A sunny start to the day. I was looking forward to the trees in the Stirling University grounds which are always in their autumnal jackets for the cross country. Unfortunately the sun disappeared soon after we arrived and I only got a couple of bright photos before the weather dulled. It could have been a LOT worse though and the rest of the conditions were pretty near ideal with firm ground underfoot and no strong winds.
It was great that Jake was running today and got a lift with myself and Steve (thanks Steve!). The car was full of running chat and I gave Jake some spare 12mm spikes as his were a bit short. Although there are a few car parks around the University grounds, being last to compete (after the juniors and women etc) we were relegated to more distant car parks. So it was a hike from there to the start / changing area. It was only then that I realised I had left my vest in the car - taken out when I gave Jake the spikes. I wasn't sure it was even in the car - I might have left it home where I pinned on the number. Luckily (?) I had brought Mary's club vest. I had brought this extra vest along because one of the team might need one. Now I was the candidate. Having tried it on at home to amuse Mary I knew how unflattering it was. Mutton dressed as pork. I felt very self conscious until the gun went and kept pulling it down over the insistent gap between my shorts and the new porty-kini. What a state.
We had a warm up round a lap of the course. It seemed pretty much the same as previous years. According to the results I have run this one in 2013, 2010 and 2009. I had a feeling the course changed after 2009 to the current route, but reliable data no longer remains on my hard drives.
My race strategy was to go out hard and try to hold on. Dangerous over 9k but sometimes a death-or-glory race plan can get you far enough up the field to benefit from the faster ambient pace and you get dragged round, encouraged to boot it by the constant stream of runners overtaking. I found myself beside David F, Fergus J and any number of better runners. I held on for as long as possible. David Limmer took till the second lap to go past. It would have been sooner but he had another winning parkrun in his legs from that morning. He went ahead for a bit then came back towards me in the third lap, finishing 2 places and 5 secs ahead. I beat my '13 and '10 times. But noted Mr Cross (EAC) was ahead again. Still work to do.
When we got back to the car I found my vest. Mary has since said if I want to wear her vest again I don't need to go through all that pantomime, and just to wear it. Haha!
Big thanks to Alex J and all the organisers and course markers and results gatherers who do all the hard work while we just turn up and run. Nice to chat to many folk from the running world. Good day out.