From Weight Watchers to the Cape Wrath Ultra 2018
Glenn Tait’s journey to the start-line of the Cape Wrath Ultra 2018 started with a Weight Watchers’ diet. Now he is an ultra running addict.
It was in 2009 and in his mid-20s that Glenn suddenly realised how much weight he had put on. Tipping the scales at 15.5st, he blamed an unhealthy lifestyle of time-consuming commutes to his city job and too many takeaways.
He said: “The weight had crept on without me seeming to notice and I was pretty frightened to see how heavy I was. One weekend when I went back home to the pub my parents run everyone remarked – and not too kindly – on how I looked.
“I decided there and then I had to do something drastic. I signed up to Weight Watchers online and was surprised by how quickly the weight came off.”
Glenn running through Torridon on Day 4.
Weight Watchers offers a points system for calorie in-take. Glenn, now 34, said: “The points system allows you to balance exercise with calories. I found that the more I ran the more food and drink I was allowed. So I would run in return for being able to eat pizza and enjoy a pint. That led to me running more and more. And then some more.”
Within six months, Glenn had lost 4.5st and he was notching up longer and longer runs in training and races.
The strategic project manager said: “I found I really loved running and although I was slow to start with I managed to run more and more miles and become faster and faster. I ran 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons and then marathons. It felt great to have lost the weight and to be able to exercise.”
Glenn, who is originally from Northumberland and now lives in Edinburgh, chose the Scottish capital city marathon as his first. He said: “I did that in four hours and 45 minutes back in 2010. A year or so later I did my PB of 3.5 hours in Dublin.”
Glenn went on to complete a few triathlons, including Ironman UK in 2013 before switching to ultra running.
He said: “Maybe I get bored or perhaps I am always looking for the next challenge but after triathlon I wanted to do something new and I discovered ultras. I like the idea of an adventure on foot and ultra ticks that box for me.”
His first was the 35-mile Tiree Ultra in Scotland and then the 50k John Muir Way Ultra. Glen said: “A friend at work suggested the 54-mile Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra – the G2E Ultramarathon – next and I did that. Then it was a case of, ‘What next?’.”
Glenn looking smiley and relatively fresh at the halfway point of the Cape Wrath Ultra. "I do have a few niggles though," he said.
The Cape Wrath Ultra: A must-do race
Glenn was first attracted to the Cape Wrath Ultra after watching an online video of the event. He said: “I was totally blown away by the scenery that I saw on the video. I decided I had to do it.”
Although anxious about the distance, Glenn was upbeat and enthusiastic about the race on day one. He said: “I have never done anything this long and I am looking forward to the journey, not a race, and I can’t wait to see the landscapes. That video revealed some of the magnificent scenery I can expect and that is what I am really looking forward to.”
However, he admits he will find it very tough. He said: “An eight-day run is an unknown for me but I am excited to see what my limit is. My friends think I am mad.
"In fact, my boyfriend is visiting New York with his mum while I do this ultra race and he told me before I left: ‘Rather you than me.’ But he is fully supportive of me doing the thing I love to do – and that is running adventures.”
Glenn is happy to be running again on Day 3 of the Cape Wrath Ultra. Credit: www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk
Up-beat and happy to be running
Eating a meal in the dining marque after day 2, Glenn said: "I am totally knackered. I wanted to burst into tears at least 10 times out there today. The terrain and wet made it so tough. Then I tore my pack on barbed wire and my kit spilled out on to the trail. There were some very low points.
“But I just kept plodding on and looking around at the scenery. The Knoydart landscape really is fantastic. I also liked the fact that so little of the course felt runnable to me, so I just walked.
“I do feel a lot better now I have eaten and I will definitely sleep well.”
Back on the trail on day 3 & 4
Day 3 started well for Glenn. As he approached CP 2, he said: “I am finding the running okay again and really enjoying the sunshine. The views are incredible. I am happy.”
He was back on the trail and smiling as he headed towards CP1 on Day 4. He said: "It's good to be out on an easier day. Although it is all relative." By the finish line and with 122 miles in total under his belt, he said: "I feel surprisingly okay. I have never run this far day after day but I am fine."
You can keep track of Glenn, race number 164, on the Live GPS Tracking: