Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 152 August 2022 | Page 46

Scott in the spectacular West Highlands of Scotland , where his early running career began
Most weekends were taken up visiting the different regions of Scotland where the Munros were located . I mostly camped and frequently ran and hiked on my own , and for the first couple of years when I took up the sport , I often went in winter . There was nothing much to better a crisp winter ’ s day , cloudfree and bright sunshine , and hard packed snow or ice underfoot . It felt good to be alive on those days , and being very fit , these trips were for the most part relatively easy and manageable .
Of course , there were also some days that I would wish to forget … due to the frequently heavy rain – typical of Scottish weather ! – as well as snowstorms , fog , potential avalanche conditions in the winter , becoming lost or disoriented , or unable to achieve objectives because of poor visibility , but these days were few and far between . I considered each excursion a unique opportunity to advance my experience , and I learnt from the knowledge and assistance of my hiking colleagues as well as through attending several mountaineering skills courses in the Scottish Highlands .
Taking Up Running
My other main pastime was running . I had always been active at school , and in a small rural community we participated in a plethora of sports and outdoor activities . Some sports were organised through our school ( football , rugby , athletics , swimming ), and with other sports we teamed up after school hours and enjoyed playing cricket , a little bit of hiking , and family outings for fly-fishing for brown trout in the numerous streams , lochs and lochans that dotted the county .
I didn ’ t participate in much exercise at Edinburgh University , where I studied for my law degree , other than attend all the rock concerts that I could ( Fleetwood Mac , the Kinks , Led Zeppelin , David Bowie , Captain Beefheart , Genesis , Van Morrison , to name but a small few !) in the many theatres in Edinburgh . After graduating , studying for my Chartered Accountant ’ s qualification took up all my spare time , with home-exercises and tests , in addition to working long office hours during the week , and there was precious little time or thoughts for any form of outdoor activities . My career and qualification desires came first , to the exclusion of all else .
I started running after I obtained my CA professional qualification in 1980 . Running gave me peace of mind , made me feel better about myself , assisted in my thought process relating to work problems , focused my mind on other personal and non-work-related issues and gave me a huge sense of satisfaction and the impetus to participate in other activities . In those early days of the jogging and running craze , running marathons wasn ’ t as prevalent as what it subsequently became , so I was quite content to run during the week , and hike the hills or fly-fish for trout on the weekends . It definitely was not a priority to join a running club , nor to run a marathon . I did meet other runners who would ( in passing ) recommend that I join a running club , but not for me , thank you , I was content to run on my own . No matter the time or distance , I had become accustomed to it being a solitary pursuit .
In Search of Adventure
Returning to 1987 , shortly after the car accident , and having taken a good look at my current life , I decided to take what ( at the time ) seemed to me to be a huge step . Actually , a leap into the unknown ... I sent in an application to the organisers of what was billed as the world ’ s highest and toughest marathon , ‘ running on the roof of the world ,’ hiking to just short of Everest Base Camp in Nepal , with the run itself commencing at approximately 5200 metres ’ elevation and finishing at 3500 metres .
The event was being organised by a company based in the Lake District of Northern England , Bufo Ventures , owned by Diane Penny ( Sherpani ), herself a runner , and who also arranged treks and other activities in Nepal , with the assistance of two intrepid runners , Jan Turner and Tony Hunt . Bufo Ventures were looking to have up to 50 runners participating in the inaugural marathon , including some from the Ghurkha contingent of the British Army stationed in Hong Kong , and several local ( Nepalese ) runners . Four medical doctors and some nursing staff would accompany the group , as there was considerable speculation in the running and mountaineering press about the potential adverse effects of running at high altitude . The event was to be a non-profit exercise , with all proceeds from the race being put into an Everest Marathon Fund for distribution to a variety of local Nepalese charities .
Ben Nevis , the highest mountain ( 1345 metres ) in the British Isles . Scott ran there when working in nearby Fort William
Scott ’ s love of the mountains continues today , as he explores the trails of the Western Cape in South Africa
46 ISSUE 152 | www . modernathlete . co . za