Photos (Sandy Wallace)
Photos (Carnethy 5 General)

Ok, maybe I was a bit hard on Carnethy last year. Any event that brings together thirty-odd Westies can’t be all bad. The spring temperatures probably helped this time around, and the lifting cloud and windless conditions gave promise to a fine day out. It’s always nice to catch up with so many familiar faces in the event centre at Beeslack school. With time for some pre-race shopping, I picked up some socks and a new pair of gloves in Pete Bland’s bargin bins, in line behind Manny stocking up on running shoes. Then on to the bus, and an hour or so waiting around in the paddock for the race to start. Brenda manages to rally the troups for a club photo – something I was beginning to think was impossible! The race briefing brings the slightly depressing news that I’ve missed out on a spot prize, my only realistic hope of material glory. Then Bang, and we’re off. George and John McI. are my focus for the day. They remain in my sights up the first hill. I overtake George on the descent off Scold Law, only to loose my advantage climbing East Kip. The long downhill after West Kip is pure delight. I am so in love with running. Fresh spring air fills my lungs. My feet skip down the grassy slope, studs effortlessly gripping the dirt and mud. I pass George, and then John McI. Still, there is the long slog up Carnethy ahead. Inevitably, the two creep past. No panic – they remain in sight, and I’m full of confidence for the last heathery descent. I pass both, and build a solid lead by the time I hit the scree. Then disaster! Out of nowhere, Keith’s yellow vest flashes past. By the time I reach the gate, he has a 50 metre lead. No chance of a leisurely plod to the finish now. This is eyeballs-out, sprint to the death territory. The four runners between me and Keith’s sauntering yellow W reduces to three, then two. I pass both in the second boggy stretch, and receive a shout of encouragment from the second; he can see my prize! Keith’s scalp in sight, and right now catching him is my sole reason for existing. Ten metres between us, then five, then two. But too late! Keith crosses the finish an armspan ahead, and it’s all over. Gutted, but as soon as I slap him on the back in congratulations, my loss no longer matters. It has been a great day out, in great company and superb conditions. I wait on the finish line to cheer in a steady stream of Westies: Paul. George, John McI, Peter, Pete, Ros, Pauline, Helen, Gaynor, Malcolm, Noelle. There are plenty more stories to hear, of minor triumphs, hickups, and achievements. Well done everyone for such a huge club turnout for the second week in a row!

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