Normally I would have been…

Heading towards Spittal of Glenshee at the north end of the course.

At the Cateran Yomp for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, where the word ‘normal’ doesn’t actually come into any part of the equation. 1,000 people from across the globe, 54 miles, muddy hillsides, forest roads, blue skies, driving rain, sunrise, elation, sunset, determination, sunrise again, the end in sight, exhilaration.

It all blurs into a non-stop 24hrs. If you’d have told me six years ago, when I first got this job, that I’d miss being soaked to my core and sleep deprived with a bag full of camera gear and flapjack on a hillside at 4am in the middle of Perthshire, I’d have probably laughed you out of the room.

But here we are; an enforced year off amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic and I’m sure I share the same sentiment of the whole team (both Soldiers’ Charity and True Grit Events) when I say I miss being on that muddy hillside, sharing the ups and downs of a gruelling 24hrs with 1,000 people who have told ‘normal’ to go to hell.

It’s taken a wee while to realise why I’ve been fidgety, distracted, unfocused and generally over energised. But I’ve done some research and come to the conclusion that the diagnosis is ‘Yomp Deprivation’. And so my energy has been put into going for an afternoon run whilst I thought through some of my favourite images and sections of the course to post up here for your viewing.

It really is an incredible event to consider for next year (whether you’ve done it before or not) and in the mean time alongside being careful remember to stay busy and factor in a bit of abnormality as things start to ease!

Start line, 07:00
Veterans alongside civilians going the distance.
A nice perspective of the route ahead.
Younger participants coming into the Bronze Finish.
Scots regiment alongside Auchintaple Loch
A helping hand crossing burns near Loch Beanie.
Boggy ground on the east side of the course.
Veterans of the U.S. Marines coming into the silver finish and refuel stop.
Silver Finish medals.
Going for gold. Setting off from Silver checkpoint.
Into the early hours of the next morning on Alyth Hill.
5am the the morning after at the final water/refuel stop.
Grit and determination as a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airbourne comes into the Gold Finish after 24 hours alongside a gentleman who supported him over the final miles.
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