the rain, everything in my running belt was wet, so wet jelly beans were useless, and wet Zero tablets were useless too. Mascara a waste of time. A huge bug landed in my eye lashes and was with me till the end. IPod stopped working but luckily I brought a spare one in case of battery failure. I needed music to get me through the last bit. Plenty of water and lucozade stations. I was inspired by a very fast blind man strapped to his buddy (he fell over, but got back up – yes Mike, it was my falling over aura, but I swear I didn’t touch him). I ran with a random man for about 6 miles till we got to the big hill. We never spoke but paced one another. I callously left him at the hill (well, he’d served his purpose (:). Misty and lots of trees so you don’t get to see much of the loch (saw the monster twice though). Life affirming views at times. Clear mile markers, which annoyed me. I didn’t want to see each passing mile, but I know many folk like them. Plenty of room on the road to run and no tripping over others.
Preferred the atmosphere of the Edinburgh M, but the support at the end was really great, plus a few scatterings of folk en route. The food, music, and very welcome hot shower were great too. Baggage collection went smoothly. Got the right T shirt (albeit large but I was too spaced to object). The sun came out for the last half hour and then stayed put. Couldn’t have asked for better running weather. I felt pretty much OK energy wise throughout and no sensation of ‘the wall’. Pleased with my time. 31st woman. Overall position 313th/2346. Needless to say, I am in pain and will be for some time. Feel shattered. Time 03.32.32. Glad I did it and would recommend. It really is a monster of a marathon. Best advice a runner gave me en route – ‘stay with the moment’.