Headed off down to deepest Ayrshire on Saturday to do the race at Straiton. Never been there before so was pleasantly surprised to find it was a picture postcard village sitting in a bowl in the hills and the route was pretty straightforward. It’s an out and back route slightly lengthened this year by them starting in it in the Village gala field rather than at the hall. Owen O’Neill appeared to double our number of Westies and at 1:30ish a field of about 20 odd were set off by the organisers who were all dressed as cowboys presumably something to do with the gala day. About half a mile or so of road gently rising then through a big field of deep grass a few hundred metres through some woods then a very steep but blissfully short slog up to and around the very prominent monument on Craigengower hill . Alan Cherry was well in the lead with Colin Glencorse in 2nd position and Owen in what looked like a safe 3rd as he came past me on his descent although Bruce Smith from Carnethy was about 20 seconds behind. I managed to pass a couple of guys on the way up as i was dragged along by Drew Broadley of Lochaber and then managed to get past him going through the field back to the road. On the road the heat for some reason was pretty intense and I slowed a bit although terrified I’d get caught but then got going again in the shade of some trees as we came through the village and even managed a sprint finish with the 15/16 year old who was first local – he won. Owen had finished in 3rd although Bruce had closed him down a lot by the time they got to the road and he had to work hard to stay ahead. Great wee race which I’d recommend to anybody and particularly good as an introduction to hill racing for jaded road runners. Winning time was I think 17:12 which was a record given the new longer route and Owen was around 19:30 with me in 23:50ish.

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