I had spent much of July and August moving from Aboyne down to Fife, losing around 3 weeks in training due to both the move and a case of infected bursitis in the elbow developed from manhandling bookcases. The Ring O’ Fire race had always looked ambitious, but I felt that the loss of key training was fatal to my chances of finishing it. I decided to enter the Speyside Way Race a week earlier which I was pretty confident I would be able to run.
My plan for the race was to try to hold on to 10 minute miles throughout. For much of the early parts of the run I was able to do this, and when I descended off Ben Aigan into Fochabers slightly ahead of this I felt pretty confident that I would be able to achieve this.
I found the stretch out to Spey Bay a little tougher, and this was compounded by a navigational mistake that I made while running with Theresa Majeed which added about a mile and around 10 or 11 minutes to the route.
Realising our mistake we headed back from the road onto the Speyside Way, although with hindsight I probably wouldn’t have bothered given that others who made the same mistake were allowed to simply run into Spey Bay on the road.
The route becomes more wooded after leaving Spey Bay, and I did not find this section as easy as I thought it would be. I was mainly suffering with penetration through my soles from the uneven ground. I spent a lot of time here walk/running with Marie Third and Richard Masson, before finally reaching the paved section where I was able to kick up a bit of pace for the last couple of miles into Buckie.
I was pleased overall with the result, while also conscious that there was scope for improving my time considerably through the final third without too much more work.