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Scott Brown smashes Run Across Scotland record

Written by Fiona

August 24 2022

Scottish ultra runner Scott Brown ran into the record books last weekend when he crossed the finish line of the 215-mile Race Across Scotland in 58 hours, 7 minutes and 55 seconds. He cut more than two hours from the previous fastest time set last year.

Scott, 40, from Dundonald, South Ayrshire, believes he could have run a faster time if the weather has been on his side. After completing the route from coast to coast in southern Scotland, he said: “I am very happy with my run and it feels great to have set a new record. I wanted a race that would push me and test my limits and the Race Across Scotland did that.

“The weather was so hot though and that made it harder than it could have been. I think it would be possible, in better conditions, to go faster.”

Scott on the course. Credit: Evan Davies / GB Ultras

What is the Race Across Scotland?

The race is one of the GB Ultras series. The annual Race Across Scotland takes place across the rolling hills and mountains of scenic southern Scotland.

The route journeys 215 miles from along the Southern Upland Way from Portpatrick, on the west coast of Dumfries & Galloway, to Cockburnspath, on the east coast of the Scottish Borders.

In 2018, I wrote about a Scottish runner winning the race.

The female record for the Race Across Scotland was set in 2021 by Joasia Zakrzewski (GBR) in 62:20.

Scott approaches the finish line. Credit: Evan Davies / GB Ultras

Winner Scott’s Race Across Scotland 2022

Scott, who is the owner Scott Brown Fitness, is an experienced ultra runner. I met him while he was competing at the Dragon’s Back Race in Wales in 2021. In 2019, he completed the West Highland Way Race in 17:53.

Earlier this Year, Scott won the Ultra Tour of Arran and set a new record time for the St Cuthbert’s Ultra.

Scott was keen to set himself a new, longer-distance race challenge, especially a non-stop 200-mile plus event.

He says: “A friend took part in the Race Across Scotland four years ago and it stayed in my mind. It sounded like a good challenge and somewhere I had not run much before.”

In fact, Scott did not recce the route and instead he trusted in his navigation skills and tried-and-tested training pattern. He says: “My normal training week, when I do not have an event coming up, is five to six runs a week, each of at least an hour. At weekends, I run further, perhaps a two-hour run.

“When it gets closer to longer races, I will start doing much longer runs at the weekend. For example, I might run six to eight hours one day and then a two-hour run the next day. This seems to work for me.”

The weather for the race was very hot, with temperatures as high as 31.C. Scott, who is married and has three children, says “The heat was brutal. It was absolutely baking and that made it really hard conditions for running.

“Then on the second night and going into the third day there were thunderstorms.”

Scott celebrates. Credit: Evan Davies / GB Ultras

Other challenges included a few physical niggles. Scott says: “I developed a sore ankle from about 50 miles onwards and then sore knees from about 150 miles. My feet in the last 100 miles were sore, too, and by the final 20 to 30 miles, they had turned white with blisters.”

A lack of sleep also left Scott with horrible hallucinations. He says: “I only had about two hours of sleep in total. By the second night, I was so tired. I was running ahead on my own by then, too.

“The hallucinating was bad and I thought I saw people, a dinosaur in the sky, my brother in a forest and then I thought people were shouting at me.”

A real-life cow also gave Scott great concern. He says: “I was in a field of cows at one point and most were running away from me, but one decided to turn on me. It was only about 10ft away and I thought it would run into me. It freaked me out.

“In the end, I managed to put my poles up in front of me and shout at it to get away. Thankfully it did leave me alone but it wasn’t pleasant.”

Highlights of Scott’s Race across Scotland

Fortunately, there were many positives for Scott during the Race Across Scotland. He described his nutrition as “on point”. He says: “I have learned a lot about good nutrition over the last few years of racing. My fuelling and hydration was good. I also made sure I had salt tablets and electrolytes because it was so hot. I am a lot smarter about these things now.

“I also paced it well. I learned a lot about better pacing from Dragon’s Back.”

Other highlights including seeing many friends in his coaching community, as well as his family, on the route. He says: “I also had a fantastic support crew in Fiona, Kevin and Steve. They were like the Ferrari of pit crews. My race was a proper team effort and I could not have done it without them.”

Scott enjoyed the scenery on the route of the Southern Upland Way. He says: “I loved what I could see when it was daylight and I would like to return to see the bits I didn’t to see because it was dark. It was cool that we got to run from one coast to the other in this race.

“The best part though was finishing first and breaking the record. I am very happy with this.”

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