Seeking asylum in the hills & transcendence on the trails

RAW River Ayr Way Ultra – race report 2011

I’ll keep it short.
Weather turned out pretty decent following the heavy rain on the Friday. Arrived at Glenbuck in plenty of time, registered and chatted to some friendly faces. Got ready to race – warmed up, then just hung about until they finally managed to gather everyone and start the race around 20mins late.

Ran a few miles with Grant and Craig.
Another few miles just with Grant.
By Sorn Bridge Grant was 1min up and I was on my own.

From Sorn into the next village the lack of signage and marshalling cost me time as I took a number of detours. Further up, the mistake was my own as I followed the ‘walkers’ caravan sign, missing the blue arrow in the other direction. When I finally got back on track I’d lost a load of time and a place (was now in 3rd).

I ran some more.

Suffered some cramp in my hamstrings. Was trying Elete caps for the first time (rather than zero tabs) but I couldn’t shake it off for the rest of the race. Not sure I’d use them again. 20miles with crampy legs and a load of desire isn’t great.

12 miles to go I caught and passed the 2nd place runner. He looked to be struggling.

At the 2nd last CP, I was 15mins down on 1st place but now over 10mins up on 3rd. With approx. 7.5miles to go I ran the next section through the woods pretty quickly (and made up time on 1st place). I met my support with 5miles to go again for another bottle swap. I was stunned to then see the 3rd place runner less than 30s behind me. Must have run like the wind through the forest to make up that time.

I picked up my feet again on the hill and with 4.5 miles to go was looking forward to the finish at Dam Park. I half expected a challenge from behind following the amazing pace 3rd place had shown over the previous section but it didn’t come. On crossing under the busy road coming into Ayr again the signs were poor and I ended up in a housing estate away from the river. More time lost but fortunately no place this time.

The finish at Dam Park required a 300m run around the track. Felt good to see the finish and the thousands of supporters. Ok, I lie. The dozens…ok, ok…….the dozen or so supporters! My crew were there as they had been all day with everything I needed. We smiled, we joked and we hugged in the sunshine. A good day’s racing and I was pleased just to have taken all the difficulties, issues, irregularities and challenges in my stride – lessons learned from previous races!! Getting tougher.

The River Ayr Way saw us running the stripped-down Pyllon Support Crew ‘Lite’. Amazing performance from the 2-man down team – never a grump, always a smile, with everything I needed at the right times. They looked good too! Woooot wooooo…Thank you x

Did obviously miss the inside info that only a Mum can procure throughout a race and the sight of my father 500m before a CP with a pat on the back and some electrolytes.

I’d also like to thank the lovely Suse (partner of my new running hero Bill ‘Mayfly’ Hutch). As well as some emergency water (after detour 2) I always get a shout and a smile that never fails to lift my spirits. You guys are awesome and a fine example of everything that’s good about the sport and the Scottish Ultra scene.

So that’s it, the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series is over for 2011! 3rd place in year 1 isn’t bad. Lots of lessons learned, met some really lovely people, shared some laughs, some tears, stresses and pains. Most of all though, it’s been a way for me to make some precious new memories with my family that we’d never have achieved without this crazy sport. Memories that’ll stay with us forever. So, thank you SUMS – we’ll be back!

18 responses

  1. Superb !!!!! you ARE the man !! you will cause havoc next year !! all the “faces” will be training hard over the winter because of you !!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    September 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    • We’ll see!

      Hopefully we’ll be doing some of the same races next year mate ๐Ÿ˜‰

      October 1, 2011 at 6:59 am

  2. Karen D

    Huge well done Paul, roll on next year!! Maybe switch to Succeed S Caps to stop the cramps, they really do work. Hopefully see you and your crew at a race again soon.

    September 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    • Thanks a lot Karen!

      Yep, I’ll certainly give the Succeed a try.


      October 1, 2011 at 6:59 am

  3. Nitnat

    You done amazing on sat, and all thro the other races you’ve done this year ๐Ÿ˜€ can’t wait to be part of the support team next year!! Xx

    September 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    • Assuming you make Support Team selection ๐Ÿ˜€


      October 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

      • Nitnat

        :p xx

        October 1, 2011 at 7:42 am

  4. Brilliant end to the season Paul, in spite of navigation/cramp problems. I was using Succeed S!Caps (one every half hour, but I’m 1.5 of you thin guys so reckon it’s safe) – and still had to stop with cramp for a bit a couple of miles from the end.
    Podium SUMS finish is just something else – I’m looking forward to seeing just what you can do in 2012 too. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    September 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    • Thanks Andy. Seems a long time ago now – our first chat at the Fling!

      Brilliant result picking up 2nd overall – well done. Assuming you’ll be back again next year?


      October 1, 2011 at 7:03 am

  5. Great work Paul, shame about the navigational issues.

    September 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

    • Thanks Mike. Was a little strange you not being there!

      Good luck for Loch Ness and hopefully see you before next year.

      October 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

  6. Graeme Hewitson

    Well done from the Hewitson brothers Paul! We met you out training the week before the fling this year and on the day. Saturday was my first RAW – seen you from a distance but never got the chance to catch up. Really enjoyed the race. See you next time. Kind regards, Graeme.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    • Hi Graeme, delighted to hear that the Fling wasn’t a one-off! Well done, a tougher race than expected I thought.

      I’ll need to look out for you on the start list in future so I can at least say hello! Were you running it on your own then?


      Ps. Still up for a wee training tun sometime if you fancy it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      October 1, 2011 at 7:10 am

  7. Lilacswizzle

    Another awesome performance bro. You should be very, very proud of what you have achieved this year. I am.

    P.s I do think you still need to eat a couple of more pies but!

    Love you
    Yer sis

    October 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

    • Nah ๐Ÿ˜›

      October 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

  8. Graeme Hewitson

    Hi Paul, yeah – thought the fling would be a one-off – but seem to have got hooked! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jeff is still running but was in Israel for 3 weeks before the race and couldn’t train. I started with my brother in law Steve, but left him with another guy we met on the route 5 miles in, so ran the next 35 or so miles on my own. Wasn’t sure what to expect either but found last 10 miles tough – had to dig deep to stop myself walking! Crossed the line in 7hrs 03 which was great for a guy of my standard ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Definitely up for a training run – but you will need to slow down a little!

    October 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

  9. jo

    congratulations Paul. What a year for you. Dad says “very very prooouuud” love you. mum and dad. xx

    October 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

  10. Pingback: Running in Lake District – Coledale Horseshoe « pyllon

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