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Slainte Mhath 2017

This has been a while! I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog! The reason why I don’t write blogs any more is because I lack the motivation to find the time to write blogs as I am either sleeping, eating, working or training and when I am not doing any of these I am spending time with family and friends. Also my writing skills are terrible and I don’t want to bore people with my never ending running chat!!

So why now? Well I am at home in Skye having a quiet evening looking out over Portree and the Old Man of Storr with a glass of Bordeaux’s finest red in hand (for purely recovery purposes!) and I thought I would share my thoughts on 2017 which has been so much fun and outline some rough plans for 2018. So if you want me to bore you for the next 10 min or so make your self a cup of tea or something stronger and read on!

View from my parents house on Skye

So 2017 started of with a trip to FASIC’s at the start of January to get a cortisone injection into a Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot before heading to Hong Kong for a family holiday and since the Hong Kong 100 was on while we were going to be out there it would have been rude not to take part!! When I travel I love to use running as away to see places and to experience the local culture. HK 100 lasted about 60km for me before I called it a day and pulled out the main reason was my foot was playing up, you will hear that excuse a lot in 2017!

Next was Hardmoores 55 in March which I won and broke the CR. Then it was time for some speed work at Three Peaks Race at the end of April not before another visit to FASIC’s for another cortisone injection into the Morton’s Neuroma this time on my left foot. The Three Peaks was a disaster! Just one of those really bad days I could write a whole blog on what went wrong but safe to say it was a big kick up the ass to look after my body more.

At the start June it was back to FASIC’s for another injection into my right foot and to talk about the possibility of an operation to get the Neuroma removed as they were gradually getting worse. Mont Blanc 80km was my A race so the first six months of the year and all the training and racing was focused to get me in the best shape for this race at the end of June. I won the Keswick Mountain Festival 50km and broke the CR at the start of the month fairly comfortably as my last long training run before the MT Blanc 80km. The race started well but after about 30km that pesky Mortons Neuroma on my right foot was grumbling and by 70km it had ground me to a halt , Game Over!

Ramsay Round, telling my foot to behave!

If anyone knows anything about Mortons Neuroma or nerve pain then you will know how sore it can be but the most frustrating thing for me is soon as I stop running the pain starts to go away and after 2-3 hours I can walk normally again. By mid July my foot was feeling ok and the weather was looking el scorchio for Scotland which is rare so I thought I would take the opportunity to try a Summer Ramsay Round after 10 hours guess what? Yep you got it right that blasted Mortons Neuroma again!!

August saw me and my wife Rachael heading to Chamonix for the month with our camper van as we had rented our flat out for the Edinburgh festival and she managed to get some leave, we were living the dream! I had planned to follow a fairly structured training programme as when we got back from Chamonix I only had 3 weeks before my last big race of the year but that all went out the window when I arrived! I was like a kid at a sweetie shop wanting to go and run this trail and then climb this mountain and that is what I did, great fun! The highlight of Chamonix and one of the year was getting to climb MT Blanc in a day starting and finishing in Le Houche with Rachael. Also won the Trail De Fiz 8 Refuges while out in Chamonix.

Summit of MT Blanc

Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra in September was just one of those days where everything clicks and all your hard work in training finally comes together. To win a Sky Running World Series race on your home turf is very special and something I will never forget, plus it was really nice to hang out with the rest of the Salomon family over the weekend of racing in Kinlochleven.

November I finally went under the knife at the Spire Murrayfleid Hospital to get the Mortons Neuroma removed from both my feet and I am deeply grateful to the nursing and surgical staff led by John McKinley that did a great job as It is now December and since the operation I am back up to 15 plus hour training weeks and finished my first ever Ski Mountaineering Race yesterday at the Lecht2090, so the feet are recovering really well.

I would like also take this opportunity to thank my sponsors Salomon, this has been my first year with the Salomon family and it has been a great experience meeting and hanging out with the team and other athletes at the Salomon UK events. Also Suunto for helping me explore new trails and mountains with their navigational features on the Spartan and Ambit watches. Mountain Fuel for the nutritional products and advice. Dr Andrew Murray, Mandy & Sandy at FASIC’s and Daniel Gerber who have all kept me running and racing and have helped massively with recovery. And finally to my friends and family especially my wife Rachael who has supported this year, It is all greatly appreciated and I could not achieve what I have done without all your help.

Training Stats for the Year

Stats for the year

Plans for 2018

January - Run the length of the largest lake in Mongolia in conditions of -30c, thanks to Sandbaggers

February - Scottish Skimo races

March - K42 Mallorca

April/May - Race (not decided)

June - Mont Blanc 90km (got some unfinished business)

July/August - Ultra Race (not decided)

September - Salmon Ben Nevis Ultra

October/November - maybe one more ultra to finish the year off

Happy New Year, here is to a great 2018, Slainte Mhath

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