Ellon runner Jamie Pallister hopes at some point in the future he’ll be able to represent his country in an ultra-distance running event.
But the 26-year-old athlete recognises there’s a lot of hard work required before his dream can come anywhere close to being translated into reality.
He is, however, making good progress as shown by his victory in the inaugural Moray Coastal Trail 50-mile race.
Pallister completed the multi-terrain route between Forres and Cullen in 6hr 51min 46secs to score a notable win.
But there was a degree of confusion about the outcome after the long-time leader, Penicuik’s Adam Gray, took a wrong turn near the end and failed to make up the lost ground.
Pallister believed he was in second position until he crossed the finishing line and was told he had won.
He said: “I got to the end and everyone was screaming and shouting for me. They were holding the finish banner and I thought it was weird they were doing that for second place.
“Then they said I’d won. I wasn’t expecting that and it was a bit surreal. It’s the first race I’ve won.
“It was a shame for Adam, but that’s all part of ultra-running. You have to know the route.
“It’s important to recce the course and have it downloaded on your watch. But he was fine about it.”
You have good and bad spells in an ultra race’
Beforehand, Pallister believed a top-five position was a possibility if all went well.
He said: “I checked the names on the entry list and from that I felt I could do well. I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself, but believed a top-five placing would be good.
“I wanted to run under seven hours and see where that took me.
“I got a bit carried away at the start and went out quite hard, so I had to slow it down a bit.
“When we got to the 25-mile aid station, I was lying in seventh or eighth position, but when we left it I was about fifth.
“Some people stopped for a long time to eat and rest, but I decided I wasn’t hanging around.
“Shortly after I passed a guy who had dropped out, then on the long stretch over the beach at Lossiemouth I overtook a couple more. But I couldn’t close the gap on the leader.
“I couldn’t see him at all on the final two miles into Cullen, so I just presumed he was so far ahead that he’d finished.
“So it went well in the end – although you have good and bad spells in an ultra race.
“Around the 20-mile point, I thought about throwing in the towel as the weather was so hot that I was cooking from the inside out. But I settled down and by the end I was running really well.
“You just have to ride out the bad times.”
Long-term goal a Scotland vest, with plenty of races in the short-term
Pallister has only been competing in ultra endurance events for four years after being lured into the sport by a friend.
Now he’s totally hooked and has great aspirations for the future.
He said: “My long-term goal would be to get a Scotland vest, maybe in a 24-hour race or a long mountain race. But, when I look at the calibre of people running for Scotland at the moment, I know I’m nowhere near that.
However, when you start finishing at or near the front of races, it’s something you think about achieving. But I’ll have a few more years of hard work before I can get anywhere near that level.”
For now, Pallister is planning a busy year of ultra-racing, making up for missing out throughout 2020 because of the pandemic.
He said: “I plan to do all the other races in the Moray ultra series – the Speyside Way 100k, the Moray Way 100-miler and the Dava Way 50k.
“But my main race for the year is the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 100k in September. I’m also meant to be doing the Ben Nevis 50k the following week, but I might give that one a miss.
“My next race is six weeks from now when I do the Lakeland 50 miles.”
Race director Greig’s wife gives birth hours before event kick-off
While the competitors in the Moray Coast Trail Ultra were understandably tired after 50 miles of running in the hot conditions, race director Kyle Greig was arguably more exhausted than any of them as wife Debbie gave birth to the couple’s second child less than nine hours before the race started.
He said: “Our baby boy arrived about 10pm the night before the race, so it was all a bit frantic. He and Debbie are well but it was a whirlwind 24 hours.
“It was pretty tiring, but everything seemed to go to plan on both fronts.”