MacPhail

The Oban Times - - News - AN­GUS MACPHAIL an­gus­macphail@ya­hoo.co.uk

‘FALBH!’ ars’ an rìgh. ‘Fuirich!’ ars’ a’ ghaoth. (‘Go!’ said the king. ‘Wait!’ said the wind.)

It’s an ill-wind that blows no good, and while the strong south-east­erly gusts of last week­end dis­rupted our boat­ing plans for get­ting back from the Tiree half-marathon, a run among the spec­tac­u­lar views of Glen Nevis and a great night of cel­e­bra­tion was a good al­ter­na­tive.

We had planned to head back to Mull with Pal Grant on Satur­day af­ter­noon, but, due to the poor weather, that voy­age was can­celled. I had to be in Kil­nin­ver for a chris­ten­ing at which I was god­fa­ther on Sun­day and the ferry would be too late, so there was no op­tion but re­luc­tantly to pull out. Af­ter all the sweat and swear­ing in the train­ing process, and hav­ing promised to run, we de­cided to do the event on the main­land and then at least we couldn’t be ac­cused of dodg­ing the dif­fi­cult part.

Two of our team had to stand down due to mi­nor in­juries – Ania with a sore hip and Andrew with a foot strain (prob­a­bly from kick­ing my tòn too of­ten with it!).

So three of us, a dog and two sup­port­ing cy­clists headed up the beau­ti­ful val­ley of Glen Nevis to un­der­take the 13.1 miles of pun­ish­ment.

Of the three run­ning, I was most def­i­nitely the begin­ner. Chloe, the Skip­in­nish of­fice boss, runs up Ben Nevis for fun and is do­ing an ul­tra marathon (40 miles) in a few weeks, and Ma­ciek, Ania’s brother, was a ju­nior Pol­ish in­ter­na­tional 400 me­tres hur­dler.

Run­ning along with these two cre­ated a scene like a wal­rus and two gazelles on a day out. They were very kind and stayed with me, which was nice but as they were ob­vi­ously not un­der any strain they kept try­ing to talk to me, which was like the den­tist ask­ing ques­tions when you’re get­ting a filling. They were hav­ing great craic, but I did not have oxy­gen avail­able to waste on con­ver­sa­tion.

There was a fair amount of up­hill ter­rain in the first half, which did not agree with my legs and lungs, but the stun­ning scenery of the out­ward run was very ef­fec­tive in dis­tract­ing me from the bat­tle to keep mov­ing.

The 13.1 miles was con­quered steadily and we fin­ished in two hours and 17 min­utes. It must take a fair dose of fuel to move 18.5 stone that dis­tance and, ac­cord­ing to my Fit­bit, I burned 2,500 calo­ries.

We were very happy to hear later that Mary Ann Kennedy and Nick Turner of Wa­ter­colour Mu­sic and Peter Grif­fiths of CalMac, the team Skip­in­nish run­ners who ac­tu­ally reached Tiree, all had a successful event too.

A boat on the shel­tered wa­ters of Loch Lochy, a feast to re­fill us with calo­ries and a view­ing of the orig­i­nal Whisky Ga

lore film were our means of cel­e­bra­tion. The film was a fit­ting pre­lude to the chris­ten­ing cel­e­bra­tions in Oban the next day where the more fa­mil­iar ‘half’ marathon was un­der­taken with vigour.

We were dis­ap­pointed not to make it to Tiree but the wind is an un­pre­dictable and stern mas­ter. As the Gaelic say­ing goes ‘Falbh!’ ars’ an rìgh. ‘Fuirich!’ ars’ a’ ghaoth.

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