365 Days of Hill Running Wisdom – May


Day 121: ‘Invincible.’ In a word, Adrian Belton explains how he felt during the 29 days he ran the Paddy Buckley, Ramsay’s Round and the Bob Graham, two of which were records.

Day 122: Ewan Paterson on hill running: ‘It gives me meaning, bringing something to my life that nothing else does – very much a sense of satisfaction in the atmosphere of mountains. People worship cathedrals and there are a bunch of us that look at mountains as cathedrals.’

Day 123: John Fleetwood, caught in a storm on a winter Ramsay’s Round attempt: ‘This is about survival, nothing else: no-one can get me out of here but me, and I guess therein lies the attraction – me against the mountain; no get out clauses, no options, no turning back.

Day 124: Angela Mudge explains her love of high places: ‘If it was a choice between, you can’t go to the hills, but you can run, I think I’d go to the hills and not run. For me, to run is to be able to run in the hills.’

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Day 125: A mesmerised watching Stùc a’ Chroin, taking place today: ‘The line of tiny ants slowly moving up the mountain in the distance was a fabulous sight and I couldn’t help thinking that one day one of those moving ants might be me.’

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Day 126: Olly Stephenson, supporting , marvels at the enormity of Ramsay’s Round: ‘Ben Nevis looked miles away to the west, with a multitude of peaks in between. It’s perhaps a scale and perspective that would more normally be associated with a space station than a run.’ Jez Bragg’s Ramsay’s Round

Day 127: on descending: ‘It’s not about disengaging the brain and being reckless; it’s about relaxing and calming yourself, and getting rid of tension. I used to think it was a macho thing about having the bottle – I don’t buy that line.’

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Day 128: John Hammond, who ran 220 miles between Scotland’s highest 10 mountains over six days: ‘I don’t do anything by half measures. What I set out to do, I do properly.’

Day 129: Man outside Glen Nevis Youth Hostel: ‘We were watching your light descending from the top. Have you run up Ben Nevis and back?’

Graham Nash, having just completed his second successful Ramsay’s Round in 23 hours: ‘Something like that.’

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Day 130: Colin Donnelly on motivation. ‘I’m not really into titles, you know. A lot of people are into titles. For me, it’s no big deal.’

Day 131: ‘I was young, naïve and thought I was invincible. Our attitude was, if you don’t die, it’s all right.’ Helene Diamantides on the attitude of the golden generation – Broxap, Stone, Rigby, Belton et al – of hill runners in the late-80s.

Day 132: ‘It’s a great thing to get leave to live.’ – Nan Shepherd

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Day 133: on what it means to have completed the three classic rounds: ‘I look at the names on those short lists and see race winners and fell champions. Giants of mountain running. I have raised myself to be among exalted company.’ Parkin Weekly

Day 134: Hill running has always been hard. An account of the world’s first hill race, held in Braemar, in 1064: ‘The foam in their mouths seemed dried into sand – their bleeding lips, when closed, glued themselves together – the sweat pearled on their skin in cold drops…’

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Day 135: The final moments of Finlay Wild’s record Cuillin traverse: ‘Push. More jelly babies. My route up Sgùrr nan Gillean could have been 10 seconds shorter but it was okay. Keep pushing. I was breathing hard and my knees were aching from the high stepping. It didn’t matter.’

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Day 136: Glyn Jones, the first to complete Ramsay’s Round in winter (in 55 hours), defines a sport and offers a metaphor for life: ‘The glory is in the doing, not in the having done.’

Day 137: Commonwealth Games medalist Robbie Simpson on the insatiable call of the hills: ‘Hill running in Scotland is just simple. You turn up, get a number and run: up the hill, get to the checkpoints, back. It is the ultimate experience.’

Day 138: Martin Stone on the record-breaking : ‘Her resilience, consistency, determination and fearlessness have allowed her to complete a set of rounds in a way that is quite unlike anything that has ever gone before.’

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Day 139: ‘The speed at which he climbed Glamaig was incredible,’ Harkabir Thapa’s timekeeper noted, ‘more like a spider than anything else.’ Harkabir, a Nepalese visitor to Skye in 1899, was barefoot. Glamaig on the Carnethy HRC website

Day 140: Charlie Campbell’s message to Stephen Pyke, after the latter completed the Munros in 39 days: ‘It takes a singular determination and character to see an enterprise like this through to a successful ending, and you have done that.’

Day 141: ‘The drive is being in the hills. It’s total escapism. Work, phone, family, life logistics – gone.’ Manny Gorman, the first to link the 219 Corbetts in a continuous 70-day run, explains his motivation. The Corbett Round, by Manny Gorman

Day 142: As time marched on, Charlie Ramsay – the creator of Ramsay’s Round in 1978 – moved relentlessly through the rubble of the Grey Corries, forging a formidable legacy: ‘I would not stop or slow down.’ Ramsay’s Round

Day 143: Kate Jenkins, winner of seven West Highland Way races, on why she runs: ‘It’s my anti-depressant, my anger management, my frustration release; it’s for when I’m feeling rubbish at work. And I love beautiful places. They make me feel at peace.’

Day 144: notes the significance of reaching the end of the Aonach Eagach ridge in the : ‘This marks the point when you know you aren’t going home in a helicopter.’

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Day 145: Martin Moran on risk: ‘A trip, a slide, a tumble – how slender is our attachment to life, but how precious its gift when we are in the mountains.’

Day 146: Writing in 1996, Andrew Dempster was convinced someone could accomplish 30 Munros in 24 hours: ‘With the young, eager, super-fit fell runners around today it shouldn’t take long before this magic figure is reached.’ It took 21 years for to actually do it.

Day 147: My words on my Ramsay’s Round, completed a year ago today: ‘When I started running, I knew my fate was to suffer. That really is the only way it can be done.’

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Day 148: on the perception of going to the hills to run: ‘People think hill running is a bit weird. Outside the running community, people ask, “why do you do it?” They are shocked you might spend your time running up a hill for pleasure.’ Jacob Adkin blog

Day 149: Gavin Stewart has an idea for saving hill running from commercialism: ‘The best raves were low-key, word of mouth and illegal. Fell running can follow suit.’

Day 150: ‘Your future is as bright as you are prepared to make it,’ coach Martin Hyman wrote in a letter to Angela Mudge in 1997. Three years later, on a German mountainside, Mudge became a world champion.

Day 151: Nearing the end of Ramsay’s Round, Alicia Hudelson relies on old-fashioned methodology: ‘The lesson is that sometimes even the boring approach of simply trying harder can work.’ Trails and Rocks

@MuirJonny

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