This weekend 66 runners set off on an adventure across Scotland, along the magnificent coast-to-coast route of the Southern Upland Way, with the aim to complete the whole 215 miles in under 100 hours. I did not even know that such a feat was possible and I am in awe of a bunch of complete strangers!
As I type there are 38 athletes still in the race. Having set off at 6 am on Saturday, they have now been running for over 63 hours, with the bulk of the remaining competitors currently in between Checkpoint 8 at Boston Memorial Hut and Checkpoint 9 at Fairnilee Hut (due to wonders of GPS technology I have been tracking their progress throughout the race which has been exciting enough in itself!).
There has been one runner who has been leading for most of the race now – currently he is a clear 7 hours ahead of the competitor in 2nd place. But despite his running achievements, it was actually his name which caught my eye right at the beginning of the race. I doubt he knows it, but I find it kind of cool that Robert Morris shares the name of a Covenanting Martyr who once ran for his life across the very same hills which present-day Robert Morris ran through yesterday. You can read more about the Covenanter Morris here: https://wordpress.com/view/thescottishdream.com.
When present-day Morris ran past Cogshead, he was passing by a place which once offered his ancestral namesake shelter from persecution. It didn’t end well for old-time Robert Morris so I’m just glad that 2019 Robert Morris isn’t being pursued on horseback by the king’s men. But I do wonder what 17th century Robert Morris would make of people choosing to run through these hills and moors!
Anyway, I’m ridiculously inspired by what these people are doing right now. I’m no runner at all but I am now more determined than ever to walk the Southern Upland Way – something I have wanted to do since we moved to Scotland. And so, inspired by Robert Morris and all the runners who set out on the Ultra Great Britain – Race Across Scotland, I have set myself a little challenge: next month I plan to walk 92 miles from Portpatrick to Sanquhar in the same length of time it will take the winning female runner in the Ultra GB run to complete the race (current lead female is Rosie Bell who has a current ETA of 76 hours). In other words, I want to do just under half the route in the same length of time it takes a proper athlete to do the whole route. Even that seems pretty hardcore but I’m going to give it a go!
The next few weeks will be spent planning, preparing and training! I am really excited.