Running the West Highland Way in four days

Nicole Millar, wife of former professional cyclist David Millar, ran the West Highland Way in four days in July. Shortly beforehand, she explained to TR magazine her motivation.

Nicole Millar

by Paul Halford |

“Clearly I was in desperate need of a change of scenery when I started planning a husband-and-wife traverse of the West Highland Way," Nicole Millar says of the idea which arose during lockdown.

Nicole, her husband – ex-professional cyclist David Millar – and his whole family are from Scotland but, despite their Caledonian roots, the pair have only made it to Scotland on one or two occasions in the past 15 years.

“Back in 2012, I walked the Caledonian Challenge with some family and friends”, says Nicole. “But due to injury we all pulled out only 20km from the finish. I have always wanted to go back to complete it.”

Watching a video of Rab Wardell setting a mountain biking FKT on the West Highland Way reignited Nicole’s love for the scenery, but she needed a partner for this multi-day mission.

“Nicole has become the sportsperson in our family, I’m off the back these days”, says David. “I miss it and would love to have a reason to spend some time each day dedicated to something physical. Some injury niggles mean I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this (which is never a good place to start!), yet it’s a wonderful first step in trying again.” UPDATE: Unfortunately, David was unable to join her.

Nicole admits that, for all the ultra-runners reading this, running almost 156km on the West Highland Way in four days isn’t up there with the world’s most arduous challenges (we think it is, though!). But it’s a far cry from the world of running Nicole is used to.

“I’m more of a middle-distance runner”, she says. “This will challenge me to my core.”

David, who’s no absolute beginner, given his sub-three-hour New York Marathon finish, is right behind his wife, whether he goes the distance or not.

“Nicole wakes up every morning thinking about whether she could repeat the day before plus more”, he says. “She could run the WHW in four days tomorrow – fact!”

Nicole and David are residents of Catalunya, so are no strangers to challenging terrain. Nicole explains: “I am not too worried about the route. The running where we live is brutal. I’ve raced 30km with an elevation of 2000m, which took almost four hours… But the back to back distance of nearly 40km a day will test me. And the midges might, too.”

For added motivation, this challenge has fundraising at its heart. “We know it is a difficult time to ask people for donations, but our charity of choice is close to our hearts”, explains Nicole. “David’s mother and two of her brothers were cared for and adopted from Quarriers near Glasgow and this is where all the donations will go.

“With so many factors like weather, ability and injury, we have everything crossed for good weather and a slight breeze of about 5mph to keep those damn midges away.”

■ Click here to donate at gofundme.

UPDATE: Nicole completed her challenge and has thus far raised more than €2200 on gofundme.

Who are the Millars?

An outdoor sports ‘power couple’, Girona-based Nicole and David are never far from adventure. As well as racing – on foot and in open water – Nicole runs grosportscollective.com, a luxury sports holiday company. David – veteran of the pro cycling peloton – is a commentator and founder of kit brand chpt3.com.

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