Scotney and Adams Lead The Way
By late afternoon the first runners had arrived at camp 3 of the Cape Wrath Ultra and it was no surprise that Marcus Scotney and Thomas Adams were the first across the day’s finish line. These two runners have lead each day, always Scotney first and Adams second, to establish a strong lead over the rest of the field.
I spoke to them in the canteen tent and found they come from very different running and training backgrounds. Scotney is a well known elite UK mountain runner with a long list of successes in ultra distance mountain challenges, mountain marathons and fell running.
He’s trained specifically for this event for some time and has a rigorous and scientific training approach. “I’ve been running 100 miles a week in training for months ahead of this race to prepare,” he said. That’s a trail, hill and off-road 100 miles a week in the Peak District. “I guess about 20% of that is across the bogs and peat hags on Kinder,” he said. “It’s the closest I can get to preparing for this terrain.”
“On that training I’ve lost a lot of weight, down to 56kg,” he said. “I’ve been trying to put more on ahead of the event, but not succeeded. This is ideal for me as I’m quicker over the rough stuff and the days have just been stunning. I’ve been taking photos along the way and took some of Torridon at the end of today. I may never get the chance to see it again!”
He has said he wants to keep his heart rate at level 2 and when I asked what this was he said; “It’s 155. Anything over that and I’m pushing too hard, though I have spiked higher when I got over excited!” I asked what his resting rate normally was and he said “around 44”! He records his heart rate over the days run, along with ascent and distance, and yesterday was giving out some advice on recovery technique in the competitors tent, surprising those listening by saying he even sometime uses acupuncture techniques on himself.
He’s clearly revelling in the opportunity the Cape Wrath Ultra is providing to run across a region of Scotland few get to visit. The participants here will get to see and experience the North West highlands in a way no one else has, and see more of the region in 8 days than even dedicated explorers of the highlands will see in decades.
Adams has been something of a surprise, often keeping Scotney company for part of the day, though he said, “He shoots off on the downhills and across the rougher ground. There’s a technique to running over tussocks and he has it and I don’t.”
He continued, “I don’t get the chance to train in anything like this terrain as I work in Angola – there are not a lot of bogs and tussocks there! I have to drive 90 minutes out of the city into the countryside to run and then it’s on roads and trails. My only training for races is at races themselves and I don’t do many. My last multi-day race was MDS and that was 10 years ago so I’m not exactly a regular competitor.”
The two have very different approaches and running backgrounds, but their performance levels so far in the Cape Wrath Ultra are extraordinary and both looked in pretty good shape at the end of today, which has been described as the toughest of the week. I’m not sure anyone is honestly trying to close down on them, but if they are this pair will take some catching.