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The West Highland Way Race

04/07/2018

On Saturday 23 June 2018 at 1 a.m 235 participants stood at the start line of the West Highland Way Race at Milngavie, one of whom was Marian McPhail of Dumfries Running Club.  

Marian had completed the races 4 time previously but was very apprehensive after a DNF in 2017.  The WHW Race is an iconic ultra race which goes from Milngavie to Fort William following the waymarked paths for 95 miles with 14,760 ft of ascent. Runners are required to pass through a number of checkpoints within specified time limits and to have a support team to ensure their safety at all times and Marian was ably supported by Sandy Shankland, Margaret Gray, Dawn McDonald and Richard McDougal all members of Dumfries Running Club. 

Marian set off at a slow steady pace with her aim simply to get to the finish line in Fort William. Marian reached Balmaha on Loch Lomond as dawn broke in 214th place and gained six places by the time she reached Rowardennan. With a few stumbles along the way (but only one fall) Marian strategically worked her way through the field and gained a number of places and gave a masterclass in disciplined running by reaching Bridge of Orchy after 17 hours whilst overtaking more than thirty runners. The hardest section, through Glencoe and over the Devil’s Staircase to Kinlochleven was completed as darkness fell and her support team guided and encouraged her over the difficult terrain. On the final section, supported by Sandy, Marian worked very hard to reach the finish line in Fort William in a time of 29 hrs 24 mins in 151st position.  The weather was kind this year being dry and not too hot which was in contrast to last year’s extreme weather conditions of cold, wet and windy. The race winner was David McLure in a time of 16 hrs 24 mins.   Marian’s superb achievement is an inspiration to all her clubmates, especially as she completed this iconic race two hours faster than she did in 2016.

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