November Update – Tragedy and the West Highland Way

I’m writing this with a bizarre mix of emotions; It’s a third of the way through December, but I’ve only just managed to pick up the metaphorical pen. The events of last weekend at the Clutha Vaults when three colleagues from Police Scotland and six civilians lost their lives was a sad reminder to myself and colleagues of the most important rule of Police work ‘when your shifts over, go home alive’.

Behind the scenes the volunteers and survivors from COPS will offer support and comfort to the survivors. I have written before about the help they give a friend and how I was inspired to fund raise for them. Please visit my Just Giving page to support the charity. My thoughts also go to the emergency services who responded to the incident; during my career I’ve been involved in the search and victim recovery from a helicopter crash, a harrowing, traumatic experience. When the victims are colleagues and friends, it must be much much more so. The emergency services have come along way in recognising the trauma and suffering that dealing with such incidents brings. It’s important that those involved are offered and seek long term support.

I started by saying that there was a mix of emotions, last weekend was also the last day for entries into the West Highland Way race and during the last week the committee have been assessing the suitability of applicants. There was 265 spaces available and 304 applicants, with a draw to be held to decide starters. Each entrant was assessed against the entry criteria and while I was sure I had sufficient races and experience on the course, doubts crept in. On Sunday, Facebook chatter began to build and on Monday the Race Director posted that the draw had been made and e-mails were getting sent out. I checked my email constantly and then, with a thud, my acceptance email and the realisation that I would be ‘running’ 95 miles in June next year. I was like a kid at Christmas, my A race was on, the race that will underpin my Dragons Back application. Even better, a couple of friends were also successful and it’ll be good to see them on the course, or at least at the award ceremony. I’ve set a target of sub 30 hours, which should be achievable.

Training

November was a good month for training, lots of back to back long runs, with some 60 miles plus weeks. I’ve done some of these runs with a heavy bergen on as training for the Fan Dance next month, but I’m needing to do more hills with the pack.

I was invited to run the first Perth Parkrun by a friend involved in organising it, so ran 12 miles into Perth to the start before ‘racing.’ It was a good flat course, I started at the back and made my way through the field, finishing in 27.17. My intention is to use it as a time trial and aim for a sub 24 time.

I’ve no races scheduled for December so I’ll continue to build my training volume along with some specific training for the Fan Dance and, hopefully, a leg if the West Highland Way.

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I am a police sergeant with a strong interest in policing public order, both professionally and academically. I love ultra running and seeking new challenges

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The Dragon’s Back
Race DayJune 22nd, 2015
West Highland Way Race
The Big DayJune 21st, 2014
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