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Sunday, March 7, 2021

An Interview With Finlay Wild

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For Wild, setting off from the official start point of the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel at 4am was a highlight. “It’s a cliché, but simply starting was great because the Ramsay has been on my mind for years. I’d been primed and waiting, and the night I before got too excited, packing my bag, working out what to take. So actually starting was really good.”

He ran with a headtorch for an hour and a half until the sun rose, and completed the Mamores Munros without issue, hitting each planned split ahead of schedule.

“Everyone likes a good story of something massive happening and you having to dig in to overcome it”

This would be a theme for the entire round – everything went exactly to plan, which Wild acknowledges does not make for the most interesting re-telling. “Everyone likes a good story of something massive happening and you having to dig in to overcome it. But on the opposite side of the coin, preparation is key. I was prepared mentally for it. I knew the route well, so I could visualise it. The only thing that would have made me bail would have been if I was slowing because of the weather.”

Combined with this obsessive preparation is the simple fact that Wild moves effortlessly through the mountains. His style is graceful, his pace rapid and steady, climbing relentlessly and descending like a bouncing boulder, giving himself fully over to gravity.

At Firset, which marks the final point where supported runners have a chance to pick up supplies, Wild was well up on the record. “Reaching that point was bittersweet. I could see the support point and there was no one there. I wasn’t sad that I didn’t have support, but it was an anticlimax from what some people get.”

Pictured: The view south from the Grey Corries ridge. Credit: Derek McDougall

He ran straight through into the Grey Corries, an intimidating section that includes five mountains over 1,000m. “I’d run them five or six times in 2020, so getting onto the home stretch and knowing that I just needed to keep going – that was a great feeling.”

For a man who’s triumphed on Ben Nevis so many times, coming to the final peak was not intimidating. “The Ben is a special mountain to me. I train on it a ton. I saw one of my running clubmates when I was coming down and he didn’t know what I was doing. Afterwards, he said he thought I must have been up to something big because I was ‘hangin’’. A truly Scottish word.

“As I came down to the finish the sun came out. That was probably the most special point”

“I was working pretty hard, but as I came down to the finish the sun came out. That was probably the most special point.” Wild experienced the huge euphoria of finishing, but physically he was totally spent. His remarkable time of 14hrs 42mins will take some beating.

“It was an amazing experience,” he says. “My most memorable running day ever.” And it’s something he’d recommend anyone having a go at. “Do it your way, get to know it, don’t feel rushed or pressured into doing it on a certain date and, most importantly, try to enjoy it.”

Credit: Reuben Rohard

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