In­cred­i­ble achieve­ment

Nor­man com­pletes 214-mile run

The Galloway News - - GALLOWAY VIEW - Stu­art Gille­spie

En­durance run­ner Nor­man Neil­son has com­pleted “the hard­est thing I’ve ever done”.

The pop­u­lar Dal­beat­tie butcher re­cently tack­led the 214-mile Race Across Scot­land ul­tra-marathon.

And by fin­ish­ing the event he raised nearly £1,500 for char­ity.

Nor­man, aged 58, said: “It’s the hard­est thing I’ve ever done and I can’t imag­ine do­ing any­thing harder.

“I’d like to thank ev­ery­one for their do­na­tions and their sup­port. It was very hum­bling.”

Pals were able to fol­low his progress on­line as he ran in through the night and in wind and rain along tracks, across fields and through reedbeds.

He said: “It seemed like half the town was fol­low­ing my wee red dot! They were send­ing mes­sages to my wife but I didn’t want to see them un­til the end be­cause I’d have got emo­tional.

“My wife Mar­garet and son Kevin helped get me sorted at the check­points and Dal­beat­tie Li­ons Club paid £300 of my en­try fee, which I’m re­ally thankful for.”

Nor­man set off from Port­patrick on Au­gust 18, com­plet­ing the course to Cock­burnspath in 80 hours and 40 min­utes.

He was the only one of the three run­ners from the re­gion to com­plete the race, com­ing home 34th out of the 62 fin­ish­ers. Sixty nine peo­ple failed to make the fin­ish line.

Many sup­port­ers greeted him along the way with Mar­garet play­ing a key role in his jour­ney.

It wasn’t un­til he ar­rived at Beat­tock – more than half­way through the race – that he got some sleep. And even then it wasn’t for long. He said: “I think I only had be­tween an hour and a half and three hours sleep dur­ing the whole race. I was do­ing 15 minute power naps, the adren­a­line meant you couldn’t re­ally get any sleep.

“I had taken four pairs of shoes with me and had to put a big­ger one on for the end as my feet had swollen up! I had to get my ankle strapped af­ter about 140 miles but took it off af­ter 190 miles for the last leg.

“It was a 214- mile race but it was more like 220 be­cause some check­points were a mile and a half off course. In one field there was a bull and health and safety said we couldn’t go through that so we had to go an­other way.

“It’s the first time I’ve done a race where more peo­ple dropped out than fin­ished.”

Nor­man’s ef­forts saw him win the vet 55 cat­e­gory and on Fri­day he at­tended the prize­giv­ing at the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

By tak­ing part in the race he has raised around £1,500 to be split be­tween Dal­beat­tie Day Cen­tre, Munches Park, Alma House and Bar­lochan homes.

Su­per­fit Nor­man Neil­son with his award for win­ning his age cat­e­gory in the event

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