Age-group blog: not (quite) enough prep for City to Summit

With just weeks to go before this year's City to Summit race, age-grouper Sean McFarlane can feel the excitement building – but is beginning to rue his lack of preparation

Sean McFarlane dipping his toe into the Firth of Forth

A few weeks to go and just like my schooldays, I’ve done nowhere near enough preparation for the big test. I’ll never learn (writes Sean McFarlane, Merrell ambassador).


Breaking it down, for the swim I’m yet to venture outside. A blast of warm weather over Easter got me thinking about it but I heard the phrase “overnight frosts” in this morning’s forecast so my apprehension continues. I did kayak down the river Forth last week, albeit further upstream from where we will be swimming, but even putting my feet in the water at the end was a struggle. Preparation is the key – I’ll get out soon, I hope.

Headwind and other concerns

For the bike, my time trial bike (like me) is yet to fully awake from its winter slumber but we’d both better do so soon. Well over five hours on it will no doubt take its toll. Point-to-point rides do give an added sense of purpose but we’ve had rather too many north western winds recently for my liking. I drove the second half of the course last week and that took long enough. The scenery was magnificent though.

It’s a long, long run

And then there’s that run. It took a long, long time to get to Glen Nevis last year and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in really wanting to stop then. There’s still a bit of snow at the top of Ben Nevis and although I’d expect most it to be gone come race day, I’m sure the upper sections will have some of the white stuff just like last year.

So still lots to do before the big day. I’d like to lose some weight before the start although this is definitely one for the big engines so maybe not. I know preparation is the key but there are so many eventualities when you’re dealing with the Scottish weather. Aviemore had the hottest day for the whole of UK so far this year at the start of last week but I’ve had the fire on for the last two evenings and tonight the Highlands are looking at -4ºC.

But the excitement is definitely building and a trip to Glencoe this week has helped with that. It truly is an awesome part of the world when the sun is shining and even when it isn’t there’s something undoubtedly magical about the Scottish Highlands. I can’t wait to return.

(Images: Andy McCandlish)


For Sean’s first blog on preparing for City to Summit, click here