We are a happy, hardy breed!
After a briefing we went via minibuses to Loch Eriboll with high winds and yep, pouring rain!
We all met up at the village Hall and today there would be 50 Cape Wrath Half Marathon Runners and 42 10k Runners.
The route for the half marathon was from just passed Souterrain, the other side of Loch Eriboll and would follow the Loch along the A838 (from tongue and John O`Groats) passing some of the most spectacular views of this North West Scotland, all the way to Durness and finish at the village hall.
The run would start as I had encountered, head winds and driving rain, there was no way I would finish this in under 4hrs, I was aiming for 3!
But as we started and battled the elements to one of the toughest and most North westerly runs in the u.k, this would be a severe test for me.
Had my training of running and cycling to/from work been enough?
Off we went and cursing the head wind, I ran and then a glimmer of sunshine came through, maybe to reveal the secrets of what I would have enjoyed on my bike ride.
In the distance, cloud began to recede and the mountains revealed themselves with sharp and jagged edges and pools of peat water seemed to have diamonds dancing in the sun....
Another side to the weather is that it helped put out the fires that raged here recently, like the rest of the uk the hot weather was here and so were the forest fires and the remnants that now remain, blackened land on a beautiful landscape.
The weather was forever improving and the headwind had disappeared and the running was easier too though uphill but at least the wind had eased and the warmth of the day and in Scotland was very welcome!
Leaving the terrible weather behind, it was a relief to see the sun and surrounding countryside.
With each pounding step, I felt free and higher than the soaring guillemot above me, I felt at one with nature, looking, exploring and appreciating the most natural surroundings afforded to me and the warm welcome I now felt.
Someone once said to me that people who run or walk (like me) are running away from things, like responsibilities etc, that is a very negative attitude to have.
Most runners and walkers, like myself, feel the freedom and positive energy of long runs and walks, the beauty of the outdoors and what it has to offer, a challenge to get somewhere, to learn and enhance your knowledge.
Would you rather be stuck in one place doing the same thing day in, day out not going anywhere not gaining any substantial knowledge?
Here,or anywhere else you choose, you can listen to the birds and watch their flight, what sort are they?
What type of heather is on the ground?
Who lived here before?
Yes you can get these answers of the internet, but go and find out yourself, find that bit of freedom you desire, walk, take in the fresh air and feel the freedom so many people want, but you have to want it to get it.
You also have to look after it.
Would you really want to miss this experience?
The effort was well and truly worth it! And, once completed I had accomplished the most uphill route I think I had ever done and in a respectable time of just over 2hrs, quicker than anticipated and once finished a welcome bowl of soup, sandwiches, cake and a warm welcome cup of tea awaited us from the volunteers who had helped and cheered us on.
We all received comemorative certificates for completing the course and Myself and two others were also given spot prizes, which was fantastic!
It would soon be time to shower feet up for a while and the evening quiz!