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West Highland Way Race

23/06/2012

Conditions for this years’ West Highland Way race were described as ‘horrendous’, with torrential rain right from the start making the going very difficult for competitors and support crews alike. Parts of the trail were described as being more akin to a stream rather than the familiar 95 miles of well used walkers’ path. Of the 172 who lined up at Milngavie for the 01:00am start there were 119 who crossed the finish line at Fort William with 8 people having had enough by the 1st checkpoint!....

Dumfries Running Club was represented in the race by Sebastian Pflanz, who was going for his second completion in the event and first time entrant Dawn McDonald.

Conditions were such that when Seb rendezvoused with his support team Mary Pflanz, Alli Wilson and Craig Malcolmson at Drymen, only 13 miles into the race, he decided on a kit change. Seb's previous experience in this event, as well as the numerous other Ultra races he has undertaken showed, as he took things easy in the early stages and worked his way through the field to complete the gruelling challenge in 21 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds for 20th place.

Dawn too ran steadily from the start, maintaining her position as the race progressed. Her team of helpers,  Marian McPhail, Ian Gray, Zoe Newman and Sandy Shankland were fortunate in having the luxury of a campervan as support vehicle which proved to be invaluable in the conditions.  As Dawn drew closer to the finish she went into her second night on the trail and was therefore understandably suffering from sleep deprivation. However, despite almost falling asleep on her feet, Dawn drew on every ounce of strength gained from the many months of training and actually made up 11 places on the final stage from Kinlochleven to Fort William. Her time of 30 hours 21 minutes and 45 seconds saw her the 98th to reach the finish.

Terry Conway was the race winner and made light of the far from ideal conditions to set a new course record of 15 hours 39 minutes and 15 seconds.

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