Helensburgh’s Alistair Gray was hoping to be A History Maker by taking on the 96-mile West Highland Way Race last month to raise funds for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)’s 'talking books' service. Alistair – who unlike his namesake is a civil engineer rather than a writer – successfully completed the race though admitted afterwards it was more gruelling than he’d anticipated.
The 33-year-old said: “I led the race from Milngavie to Balmaha (20 miles) in the moonlight on a perfect night. The pace was steady and I thought things were going reasonably well, but I started slowing down around Rowardennan, on the banks of Loch Lomond. It was getting harder and harder to keep the pace and I was struggling to eat anything. At Tyndrum (53 miles into the run) I was moving into the unknown, and on my way to Bridge of Orchy I was in fifth place but really starting to struggle.
“The last ten miles or so into Fort William were a real test of mental strength. At this point I was in 14th place but getting slower and slower. Another competitor caught up with me in the last five-mile stretch. I was shuffling through the trees and he pushed me to go faster and offered to help me and finish together. We ran together and the pace got faster and faster until in the last km we were flat out sprinting to the finish!"
On how he felt after completing the race, Alistair said: “I felt a bit of relief and regret. Relief that it was over and I could sit down! Regret that I didn't manage to make it further feeling better. Although I had been aiming for around 20 hours I had secretly hoped that I might have done it a bit faster and felt a bit better doing it."
Alistair has raised over £5000 so far. To donate to his cause visit Alistair’s Just Giving page.