As a supporter, it’s important to believe in your athlete and offer unwavering support. You don’t want them to waiver and doubt, you want them to remain strong and resolute. Saying that, I had no doubt that Iain TwinBikeRun would not be running the final 13 miles of Celtman and I trained accordingly as his support running. I.e. I didn’t train at all as I thought even with no training I’d still be faster than him – and I was right. But, after a 3K swim, 120 mile ride and difficult steep eight mile run to make the 13 hour cut off time, he was entitled to take it a bit easier.
Top tips for supporting
- You can start running with your athlete from either T2 or from T2A, about 10 miles into the course. I joined at T2A and you need to be mindful of traffic on the Kinochewe to Sheildaig road. As a supporter you can only drive east to west so make sure you spot the transition as you won’t be able to turn around and drive back. This may have happened to me…
- There is a car park to unload at T2B, about a mile and half down the road. You can stop here too. If you see it. I may have missed it too…
- At T2A transition, to save time, you can check your bags before your competitor arrives. This is also useful if you miss something and need to quickly find a replacement. Luckily, this didn’t happen to me.
- The first couple of miles from T2A is along the main road so watch out for traffic.
- After two miles, you switch to the low route around Ben Eighe and towards Torridon. Wile this may be the low route, it is not an easy or flat route. It is still a serious mountain trail with a lot of climbing and technical trekking. Watch out for your footing, a couple of tricky stream crossings and plenty of scrambling left and right to find good places to walk/run. Don’t be surprised if it takes 40 minutes to walk one mile.
- This is an exposed part of Scotland. As the 2022 race showed, the weather can be brutal with strong winds and constant rain. Make sure to follow the race kit instructions and to wear/bring more than you think you might need. Don’t just bring a waterproof running jacket, bring seal skins. Don’t just bring a hat, bring a hazmat helmet. Think diving bell, rather than summer stroll.
- The low level route doesn’t finish along the shore, like the high level route. Instead, thankfully, it’s a straight walk through Torridon to the finish line at the village hall. I thought we still had three miles to walk around the village and I was very happy to find out it was only 500 metres.
- Get a buffet ticket for when you arrive at the hall, the hot food is essential after many hours in the mountain.
- Think about how you’re getting home. I have to admit I don’t know how other competitors/supporters arranged to get back if they didn’t stay in Torridon. I would share what we did – but I’m not sure it was strictly allowed…