Monday, 29 April 2013

The Hoka Highland Fling (from a supporters viewpont)

Wow what a roller coaster of a last few days it’s been.  The week’s highlight beyond doubt was seeing my best running pal Amanda finally realise her dream and completed the 54 mile Hoka Highland Fling foot race.  As did my other lovely friends from the Ultra Dafties fb site Noanie, Davie Mooney and Peter Hunter. Soooo unbelievably happy for all of you.

Have to say it’s been a nerve wracking few days. I honestly believe I felt more nervous for you all than you felt for yourselves, the butterflies were running riot in me on the lead up. Saturday morning arrived and I was awake at 6 knowing you were all up and getting underway.  Setting off to come out in support did not get off to a good start. Dunno why but on occasions like this I always forget vital kit like my phone. So back I went and picked up the offending gadget off the sideboard where I left it while I was busy hunting for my missing van keys. Hey ho, self-organisation failure today.  What’s this? A txt from Amanda, She’s reached  Drymen already in 2hrs 13 and I’m thinking OMG she’s going too fast. Based on our other runs I thought she’d be around 2:30 but hey, given her finish time what do I know J

Anyway, I got to myself without further cock up to a vibrant Balmaha and checked out all the bags checking them off according to my list. PH nope, Davie he’s gone, Amanda, she’s still to come as is Noanie. So I settled myself in to wait and enjoyed the atmosphere. Wasn’t long actually that Amanda bounded in looking thoroughly in control. Suddenly I’m thinking, on the telly in these circumstances the trainer always comes out with some gob-smackingly motivating speech that has their athlete bounding into the distance with renewed vigour but all I could think of to say was “you’re doing fine” original eh, sorry Amanda J

Next came Noanie, or was it Noanie before Amanda? I can’t remember but in she came all bubbly and happy and we had a big hug before she raced of in a blur of effervescent glee into the distance. Nothing much changed with Noanie on the entire run. If she was a dog shed be a spaniel whose tail would be in permawag mode. A person who has and will many times to come make me smile even if I can’t see her such is her infectious laugh that carries so far.

Next stop was a battle against the traffic on the road to Rowardennan and a brief but futile hunt for a parking space.  Luckily I had my bike with me so parked back down the road and road back.  So there I was, peering at the mass of bags checking the numbers when I became aware of an official giving me the hard stare. I’m thinking “hold on, this guy thinks I’m sizing up the bags seeing which one to nick. Don’t make eye contact and he’ll bugger off” “BOB!” he shouted “jeez!” I jumped as the realization that the official was in fact the Gannet and I hadn’t even noticed. Sorry Alan J

Happily the wait for the gang was made all the more pleasurable as John and Helen Munro arrived and got my second hug of the day. Once again Peter had “just gone as you arrived” a phrase I heard a number of times during the day and was flying along I heard. Soon came Dave who was clearly not in the best fettle but there was a look in his face that left me in no doubt that this man would be a finisher that day.  Next came Amanda looking relaxed and confident. I never once saw that confidence slip all day as she just got on with it. Finally in bounded Noanie still waggy-tailed and full of happiness and soon they were all on the way.
So off I went heading for Ben Glass and again the bike came in handy as parking at the farm was permit only and I was far too tight to possess such a pass.  Helen and John had arrived first and were able to confirm that once again I’d just missed Pete who was going along nicely.  My biggest fear now was with the other three on the hardest part of the route, what shape would they be in when they emerged at this check point. Would I be compelled to think of a gob-smackingly motivating Churchillian speech to get them home where thus far I hadn’t exactly shone in that area. I shouldn’t have worried. These guys were so determined it didn’t matter what I said. First Noanie bounded and wagged her way through and deposited a ton of gel wraps that others had littered the route with. Shame on you others and you know who you are.  Off she went in no doubt that she was soon to be a finisher.

Then came Amanda, steady and confident as ever. Thankfully she needed little from me except a few words of encouragement but I was so relieved to see her going so well I gave her a big hug as much for myself as for her and sent her on her way.

Finally come David a few minutes later, going well but clearly feeling it. As I said before though nothing about this guy  would make him quit.  All my friends today will have had the voice in the head telling them to stop but they’ve all told the voice to stick it up the arse and they’ve beaten it.

My time was up at that point and I knew they were all on the last leg, Clark was on his way out to meet Amanda at the finish and all I had to do was wait for word to come in that it was done. Peter who stormed round was already in. Then came a text from Clark, Amanda was 5 mile from home and on for a sub 12hr finish. Then came a text from a delighted and emotional Noanie who was there, job done. Then Amanda, a fantastic 11:58 finish, and then David rounding up a full house.

What a fantastic thing to have been part of and I’m ridiculously happy for you all. Seeing all these folk on this run and the atmosphere of happiness and sportingness it truly restores my faith in humanity.


  1. Awww...u say such nice things! And I feel bad for no hugs til Beinglas! I think I was on auto pilot! Thanks again for all the support! And in all honesty I have no idea what you said to me at any of the checkpoints, I was just good to see u there (and have someone to take my half scoffed bags off me!). I hope u kept my sunglasses safe tho! ;-)

  2. of course, they're in the van for you :-)