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Barrathon 2011

Susan, Gillian, Keith, Nick and myself boarded the MV Clansman on friday afternoon to set sail for another action packed weekend on the Isle of Barra.  Conditions for the journey to Barra could have been more different from last years "Perfect Storm", with a spot of sun bathing on the Deck.

Arriving in Castlebay on time we all headed of to our various accommodations, Nick and Susan to their scenic camping spot by the sea, Gillian and I to our comfy digs in Castlebay and Keith left for the Hammer House of Horrors on the North side of the Island, to rest up for the Barrathon the next day.

Race conditions on saturday couldn&;t have been better a lovely cool breeze and not to hot.  There was a much larger field in the Barrathon this year 250 runners, 100 up from last year including local Celeb Father Roddie from BBC&;s Island Parish.

I ran probably one of my best 1/2 marathons, and paced the race to perfection.  Nice and easy 6:30 min/mile pace for the first 7 miles.  Being a bit of a veteran of this fixture now I know the hell is that last 6 miles. This tactic paid off well as I started picking of runners on the way home into Castlebay.  Nice and steady on the big climb up the Heaval road catching SRAC&;s Andy McMahon on the decent into Castlebay.  Then on the final rise  in the village before the drop to the finish line I managed to over take another runner who let out an cry of exasperation and I went past him.  I have to admit it was the reaction I was looking for ;-).  Finished at full spring for a Barra PB of 1:28:37 and 14th place.

Keith had a tough race up front, coming a credible third place.  I think Keith was suffering a bit from the Lairig Ghru, but a great run on his Barrathon debut.  Gillian finished 1st Lady after a great race moving into 1st position at mile 10 on the Heaval climb, overtaking HBT&;s Eilis McKechanie.  Nice and Susan had great runs to again both of then post Lairig Ghru (not that would make much difference to these Ultra runners).

We lost out by and agonising 1 point to Ronhill Cambuslang for the team prize, but still won a crate of Stella which helped to easy the pain !!

The Barrathon buffet, well was the Barrathon Buffet I can&;t really describe it you have to be there and eat it yourself.  The Ceilidh was Amazing, the Vatersay Boys were back to their best and had the whole place rocking !!!

Next day the action kept on going with a spot of Sea Kayaking on the morning followed by a Hike to the Summit of Heaval and the a bit of hill running back down to Castlebay for more beers.


So 4 races of the Heb series gone 1 to go and  its looks to be a cracking finish for the club.  Gillian looks to have taken the ladies title, and I think Keith may have a fight for the the mens title.  I also think we are looking good for the team prize.  So could CAAC win the treble and break the Stornoway and HBT strangle hold on the Isles ?????


We&;ll find out next saturday sports fans, its so exciting this should be on Sky Sports 1 !!!!!!

Go CAAC !!!! 

Nick's picture

It was another amazing

It was another amazing weekend in the Hebrides. A tough, yet scenic race, amazingly organised (Katie McNeill, the organiser was presented with a Sports Scotland volunteer award in recognition of this) with the best post race setup of any race. Definitely the best half marathon in the country.

I have to disagree that it was perfect running weather. While it was cooler than the day to follow, I found it way too hot despite the cloud, with temperatures of 18C, and humid at times. I felt like I was going going to die of heat stroke most of the way round and was pouring at least a bottle of water over myself at every drink station (only 2 miles apart) and it was mostly evaporating before the next one. Ran one of my worst races. Probably the combination of the heat, having run the Lairig Ghru only 6 days before, and only 2 months of training. By this point in the year I&;ve usually had a solid 4-months of training starting in the spring in preparation for these Heb races, the LAMM etc, but this year my race performances are way off the mark due to the late start to training due to injury. I managed to force/keep my intended race pace until about mile 8-9, with Gillian only about 90 seconds ahead of me, and on for a similar time to last year, but as rolling hills of the last 4 miles kicked in my legs went to jelly and my race was over. I dropped more than 5 minutes in these 4 miles and had to walk final huge hill, losing at least 8-10 places. I attempted to recover on the windmilling downhill into the village, to little avail, to finish in a rather disappointing time.

The rest of the weekends activities more than made up for the my poor race, and I be back in Barra more of same next year. I cannot recommend this race enough!