Stanley was always going to be up against it, putting on a hill race after a Scottish championship counter counter on a dreich wet claggy Sunday. However, to only get 14 entries was a real shame. However, it did allow some of us mere mortals to get up the sharp end for once, but more of that later.

First, let me describe the route. This really is a fabulous little event and would make a great championship short race (SHR committee members take note for next year!). The race starts on a forest commission road and undulates up and down for about 0.5k before gradually rising to the point where you turn on to the narrow trod leading up to the Brack proper. Unless you are superman, you can pretty much forget about running much from this point onwards, and it gets progressively steeper the higher you go. Over the summit and down a narrow steep trod that funnels you through bum slide gully and down to a little lochan. Run round this and then back down beside the burn to re-join the steep path lower down. Then it back down to the road for the run in to the finish.

So how did it pan out? Standing on the start line, I quickly identified 4 young guys who made up the fast pack, and sure enough, they quickly cleared off along the road. This left me and Neil Waslidge duking it out for 5th place. As we started up the narrow Brack path, I got occasional glimpses of the young guns up ahead in the mist, but catching them was never going to be an option – or so I thought! I was more interested in staying ahead of Owen Bass of Deeside who was making a determined attempt to catch me.

Over the summit,  I had gained a narrow lead over Neil and was looking forward to the steep technical descent – this is my territory now. Bum-slide gully passed without incident, but as I got to the point where I should be able to see the Lochan, the marking was sketchy and the alarm bells were starting to ring. Then I heard young Sam shouting guidance through the clag and all was well. Round the loch I went, and  as I was charging down the slippery vague path by the burn, 2 runners loomed into view. It was 2 of the young team.  I belted past hoping that they would not latch on, thinking to myself ‘crikey I’m up to 3rd’. Then as I came out of the mist, I met Stanley sweeping the course who shouts to me, ‘Don well done – you’re 2nd.  This excited me, confused me and scared me all at the same time. I was thinking – I’m going to hit the road with 3 fast guys gunning me down! On to the road, and it’s a miracle that I did not dislocate my neck due to the number of times I looked back. However, it transpired that I had a good lead and need not have worried. Young 17 yr old Kieran Cooper, arguably the least experienced runner in the field made the most of the difficult conditions to win with a time of 59.41. And yes, my first second place ever in a hill race at the ripe old age of 59.5 – you could not make it up! I will leave it up to the other westies to chip in their thought on this great little race.

The results are below, but before I finish, I would like to point out that Stanley and his family went to a great deal of effort to organise this event. There was tea, coffee and fabulous home baking + everybody got a prize of beer or Wine. I would be very surprised if Stanley broke even on this event. I think the club should adopt and promote this great  little race and, if necessary, subsidise Stanley if he is out of pocket. I’ll get off my soapbox now!

1

Kieran Cooper

Unattached

M

00:59:41

2

Don Reid

Westerlands

M50

01:04:23

3

Neil Waslidge

Lochaber AC

M50

01:06:11

4

Robert Hamlin

Westerlands

M

01:07:04

5

Owen Bass

Deeside Runners

M50

01:08:26

6

Eck Anderson

Anster Haddies

M

01:12:58

7

Brett Stevens

Unattached

M

01:15:02

8

Peter Midgley

Westerlands

M50

01:19:17

9

David Duncan

Ochil Hill Runners

M60

01:26:02

10

Jean Mclennan

Dunoon Hill Runners

F50

01:26:59

11

Klaas Wynne

Westerlands

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