Are some races cursed? For over 10 years I consider the last race of my ‘season’ to be the Fort William half marathon in November.
Some ‘seasons’ it might be the only race, rather than the last depending on what I’ve been doing (or not doing) that year but, each September, I pay my entry fee and book a bed & breakfast in Fort William for what I know will be a straightforward race.
The Fort William Half Marathon leaves from a football pitch next to the Nevis Centre and bowling alley. You run six miles around the bay, through Corpach, out of town, along the coast until you get to a cone and turn round and come back the exact same way you ran out.
The Fort William Marathon runs along the same route. The only difference is the cone’s six and a half miles further away.
It’s a nice race. A few hundred runners and a flat route that barely rises or falls as you run to Loch Eil and back with Ben Nevis looming behind you and over you as you turn.
It’s a good race. There’s only one problem: I always quit before it starts.
Usually it’s the weather. Fort William is wet, November is wild, and a Sunday race in November in Fort William can see horizontal rain and strong winds batter the coast.
Many a morning has started with me opening the curtains of the bed & breakfast only to think: “not today!”
Some times it’s injuries. By November I could be nursing some knocks and niggling pains that make me think it’s a good idea to take a few weeks off while the weather is bad and there’s no real incentive to be outside. Last year, it was tweak in my back that meant I couldn’t run for six weeks. Before that it’s been an ankle or a knee injury that a few weeks rest has helped heal.
It’s a race I wanted to run again this year – but you can probably guess where this is going.
I’m injured. A slight niggle in my right hip that’s telling me to use this time to recover rather than run in Fort William. Take a few weeks off, don’t do anything and start again in November with some easy sessions – and definitely don’t run a half-marathon.
So, next Sunday will join my other unsuccessful attempts to race in Fort William to make it: Andrew 4 Fort William Half Marathon 8.