The Race starts with a run over Pulpit Hill near Oban. It’s about 6 miles I think. Grit and I ran it on Wednesday night as a trial but got lost! That was pathetic really but we just missed one turning. We sailed Sumara down from Dunstaffnage to Oban Bay Marina early on Thursday morning and picked up a buoy. Charlotte and Sarah arrived on the 11:30 train and booked into a hostel for the night. Sumara only has three berths and there were to be five of us onboard. We still had to do the provisioning and meet our new crew member Rick Robson who was arriving at 15:30. I met Rick at the station and he looked just the ticket! A big smile and a Basque berry with a soft bag slung over his shoulder. Rick looked like a real fell runner – well he was a real fell runner! At 16:00 we trundled down to Oban Yacht Club for the full kit inspection and registration. They are pretty thorough on this and every item is carefully ticked off. They make sure the torches actually work and no one has filed down the studs on their shoes. I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that. Mind you, I will give a pretty damming report on the studs on one make of shoe later. We all passed the inspection, were given our race numbers (41) and we queued up for the ferry back to the boat. There was still a long list of tasks needing to be done. In the morning Sarah and Charlotte would sail the boat up towards the start area and Grit would row ashore to collect Rick and me who were doing the first running race.
The race briefing was at 09:00 outside the clubhouse. Rick and I went off for breakfast. The race start was to be at 12:00. On this race there was no requirement to carry full kit. I was still a bit worried about my knee so I wore an elastic bandage and a bit of Ibuprofen Gel.
At noon about 120 runners were lined up for the start. Some of these runners are the top dogs of the fell running world, and then there was me at the other end. However, we did our best and were certainly not last back. After running through the finish line we met Grit and rowed as fast as we could back to Sumara ready for the sail to the start line.
We were underway. After all the stress of the preparations, it was a great feeling.