All I Want For Christmas Is Strava King of the Mountain (Andrew)

The Christmas number one is the most coveted chart position every year. Everyone wants to know who will be number one on Christmas Day. This year, in America, the Christmas number one battle saw Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You finally reach the summit 25 years after it was first released. (It had previously stalled at number two).

But, over on this side of the Atlantic, the UK celebrated as another person reached the summit in first place many years after first trying to get there.

Yes, forget about the pop charts, and check out the Strava charts as I finally, finally, finally conquered the War Memorial segment on Strava to become the fastest person in the world to climb Stornoway’s highest spot. You can read about my challenge here.

It almost didn’t happen. First, when Iain checked the Top 10 it turned out that another competitor had secretly conquered the top spot just three weeks before. No longer was Florent Schaal my nemesis – read about our imagined rivalry here – nor was Iain – read about his cheating ways here – instead a new man, Michael, had sneaked in under the radar and stolen the top spot. I needed to not only run faster than Florent, but also Iain and now, Michael.

I was planning to attempt a run on Boxing Day but, when we went out yesterday morning, Iain wanted to give it a go. I wasn’t up for it. I felt tired and was only wanting an easy run around the Castle Grounds. But, after he said to give it a go, I thought it would be good practice for the ‘real’ attempt later in the week.

There was no wind, so I thought this run would be slower. How was I meant to run fast if I didn’t have a helping push? So, I tried running fast, but not necessarily as fast as I could. This was just a practice anyway.

I didn’t even check the time when I got home. I thought there was no point as it would only show how much faster I would need to go.

But, when I did, all I can say is…

HAIL TO THE KING, BABY!

Stornoway Half Marathon – 1hr 44min 59s (Iain)

SCENE: A NIGHTCLUB. 

It’s late at night. So late that it’s no longer today but tomorrow. Our “hero” is at the bar. He’s ordering his 7th pint of the evening/early morning. It could be his 8th. It could be his 20th. He lost count a while ago.

BARMAN

Didn’t you say you were running a half marathon tomorrow….sorry, today?

OUR HERO

What….ummm..pint…YAY….music! <starts dancing>

BARMAN (laughing)

I’ll see you at the start then!

OUR HERO (singing)

Do you remember when we used to sing,
Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da

END SCENE

The next day our “hero” made it to the half marathon but was so hungover he couldn’t hold the pen to fill in the entry form. He ran the first three miles quicker than he’d ever run before as he was desperate to get to the water stop.

It was a beautiful sunny day and the drink poured out of him in alcoholic sweaty drops. He finished the race faster than he’s ever done a half marathon before – and he spends the rest of the day in bed ill. He misses the Scottish cup final because he’s asleep/comatose.

He vows never to drink before a race again but…

He repeats this scene the next four times he enters the same race. Each time he vows never to drink again.

This weekend was the fifth attempt, and this time he vowed he would definitely do the race sober…

I achieved my goal and reached the start line sober. There was a good turnout for the race and the sun was shining. A rare sight in Stornoway – about as rare as a sober runner.

The organisers had changed the route since the last time I’d entered but it was still undulating with a few wee hills. The weather was good and I set off strongly. Too strongly: I tired in the second half and couldn’t keep up the same pace.

I finished with a personal best for the race so I was happy with that. I was only one minute quicker than my drunk time which implies I was fitter back then or that its actually okay to have a drink before the race!

Now, where did I put my dancing shoes…

run