Thursday, 6 August 2015

North Berwick Law Race

Great photo posted by Caroline M 
(but since she is in the photo someone else must have taken it.)

05/08/15  Mike was driving down to this one and kindly offered a lift. I did this race a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. It is quite quirky but the positives outweigh the negatives and it is always popular. I didn't expect such a huge turn out of Porties; I think it being grouped into the East Lothian Summer Series* had brought some of that crowd along as well although a few faces I recognised from 2013. One extra bonus was Ben Kemp who is standing sheepishly on the left in non-Porty colours** wondering if anyone will name and shame him for not paying his subs this year. I think we can forgive this minor infringement as this evening marked Ben's return to racing after his brush with death in the early months of the year and he hasn't been quite so focussed about running since! Great to see Ben well enough to "race" and although he promised to take it easy was not too many minutes down on his 2013 time.

*By the way if anyone knows where I can find the results for the Portobello Leg of the ELSS please let me know as someone is emailing me regularly asking about them.

**Yes I know I am also NOT wearing the PRC vest. It was surprisingly unwashed from the Tour at the weekend and although I thought I'll get away with that, it was only 28mins running, on closer inspection it was howling and all those around me in tonight's race can count their blessings I ran in another top.

Apologies for the rest of the photos. I think the oxygen deprivation took it's toll and after I had finished the run I appear to randomly pointed the camera and fired. 

I did exactly the same as in 2013 - watched Ben come down the street, perfectly lined up a nice photo then the camera refused to work normally and I only got a photo of his back. D'oh.

All the Gilmores were there including Iain who was 2nd overall I think, a splendid way to celebrate a 21st birthday. 

Charlotte, first lady

Ben - back from the dead, hurray!

A couple of folk went in and I had brought a towel in case this was an option. The water was looking super-inviting but I got distracted by the crowds and then the Kemps suggested going back to theirs' for (homemade) pizza and beer (and wine) and somehow I never made it into the water.

Happy Birthday Vicki also!

Barry the gun (like last time) gave us a bit of chat but then someone else shot the gun to start us. Unbeknown to me as I hared off up the street from the harbour, Ben lost his footing and fell right there on the start line - an inauspicious start to his 2015 racing calendar. Apart from a bloody elbow he was ok and it didn't seem to slow him down as much as a broken speedlace last time he ran this.

Speaking to Martin F afterwards I found out this bash is EAC organised which maybe explains the quirkiness. On the upside it is only £4 so I can't complain. Particularly about the lack of age group prizes. What is that about? Why is it the 50, 60, 70 year-olds have to beat the 40 year-olds to get an age group prize? (Anyway judging by a photo I saw of the presentations they are only giving out wee plaques and nothing important like bottles.) And god knows where the online results will eventually show up. This used to be considered a hill race but now results no longer appears on the hill running calendar. Right enough it is more like an undulating road race with a small hill in the middle.

Another upside to this race are the crowds. I have no idea who lets everyone know about this event - the results and info are hidden on abstruse webpages under health and leisure or active East Lothian; maybe the Pied Piper of EAC goes through the town knocking on doors, but a large crowd gather for the send off and an even larger crowd line the streets at the finish.

The first bit of the course goes through the lodge grounds and upwards across some park land. Then a right hand turn and across the road. Some flat road then a sharp turn up Law Road and I become aware that George S and Stuart H are in the vicinity. We all hit the bottom of the Law around the same time and although I had anticipated a large drift backwards through the pack I nearly manage to stay in touch with those nearby. About halfway up I am really looking forwards to the point we turn around and roll downwards. I know Stuart isn't. He needs to practise down-hilling more to match his proficiency going up. Instead he slows right down and folk queue up to go past (his words not mine.) Anyway after a horrible climb up we are given an elastic band by the small group at the summit and turn to descend. I opted for Hoka Trail shoes as the hillshoes would leave my calves a bit trashed for the half at the weekend. It was the right choice as they have sufficient grip on the dry grass and rock. About halfway down I see Charlotte ahead. I think she is first lady although I was overtaken by a woman with a determined stride going up. I am never sure I have taken the optimum route down off the Law - I just went the way we had gone up, dodging those ascending. I am 20 yards behind Charlotte when we come off the hill and am pretty sure I will overtake her during the mile back to the harbour. But first I will catch my breath. Then, I'll wait till the hilly bit down the road. Or maybe the grassy park. No, it looks like I'll leave it till the last sprint along to the harbour. Well we went past a couple of folk but I didn't get any closer before the line. Charlotte was first lady Don Naylor was first bloke.

I was pleased to do only around a minute slower than last time (about 22½ rather than 21½) as I was expecting 23. It always seems so unlikely to manage all the way up to the summit and back to the harbour in such a short space of time. And then to relax and enjoy the surroundings and company while spacing about in the oxygen rare atmosphere. Great to see George who was in good shape. Like Stuart he descends without hurrying and drops places there. And Ben made it back with no further injuries. And we went back to his and the pizza and beer (and wine) were delicious and I only just made it onto the last train, where the chat continued with Martin F and Alastair J who had been helping out with the organising, marshalling and the chips and the beers afterwards. A great evening out! Highly recommended.

This was the nearest I got to being in Bob's photos which given some of the results might just be a blessing! I was overtaken on the hill by the HBT in red shorts and dude behind him which shows how places change.

Stuart and David

Ian gob of the day Sills

Bobs photos here

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