I took up running quite late in life, when I was about 47 – I’m now 62 so I count myself lucky to be relatively free of aches and pains and still enjoying it. After a few years of doing half marathons and a couple of marathons I got tired of road running and looked around for other options. I discovered the joys of trail running which led me on to try fell running, which I enjoy. Mostly I’ve done the middle distance BM races so the Highland Hoof is a bit of a departure from previous experience. But it combined two things I love – the Scottish mountains and running on trails – so it was definitely worth the effort of training.
Speaking of which, I trained for about 5 months, doing a mix of circuits, gym work and biking/walking as well as running. This was designed for me by my daughter Lorna, who advised me to build up leg and upper body strength rather than just pounding out the miles. It was good advice and worked. It was really only in the last month that I upped the running distance, doing long slow runs at the weekends and building up to around 4 hours on two consecutive days to get used to the length of time I would need to be on my feet.
I did a couple of recces , one based at Kinloch Hourn ,and one based at Bridge of Gaur, of stretches that were unfamiliar and where navigation was likely to be tricky and these were both very useful. After the second one, which was only two weeks before the start, I was very stiff and sore and quite concerned I wasn’t ready. But I kept up with the schedule and had some physio and it all worked out well in the end.