Having previously attempted the West Highland Way Challenge Race (96 miles in 35 hours!), Guy Smith had a pretty good idea of what was required of him to complete it. Training alone included weight loss, cutting out most carbohydrates and alcohol as well as daily 4 to 6 mile runs.
Race day started at 6am and began with a huge climb out of Fort William and straight up into the mountains via a treacherous track. Upon Guys descent he missed the turn off to the first checkpoint and had to traverse an awful knee-deep bog to get back on course.
From checkpoint 1 the trail climbed up, over the ‘Devil’s Staircase’ which is as gruesome going up as it is going down. Guy made the second checkpoint at Glen Coe Ski Lift at the 25 mile mark then commenced the steady climb to Rannoch Moor. From here he descended down again to Lock Tulla. This was followed by yet another steep, twisting mountain ascent and the long trail down to Checkpoint 3.
Reaching the 44 mile mark at Auchtertyre Campsite, in the dark, Guy refueled before heading out into the dark where all he could see were the eyes of sheep in the fields. At this point the pain in Guys feet had started, with 10 miles to the next checkpoint and the terrain consisting of sharp jagged stones.
As Guy entered Checkpoint 5 the sun was rising. He determined that he was behind schedule and decided to refuel. At this point Guy removed his boots to assess the damage and found the pain excruciating. Unfortunately there was no way he could dress his feet so decided to dry them, apply antiseptic and get warmed up.
Exhausted, Guy wanted to stop but pressed on by his wife who told him that ‘quitting was not an option!’ he gathered his belongings and started on the 18 miles to the next checkpoint. The terrain here was extremely difficult, climbing up and down boulders and rocks.
Staggering into Checkpoint 6 Guy was greeted by a race official who advised him that he had missed the cut off by around 30 minutes and couldn’t go on.
Knowing he couldn’t finish left a bittersweet feeling and disappointment that he had not finished again but relieved and comforted that he had pushed on to another checkpoint.
Many thanks to all my friends and family who have supported me, believed in me, and sponsored me. An awful lot of money, £1350, has been raised for the TLC, for which I am extremely grateful. It’s truly a fantastic cause.
Well done to Guy from everyone at Teddies for Loving Care and Northumberland Freemasons. We are extremely proud of your fantastic attempt and achievement!