Another Saturday another hill race, this time at Birnam which is pretty close to where I live so travel should have been easy. However, due to well-meaning but ill-starred efforts to give other people a lift, which failed miserably I got there just a few minutes before the off and was about the last person to register. The weather was fantastic and there was a field of just over a 100. This included Robbie Simpson who holds the record so everybody knew their percentage finishing time was likely to take a battering. Des Crowe asked Robbie why he didn’t leave smaller races for the slower guys to give them a chance and Robbie muttered he wasn’t running that well at the moment …….aye right!
As we stood at the start I got a serious slagging from Colin and Joan Wilson who had been told, by Jean Bowman, how badly I was running. Given I had done a couple of 2 hour+ runs during the week and my previous week’s disastrous climb at Chapelgill I didn’t know what to expect. The race started and we were off …..surprise, surprise, Robbie started pulling away at the front. I went steady until the hill proper when, like everybody around me, I settled into the demented uphill speed walk with hands on knees. I kept my place in the pack pretty well until it flattens a bit and then dropped a few places before the top where I was just behind Colin Wilson. Chased after Colin and managed to pass him on the long descent back down to beside the railway track.
At the bottom of the descent quite a few of the runners a hundred metres or so ahead had, accidentally I think, cut the course short by about 20 seconds or so and it probably needs better marking or a marshal at that point. On the undulating last mile or so I couldn’t hold Colin and he got past me. I was pleased with the improvement from the previous week, particularly with the longer runs I’d done as part of preparation for the Highlander and Jura.
Robbie won, beating his previous year’s record, with Calum Gilhooley 2nd and Stewart Whitlie 3rd. Sarah O’Neil beat Angela Mudge to be 1st lady. I was the only Westie which is surprising for a race that’s not too far from the Central belt.