I always thought my first report for the club would be something special like describing the nerves/excitement/tension at the start of the race, soaking up the atmosphere from the teammates and other competitors, seeing the hill for the first time and saying ‘oh! that’s what i’m running tonight’, admiring the breathtaking scenery or looking for the best lines for overtaking (ok i am dreaming a bit now) but you get my drift.

The evening started well, as this was my first race with full kit, i was paranoid that i would forget something – whistle/map/full body cover, i kept on checking and re-checking. Once I was happy I jumped into the car to go and pick up John. Then 2 minutes from Johns’ house i remembered i had no shoes – they were still in the shed. After picking up John, we squirrelled back up the road to get the shoes (whilst on the way back Johnston and Hamilton were clocked running along Scotstoun showgrounds). Collected my shoes and was now ready to go and play on the hills.

Once we got to Clachan of Campsie I was telling John about the In The Dark Handicap route and how i had a woefully bad run that night. A couple of minutes later travelling up Crow Road the engine started to splutter, which i ignored. It did this a few more times and then the warning “engine malfunction” came up on the dashboard. A few seconds later the car died – pretty much right at the point where the descent from the brick shelter (from the In the Dark handicap) meets Crow Road. {seriously i wish could make this stuff up} We were a stones through away from the car park. After some mucking around I said to John to walk up to the car park (well he no choice in all honesty) and I would sort out the car.

I knew there was a petrol station in Lennoxtown and it was only a couple miles away, so I Google’d it to be on the safe side and voila it showed up. I started my descent carefully dodging the broken kerbs and side stepping the odd car and van (Owen i’ve got your van marked matey). The route eventually levelled out and I started to pick up the pace once i caught glimpse of the red marker (it was a Thames petrol station sign). It wasn’t until i was at right the petrol station I saw the dreaded shutters over the windows – arrrrggghhhh. Surely this can’t be happening.

After regaining my composure I made the decision to make back for the start and i would work out a plan en-route. Sure enough a plan came together – after my old man stopped laughing on the phone he agreed to come out with some diesel. The ascent was pretty smooth going, no kerbs on the other side of the road just a drainage ditch. Remarkably i wasn’t out of breath for such an incline – take note John McNally uphills are easy!

Got back to the car, hung around for a while then my old man appeared with the diesel. Yeah sorted now – errr no. It was a petrol can and the nozzle was too small and wouldn’t open the diesel safety cap thingy and diesel was spilling everywhere, as the cave man instinct took over – the midgey infestation didn’t help the situation – all i can say was the ‘hills were alive with the sound of something, maybe not music but definately something’. Finally, after a lot of poking around we worked out the combination and got the diesel into the car. Jumped into the drivers’ seat and turned the ignition and hey presto the car started. A quick thumbs up to my dad behind me it was off to the car park, albeit ½ mile up the road.

I jumped out the car and walked up the hill a bit and managed to give a few cheers for the westies that were out on the hill. Once the race had finished and prizes handed out it was agreed to go down to the Swan – so got down to the Swan to find that it was shut – sods law strikes again. We found another public house, which was open, yeah, to which Paula had great delight spreading my evening highlights to everybody else.

To summarise; I know the opening times of lennoxtown petrol stations, i’m not out of breath after ‘a hill run’, i know the best line for ‘in the dark handicap’ road section next year.

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