Gala XC: Last in the Borders Series.
Mary decided not to race today. I put a request for a lift on facebook yesterday and Michael W (Carnethy and SoL runner) kindly agreed to come past Leith, out of his way, to drive me there, what a hero! However he arrived at his car this morning to find the tyre flat. Ten minutes later and he had changed the wheel but without realising the spare required shorter bolts or it will not turn...
We arrived 5 minutes before kick off. Not much time for a warm up so I spent the first mile breathing a bit harder than usual, but glad to be there – essential to make the minimum 3 events to complete the series. (Previous one at Berwick cancelled.) I enjoyed the course during the first section on relatively flat stuff through the trees, a lap back round to the start. Then ahead to the next section: a couple of fields tilted up at a giddy angle and requiring that we hike up to the top corner before following the perimeter then doing the same a second time. I did not enjoy this bit.
Adam W overtook here. He is in my age group. I haven't been watching the results closely enough to know whether I had to beat him or not, and I also thought he probably did the Devils Burden yesterday. Stuart W first 50 and unbeatable now with 3 firsts was absent. When we got to the top of the field I made a plan to stick with Adam then towards the end try and nip past when he wasn't looking. As we descended my body took no notice of the plan and I went past him. I enjoyed the next part of the course with quite a lot of soft ground and contouring paths down and into the trees until it reared up to an angle that I thought would require walking. The idea of Adam catching me seemed to inspire a small-stepped jog and I quickly got to the top of the climb and continued without him overtaking.
Thing is next week at Carnethy 5 he will finish several minutes ahead of me and expressed surprise I still haven't done it under the hour. Its all about going up quickly, something he does with considerably more ability than I do. There was also the dude with grey hair in the mix. Sometimes behind, more often ahead. Since I found out last time he is 40~49 I wish him well, but don't need to kill myself keeping up. We came to more marshals (after the surprisingly shortened course the other year there were loads of volunteers keeping us on track today) who signalled us down and to the left.
Through a stream where you got your photo taken – just like a theme park ride – then more dashing through thick mud, trees and duckboards which I liked. I tried to take a short cut right, but the marshals steered me left which I began to recognise as the path near the start. Grey-hair recognised it too and blasted past to finish a bit ahead. I think Adam was right behind. I was glad to have had the opportunity to complete the series and really enjoyed most of the running today.
I got a trophy for 2nd 50, some heartwarming soup, Kate Jenkin's delicious traybakes! and a catch up with loads of people I seem to see every weekend. Prize-giving was sorted amazingly fast (well done Stuart H.) Its a great series – well done to all the organisers for making it run so smoothly, and keeping the courses so gnarly. And for getting so many young people involved. The future of the sport and just great to see so many of the next generation doing something other than texting.
Photos thanks to Carnethy fb / picasa page (Digby maybe?)
I do like a horse brass!
Just in, these photos from Allan G, many thanks - going up a very steep hill apparently running, then afterwards collecting trophy for 2nd over 50