The Illuminator 2018

Saturday 18th August, while waiting to start our first ParkRun, I suggested to Phil that we run The Illuminator!

At this point, I had never even run 5k, let alone 24k+

The ParkRun was a struggle, but that was expected having only started running 16 weeks earlier (the whiskies the night before might not have helped!)

I made a plan of the course and set out timings at a steady pace, giving us a finishing time of 4 hours 20 mins, basically 10mins/km

After looking at the plan, we decided to go for it….we had ten weeks to prepare…what was the worst that could happen?

Saturday 27th October came round a bit too quick!

I went through the list of stuff to take and decided just to pack my bumbag…I still packed way too much stuff (decided to ditch the bottle as there were two water stations on the course)





We wanted to make sure we got a parking space, so arrived sharp…turned out we were about two hours early!!





Having never signed up for a run before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from what I seen, the organisation was flawless.








We finally made our way to the start line, spirts were high and good humoured.








The start was ok, but you are very soon faced with a hill…and it goes on for what felt like an eternity 🙁   It was a bit harder than I had thought.  Running down them was surprisingly tricky too, especially with the mud, stones and only the head torches…felt as if you were only one step away from a broken bone.

The Braemar Mountain Rescue and Marshalls were all round the course and did an EXCELLENT job.

At just over half way there was a food station, with water, bananas, flapjacks and hot juice…bliss.

(That’s me in the orange jacket!)

The second half started ok, but it was surprising how much we cooled down at the food stop.

Bouts of running walking followed until the 20k mark…and then came that hill!

We had been warned about this by everyone we had spoken to.  Regardless of what we heard…it proved an understatement!

It lasts for about a kilometre and it is steep!!   Still can’t understand how people can run up this, but they obviously do!!

Once you reach the top you think that it’s over, but it’s not.  The downhill here is tricky, muddy and steep, it took a bit of light footwork to get down in one piece.





I was never so glad to see the South Deeside Road before, the run back to the finish line is “only” a kilometre, but by the time we got there, it felt much longer.

We crossed the line together with a time of 3 hours 44 minutes, received our medals and went back to the Community Centre for a hot drink and pastry (no photos as I was done)








I wasn’t the best company on the way home.  Mixed emotions.  Tired, cold and I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or sad with the whole thing.

I was a bit frustrated on how my legs reacted towards the end.  My breathing, heart and general feeling was fine, but the tops of my legs were like mill-stones, they weighed a tonne…still can’t reconcile it?

The Illuminator was 26 weeks to the day from when I did my first “run/walk/jog” in Fetteresso Forest, maybe a bit too much too quick?

What did make it easier was having company all the way round.

Phil stuck by the old man (#fatand50) all the way round, even helping lighten my load by eating the tonne of haribo I had packed!

Got home just after midnight and after a shower had a pie and chips (thanks to Mrs M for staying up)





Now what??

Maybe this?

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