ATHLETICS: Grantham club pair complete epic 105-mile Rat Race

Claudette and Darren Joint
Claudette and Darren Joint
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Grantham Running Club’s Claudette and Darren Joint travelled to Scotland to take part in the incredible 105-mile Rat Race Coast to Coast.

The epic race took them from Nairn to Glencoe, taking in some incredible Scottish scenery including Cawdor Castle, Loch Ness and Glen Nevis.

It started well with a gentle seven-mile run along a wet, slippy, muddy singletrack forest trail along the river.

Claudette said: “We maintained a steady nine-minute mile pace and reached Cawdor Castle feeling strong and a little smug.”

The forecast drizzle stayed away and the pair set off from the transition in the relative warm but overcast conditions for a gruelling, hilly 48-mile road cycle. With burning legs, they trundled into Fort Augustus, dumping bicycles and rucksacks for a dash to the finishing kayak and return run to end a successful first day in under five hours.

Claudette said the atmophere at the race camp was phenomenal. She said: “There was a sense of elation as we had all survived the first day of the challenge, and managed to beat the weather and enjoy sunshine in the Scottish Highlands. Unfortunately, the forecast for Sunday was not good and we headed to bed with a sense of anticipation and foreboding.”

The steady patter of rain on the tent fabric was their 5am wake-up call to commence day two which started with an off-road cycle along the Caledonian Canal, and then up into the hills.

After 21 miles of gravel tracks, steep, slippery, up and downhill, with an abundance of wet chalk and mud, they finally reached the road and continued for another undulating 14 miles to Fort William where they transitioned in the local shinty club.

Setting off at a gentle jog on the final 14-mile hike, it quickly became apparent that Claudette’s knee was not right.

Claudette said: “At the start of the climb up the West Highland Way, it felt as if my hamstring was in a permanent cramp. Through sheer grin-and-bear-it determination, with a good measure of resolute pig-headedness and endless patience of my partner in crime, I managed to trundle, hobble, limp, and at times almost stride up nearly 1,000m of climb, through cascading torrents of water.”

Five hours later, they reached Kinlochleven where a quick kayak across the loch to the Isles of Glencoe Hotel beckoned.

Claudette said: “With a final burst of energy, we sped across the lake and managed to cross the finish still smiling to claim our medals.

“The disappointment of not being able to run any of the last section was put at ease by the scale of our overall achievement and the thought that there is always next year.”