Lesley and Karen in top 4 in Glenmore 24
It’s brilliant to see the results of the Glenmore 24 race this year. Two female runners finished in the top four with Lesley Lynn, of West Kilbride, Ayrshire, in second place and Karen Wallace, of Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, in fourth position. I am not highlighting these results without congratulating the guys – Dave Andrews (127 miles) was first and David Scott (120 miles) was third – but it is fantastic to see the ladies up there with the guys.
Lesley ran 122 miles while Karen crossed the finish line having run 115 miles. The two women also scored in the top three female times for this race since it was launched in 2011. Only Noanie Heffron, who ran a record-breaking 126.21miles in 2013, has run further.
Lesley, who suffers with a gullet disorder called achalasia, said: “Luck swung my way on race day and everything seemed to fall into place. We were also very blessed with some fantastic weather.
“Glenmore is as much a mental challenge as a physical one and I am delighted to have come home first lady and second overall.”
Karen added: “I loved Glenmore, especially the atmosphere of the race, which is unique with the campsite and support available.
“I was totally delighted to come second. It was my first podium finish in an ultra.”
What is Glenmore 24?
Glenmore 24 is Scotland’s first 24-hour off-road ultra marathon. It takes place just outside Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands. Runners start at midnight and aim to complete as many loops of a four-mile forest route by Loch Morlich as they can in the 24 hours.
There is also a 12-hour race and in 2015 a relay category was introduced to the event for teams of four runners.
The inaugural race first took place in 2011 with 27 runners across the 24-hour and 12-hour classes. The race record is held by James Stewart, who ran an impressive 144.33 miles in 2015.
In two other years, women have also stood on the podium overall, including in 2011 when Fiona Rennie ran 108 miles to take third place and Carried Craig ran 104 miles into fourth position.
In 2013, Noanie’s incredible 126 miles saw her take second overall and Jo Rae ran 114 miles to come third.
Lesley Lynn’s build up to Glenmore 24
Lesley has been running for around six years and her first ultra race was three years ago. She says: “I bought an entry to 69-mile The Wall for my partner Alan’s 40th birthday. He still says it was the worst present ever, although we have both now got a zest for ultra events.
“We have completed the West Highland Way Race twice, the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, the Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra, the John Lucas Memorial 50 mile twice and The Great Glen Ultra and the Glen Ogle Ultra. “
Lesley modestly describes herself as a “very average runner”. She says: “I have a condition called achalasia which means my oesophagus doesn’t push or keep food down, so this makes it a challenge to take in any food or keep it down during these events and in life in general.
“It can make or break the race for me. Last year at the Glenmore 24 I was forced to switch to the 12-hour race due to stomach issues.
“Only two weeks prior to this year’s Glenmore 24, I had to pull out the John Lucas Memorial 50 mile race at 40 miles because I had kept nothing down and I felt rubbish.
“In addition, I had also just come off a night shift with work and I am always running around after my three kids. So, I did not have great expectations for this race.”
Lesley’s Glenmore 24
Lesley completed the first few laps feeling good. She was able to keep down fluids and as the night progressed she took in the odd jelly baby.
She says: “It doesn’t sound like much but it was enough to keep me moving. I ran through the night waiting the morning sunrise, which didn’t disappoint.
“Then, just at sunrise I met Alan on the route. He had gone to sleep for a few hours and a quick chat with him gave me the spring back in my step to complete my 25th loop and get “the horn” from Ada signalling I had ran 100 miles. I couldn’t believe it!”
Still feeling good, she set off through the forest for another lap. From 11am, a “short loop” is opened to allow runners to get in the final miles in. Lesley says: “The atmosphere in this last hour is electric. The race team, volunteers, support crew, 12-hour runners and anyone else around make this an experience like no other.
“There was party music blaring, enthusiastic voices shouting you on, cow bells ringing and clapping and cheering until the final horn at noon.
“I returned from my final lap around 11:30am and soaked up the atmosphere of the small laps for the last 30 minutes of my race. I felt emotional with tiredness one minute and high as a kite the next. It was a surreal experience following fellow runners limping, crawling or attempting a run round the final laps while doing the YMCA.
“When midday struck I put my pin in the ground where I finished and fell to the ground so pleased at the distance I had covered, but exhausted.
“The Glenmore 24 is a race I would thoroughly recommend and an experience I would repeat even after muttering the famous post race ‘never again’.”
Karen Wallace runs into 4th place
Karen’s first ultra race was the Devil o’ the Highlands Footrace in 2015. She says: “I fell in love with trail running and the West Highland Way and took it from there.”
Last year, she finished third female in the “unofficial” Triple Crown (the Triple Crown is the three races o the WHW, including the Fling, the WHW Race and the Devil o’ the Highlands).
The last 18 months have not been easy for Karen, who has two children. She separated from her husband and then suffered very low iron levels. In May, she decided to devote the next four months to preparing for Glenmore.
Karen, who is coached by Paul Giblin and is part of Team Pyllon, is very grateful to her support crew including Scott Nicol, Nicola Adams-Hendry and John Connolly. She says: “They were amazing and a huge part of making sure the 24 hours went well.
“I’m also lucky to train with Paul Giblin, who gives me a structured and specifically tailored training plans each week and enables me to combine being a full-time working mum with my love of running.”
Karen describes the race as really tough. She says: “The highlights were knowing I would see my crew every four miles so if there were any issues I knew I could deal with them quickly.
“The lowest point was the last three laps. My calves went at 100 miles and I was in a lot of pain for the last 15 miles.
“I was tempted to stop once I had hit the elusive ‘100 mile club’ however I’ve been fortunate enough to become friends with Debbie Martin Consani, the queen of 24-hour running, and she bluntly told me, ‘You entered a 24-hour race, not a 100-mile race, so your goal is to keep moving for 24 hours’. That kept me going through the really tough last couple of hours.
“I am so delighted to have finished the Glenmore 24 and to come home second female as well as fourth overall. All the focus and training for this race worked out very well.”