After starting out running between lampposts, 11 years ago, Carole Fraser has progressed to running to the lighthouse and back on the Cape Wrath marathon and enjoying bracing sea swims in Balnakiel Bay. She tells us about a case of mistaken identity, plus what makes the event special to her.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m civil servant and have lived in Scotland over 30 years. We live in Fife, with the Lomonds nearby for runs plus beaches along the coast for when you fancy a “Chariots of Fire” moment.
Tell us a bit your running history. What kind of running do you enjoy most?
I started 11 years ago with a ladies group, running from lamppost to lamppost. I progressed to 5k and 10k local races with a mixture of trail and road running. After a few years, inspired by friends, I thought I could do a marathon with training and chose Windermere because it’s around the lake and I wanted my first to be in England. That was 2009 and I must have got the bug as I then ran Inverness the same year too.
Now I prefer running mainly on trails and hills due to getting a stress fracture a few years ago when I couldn't run for 5 months. Because of this, I’ve completed a few triathlons and now include biking and swimming in my training for a bit of cross-training.
How many times have you been to CWC?
How did you first hear about CWC and what made you come to the event for the first time?
A running friend Jane Askey (who everybody knows at CWC) first told me about it. She was on holiday in Durness a few years ago and saw it advertised. On one of our training nights, running around a field, Jane asked if I fancied giving it a try and the rest is history!
What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
My favourites are the hill runs and 2 years ago I completed the marathon. I really loved going over to the Cape. Running the marathon, there is always somebody passing by, either going up to the lighthouse or going back to the boat so you are always getting support from other runners, plus the marshals are great, providing jelly babies and sweets. I have even been offered a gin and tonic!
The views from all the races are fantastic but in the 10 mile Around Durness run, when you come over the hill and look over the harbour, it is truly amazing. You then run by the golf course and over the beach, with the cows if you are lucky. All the evening events are well attended and great fun too.
What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area?
The first night welcome reception breaks the ice for new people and everybody joins in. Then the beach run with the children is great fun, especially if you enter into the spirit of things and wear fancy dress. Since I’ve been attending the CWC, the weather has been good for the beach run, so a few of us hardy souls always go into the sea for a swim afterwards.
What are you most looking forward to when you return?
Meeting up with all the regulars who go to CWC. Last year, I even met a couple who live near where I originally come from and they thought that I was my sister (I’m a twin) and were looking at me as if they knew me! My sister’s husband cycles past their house every day!
People in Durness make you so welcome even though we invade their village for the week. Our first year, when the oven in our cottage wasn't working, a local lady who didn’t know us cooked our pies in her oven! The ladies who do the catering for the ceilidh and the lunches after the races are amazing and the ceilidh on the Saturday night is not to be missed!
Describe Cape Wrath Challenge week in three words...
Fantastic Fun Week!
Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)
Windermere is my favourite as it was my first big run and to my surprise my friends came down to support me on the course, so we all had a great weekend.
Is there anything else you want to tell the CWC Community?
I can’t wait to be back in 2016!