26th June 2009

Ah, the boak. It takes 3 known forms – the wet boak, the dry boak, and in particularly nasty cases, the green boak. There’s something about blasting up hills in this race then trying to cling on to the speedy roadsters on the flat bits that makes you feel like you want to boak. Graham Kelly and I compared notes afterwards, and we had both felt the urge to boak during this race.

Not that the race is in any way unpleasant. As Graham noted, many hill races would be delighted to get this turnout, and the event seems to grow every year. Despite being entirely off-road over an enjoyable but testing course, it also attracts the speed merchants who would never come near a hill race, but the line between this and some of the short hill races is a very fine one indeed. It’s a shame it’s so near to the Arrochar Alps race in the calendar, as it really should attract more Westies too.

Conditions were perfect this year – warm, but with a midge-repelling breeze, and sheltered on the trails. If anything, the undergrowth gets more unruly each year, and overtaking is tricky in many places. Another fouled-up start meant I over-compensated on the "wee lap", and never managed to catch the female winner Claire Thompson of BRR. She must have been a minute or more in front of my 43:30(ish) in the end. That was a 20-second PB for me over my 2007 time, so I was pretty happy. I was aided by a long-running battle with a Clydesdale guy and 2 others, with my faster uphills cancelled by their quicker flat runs.

Graham fared considerably better, blasting out the start and on to a 41:36 finish. That may even include a stop near the end to pose for Mirsia’s camera.

Great race, as always. Give it a go next year folks, I reckon you’d like it.

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