A JAUNT down the A1 to Berwick-upon-Tweed? Or what about lapping up the views from the southern shores of Loch Lomond at Balloch?
Both seem like pretty long drives from Corstorphine for a day out by car – but that’s the distance CAAC athlete Dougie Selman will be running having been selected in the Scotland team for the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k road race championships next month.
The Loch Ness Marathon winner, 34, is stepping up to the mammoth 62-mile distance for the first time at the Home Countries International event in Craigavon, Northern Ireland.
Dougie admits he’s “mildly intimidated” by the venture into the unknown and is on a steep learning curve before the starter’s gun fires on April 2.
He said: “I have never raced further than a marathon before, and I’ve never run further than 45k in any format, so there’s a lot of learning for me to do. I have done a few longer runs in training now, so I’m getting more of a sense of what it will be like, though the race itself will be a whole other level.
“It will be different to the marathon. For one thing, in the marathon I’m out there for around two hours and 20 minutes, but this one will be more like seven hours. Things like fuelling will be even more important and I think the psychology of it will be an interesting challenge to try and master.
“It’s hard to have too specific an aim for the race. The baseline goal is to finish, and I would obviously like to do that in as quick a time as I can, but I’m not too sure what’s realistic pace-wise.
“In terms of training, it’s becoming more concentrated around one or two big runs per week. I’ve got a rough idea of where I want to go with those, but I’ll have to work out the finer details as I go along and see how I’m handling it.”
Dougie, a member of CAAC since 1999, has joined some of his Scotland team-mates for sessions in the Meadows to practise things including drinks strategy at race pace. He says he has enjoyed getting to know some new faces but doesn’t know what to expect from his rivals come the big day.
He said of his call-up: “I had put my name forward for consideration just before Christmas but, given I’ve never run further than a marathon before, I wasn’t sure how realistic a selection for the team was. I got a call from one of the team managers, Adrian Stott, in early January and was really pleased to have been picked.
“I don’t know the team or competition too well yet, but the Scotland team have all been communicating over WhatsApp and a few of us have done group runs. Everyone is really friendly and supportive of each other. Hopefully we’ll put up a good showing in the race.”
Dougie, who works as a solicitor at Edinburgh investment firm Baillie Gifford, secured a fantastic victory at last year’s Loch Ness Marathon, overtaking 2019 winner Isaiah Kosgei, of Kenya, around two miles from the finish.The epic run made it back-to-back CAAC successes in the event, following Stuart Livingstone’s win in 2021.
But Dougie revealed some of his most enduring memories of the triumph include being ambushed by Nessies and a mascot from event sponsor Baxters.
He recalled: “A lot of the race was pretty uneventful, so my main recollections are really of the last few miles and the moment of crossing the line. I’ve got a distinct memory of being quite perplexed by the person dressed as a Baxters can of soup that came to congratulate me as soon as I crossed the line, along with two Loch Ness Monsters. I also then had to try really hard not to be sick when giving a couple of brief interviews!
“It was a great experience for me and a memory I will never forget. I’m not sure how much it actually tells me about how well I’ll be able to handle 100k though, so it certainly won’t make me feel over-confident about the challenge.
“I’m not sure yet if I’ll be back at Loch Ness this year. I do want to run a marathon in the second half of 2023, but it will depend a bit on how well I recover from the 100k.”
Photo credit: Charne Hawkes for Loch Ness Marathon