Allermuir: The Bear Necessities

Things you probably need for a good hill race:

– An interesting and scenic course with plenty of route choice

– A strong & friendly field

– At least one other club-mate

– Er, that’s it.


Things you don’t really need:

– Race numbers

– Prizes

– Post-race refreshments

– Entry-fee

Worried about rain in the Ochils, Chris McKiddie and I headed  east to the Pentlands to work on our tans at the stripped-down Allermuir Hill Race. We both arrived on bike ’cause no cars allowed.

In lieu of race numbers each competitor got a Hebridean place name sharpied to their arm. I was “Mull”. Easy to remember and a good thing too – I’d sweated it off by the end of our warm up.

My legs felt empty on the start line but I think I gave a good account of myself overall. After a fast-ish start I settled in to the upper end of the top-20. It was a tapps-aff heavy-warm evening, by 5 minutes in I was sweating/panting/snorting worse than season 6 Tony Soprano (RIP the sexiest man on television). The cool breeze on top of Carketton was a blessed relief accompanying fine running across the tops. Big fan of the low-key honesty marshaling. I was only passed once on the Allermuir descent. Some sharp stones got lodged in both heels on the finish trail – the last mile or so was agonising. Sitting on the grass taking my shoes off never felt better.

Well done to Carnethy for organising a low-key belter of a midweek race.

Free-wheeling down to Edinburgh on tired legs, summer breeze in my face, good vibes jingle-jangle of the new Pale Lights album in my ear-pods, achieving a state of serene euphoria; I reflected on how fortunate we all are to do these things.

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