Watt’s ultra test
Lang Toon runner’s Glenmore 24- hour race victory
Steven Watt pushes away from the start line and realises that a range of differing emotions will be felt in the hours to come.
Feelings of adulation can soon be replaced by moments of suffering as the legs — and often the mind — begin to throw up questions.
But that fails to thwart this determined ultra-marathon runner from hanging up the trainers and calling it a day. It inspires him to come back for more.
Steven (42), from Auchterader, is reflecting on a special weekend where he clocked up 81-miles at the Glenmore 24-hour Trail Race.
As the name suggests, competitors are provided with a day to cover as much distance as possible in the shadow of the Cairngorms.
The challenge of an ultramarathon, which consists of any race longer than the classic marathon distance of 26.2 miles, is gripping for Watt.
He said: “The enjoyment is retrospective. At the time you are thinking: ‘What the hell am I doing here?’
“You do get moments of enlightenment along the way and feel this is reward for all the training and early morning starts.
“But a lot of the enjoyment comes after in terms of the sense of achievement.
“The run the other weekend was my longest run to date in terms of distance. I got to 60 miles at around 1am on Sunday morning.
“At that point, there was a feeling that I could stop because it was my longest distance covered ever.
“I went for a lie down to try and shut my eyes but it wasn’t happening. I got up and managed to get to 81 miles.
“It’s strange because immediately after a race you think about never doing it again. It can takes hours or even days to think how much enjoyment there was.
“You become addicted to the suffering in a way. Prior to starting the run, you need to accept that you are going to suffer.”
The weekend achievement was run over a four-mile circuit, with Watt continuously looping past base camp where friend John Cassidy was on hand to provide support.
That feeling of camaraderie, not solely from the sidelines but also from fellow race competitors, is enlightening.
“What they say about ultramarathons is that it’s not about minutes per mile,” Watt said. “It’s about getting from A to B or just finishing. There is a personal challenge.
“And I think because of that the community is very friendly. It’s not a competition — people running