Davidson keeps running on... and on... and on to 24-hour glory
Keep On Running may have been a number one hit for the Spencer Davis Group but it was sound advice for Thurso's Angela Davidson as she ran for 24 hours to win ultra-running glory at Tyndrum.
Competing in the Tyndrum 24, Davidson (45), who works for BT, ran all day and all night to win the ladies' crown – and finish fourth overall – in a time of 23hr 13 min 09 sec.
It was a remarkable feat given the magnitude of the task. However, the distance and time involved was not the hardest part of the race.
Most races, no matter how short or long, start and finish at different points. The Tyndrum 24, though, involved going around the same circuit time and again for an entire day.
Davidson said: "Going round and round over the same ground was monotonous.
"When running a marathon, you start at one point, take in a host of different sights while running and then finish at a different point.
"With the Tyndrum 24 being on a loop you would see the same things and run the same track for 24 hours.
"Also, like all runners who run long distances, you do 'hit the wall', so to speak, and I hit mine eight hours in.
"I wanted to come off at that point, to be honest, but something in you gives you that mental toughness to come through that and carry on.
"Having my music and my headphones helped keep me going. I also had my backpack on me which had the basic essentials such as water and something to eat.
"There were options for runners to sleep if they wanted a couple hours or more rest but I just kept on going.
"I've never been first before, but after 25 miles one of the race marshals told me that I was the leader in the ladies' competition.
"I carried on and it wasn't until the last three or four laps when I got a text message from my husband – who had been following the event online – that I was in with a real chance of winning this.
"So I kept doing what I was doing and I did enough to hold on to my lead and win the ladies' title.
"Thankfully I've no blisters at all on my feet after a run like that. My feet are a bit sore but that's it.
"I normally use road shoes for racing marathons but I wore a pair of trail shoes for this event and they worked out well. The soles are still intact."
So what made Angela take up competing in races that last all day and all night?
She added: "Around five years ago I reached 40 years of age and I wanted to do something different.
"I decided to try running a marathon. Then I ran another and it just kept on. I soon reached a point where I wanted to go to the next level.
"After my last race in November, the Glen Ogle 33, which wasthe last of the 2019 series,I thought about taking part in something a bit different that I hadn’t done before.
"Point-to-point races, such as the Highland Fling and the Great Glen Ultra, are more my style and I have never done a 24-hour lapped race before,and nothing quite so deep into winter.
"This particular race at Tyndrum took place mostly in darkness. Each lap was five miles with mixed terrain, until midnight where it reduced to four-mile laps consisting of some very technical trails with small river crossings, dirt tracks and some more manageable trail with a 12,000ft ascent in my complete run of 104 miles.
"I had no real targets going into this run – the challenge in any of these trail ultras is usually to finish. For me, I wanted to stay on the route for as long as possible – if it was a good day with decent weather, I could exceed 70 miles without needing any medical care at the end. I have previous history of getting stitched up at the end of a race.
"Without realising at the time, I was doing a lot better than that and ended up winning."