Thanks to Paul L for this vivid account: 'I found myself standing on the start line of last weekend’s Devil O’ the Highlands footrace which takes you 43 miles from Tyndrum in Perthshire to Fort William over the West Highland way on a beautiful August morning. It was the longest race I’d ever undertaken.
I set off at a gingerly pace after support crews Davie Nicholson’s pep talk the night before, I had been advised to save my strength for the second half of the race as I would start to tire. Leg 1 from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy seemed to fly by and I found myself quite enjoying the atmosphere of the day running along with competitors from all walks of life in some stunning scenery. Before I knew it I had arrived at the Glencoe Ski Centre the first real checkpoint of the race in 2hrs and 38 minutes. I left the checkpoint after taking on board what food and gels I could without stopping for too long and headed across and along the trail towards the base of the Devils Staircase the first real climb of the route towards the halfway mark. Again Davie was there shouting perils of wisdom and urging me too slow down. The 6 mile descent down into Kinlochleven seemed to wind and snake down the mountain on very stoney paths which made for tough running underfoot and making it difficult to get any kind of speed up.
Passing through the Kinlochleven checkpoint in 4hrs 40 minutes by this point the temperature was rising under the glare of the midday Sun as we took on the 1100 feet of climb up onto the Lairig Mor. This was the toughest part of the race with the field well strung out there seemed to be more tourists walking the route than runners. I slowed to a walk from miles 30-33 feeling cramp in my calves every time I tried to break into a run but wary that the watch was counting down towards my target time. Again stand up support crew Davie Nicholson who with some choice words of encouragement managed to get me running again and into our unofficial checkpoint at Lundavra. I’m sure however those choice words must have felt like sweet revenge from my supporting him in Junes full West Highland Way Race.
After being almost forced fed more Jelly Babies and gels than I care to see again for a long time, I set off along the final leg through Glen Nevis and the descent to the finish line, by this point I had one thing in mind and that was to finish. I managed to overtake 3 or 4 more runners in the final miles and the sight of the tarmac at the Braveheart car park seemed to give my spirits the lift they needed to get me too the line in 7:43:43. In retrospect and after a few days recovery it was a fantastic experience, which has given me the bug for ultra marathons, but I must give a massive thanks to fellow Hawk Dave Nicholson for his support and wisdom over the months of training, I couldn’t have done this without him!'