24th April 2016
Things have been a bit tight in the Bonnyman household since the beginning of the year when I finally made the decision to quit my flailing academic career and turn full-time professional runner. The £30 Run4it voucher from the Forfar Multi-terrain half marathon in February combined with a £10 3rd team prize from the Burdens was a promising start, but the homemade wooden trophy for 2nd vet at the Dee 33 and two bottles of Lia Fail from the Newtyle Hill Race suggested that a more strategic approach was required. The search for a more lucrative pot turned up the Stena Drilling ConocoPhillips Glacier Apollo Corporate Run Balmoral Races as a strong possibility. Having ruled out the 5 and 10k races (too many fast runners) and the duathlon (bike skills required) I settled on the 15 mile trail race. With a hefty £25 entry fee it was a gamble but with a combined prize pot of over £500 and Robbie Simpson rumoured to be off elsewhere it seemed worth a shot. So beautiful spring morning, ideal conditions, manicured lawn, corgis, blah blah blah.
The route followed land rover tracks out and back along the pine-wooded banks of the Dee, the wilderness experience only slightly marred by the exhaust fumes of the quad bike acting as lead vehicle. After about 7 miles of relatively flat running the course headed uphill with a lovely section of grassy trod through the pine trees before returning to yet more land rover track gradually rising onto the lower slopes of the Lochnagar. The leading group gradually thinned out as I sat behind Michael O’Donnell of Inverness Harriers for the first half before he effortlessly pulled away on the higher section and soon disappeared from view. After a long descent back to the valley floor there was a sting in the tail with a short but steep off-road climb before rejoining the estate track and the finishing straight.
I could wax lyrical for a bit on the scenic views, smell of pine resin, great organisation, friendly atmosphere etc., but truth be told I was only interested in the £100 – yes, £100! – cheque I picked up for 2nd place. My only disappointment was that Her Majesty was not on hand to dole out the prizes as I was hoping that royal endorsement and a photo op would help boost my crowdfunding attempt on Justgiving.com. However, things are definitely looking up as on the strength of my recent form I’ve secured a 6 month sponsorship deal with Saddlers Bakery of Forfar (unfortunately paid in bridies), which should at least tide me over until I hear back from UK Sport about my lottery funding. Well done to Gaynor Gillespie who I didn’t see on the day but who also had a strong run.
1. Michael O’Donnell (Inverness Harriers) 89.55
2. B. Bonnyman (Saddlers Pro-Racing Team UK) 92.12
3. Roger Clark (Carnegie) 92.54
9. Alec Keith (HBT) 96.30 (1st V50)
11. Moira Davie (Forres) 98.12 (1st F)
198. Gaynor Gillespie (Westies) 2.14.49