Down down, Camperdown down

The forecast for last Saturday said it would be dry; it was sleet on the day. BAH. The Vets’ races were to be run in Camperdown Park, a happy hunting ground in the past; but changing and registration were a mile away. HUM. Parking was on offer in the park near the race start; so why could I only find a soggy boggy space? BUG. Here begins a dreich race report: Bah Humbug!

First to line up were the men’s V65+, together with the women’s V40+, over a classic cross-country course. It may have been half the distance of the Senior men’s XC course at Falkirk, being over only 2 laps, but boy it felt just as long. Almost from the “off” (no scary start gun for Vets!) we had a steady climb over boggy grassland, followed by a headlong charge downhill to a woodland trail. From that point, less than half a mile into the race, it felt like the course was somehow all uphill. I was way out of my comfort zone – why did I leave my gloves? freezing fingers! – but that’s how you feel if you try to stay with the evergreen Gibby Fleming. On a less dreich day, this would have been a cracker of a course…

We come round to the end of lap 1, and…Ouch! the right quadricep muscle gave its verdict. That’s what non-runners might call thigh cramp; it gave following runners and spectators the Grim sight of me hopping along, trying to massage the muscle back into shape. The temptation to drop out did cross my mind, but Westies are made of sterner stuff, so onward I hobbled, losing places – including to Helen MacP, who smiled pityingly. I managed to finish the race, and a kind French lass helped out with a jar of Badger Balm, or some such strange goo, to loosen the legs. Right enough, you never seem to see cramping badgers around much these days…

The “junior male Vets” (V40 – V60) was well worth watching, as the 2 leading runners made light of conditions to win by a minute from the following pack. Interesting to see whether a “hills & country” runner (Jethro Lennox) would beat a “roads & country” runner? (Robert Gilroy). Westies may be pleased to learn that indeed the hill-runner prevailed, by just 3 seconds. 3 Westy men and one second-claim Westy followed: see results below.

Post-race, I can report hot showers, and a grand spread of filled rolls, cakes, and tea laid on at the changing facilities by the hosts (Dundee Hawks?). Also, Ronnie Morrison (esteemed time-keeper and “blazer”) tels me the race venue will be Camperdown Park again in 2018. I’ll be there as a V70!

Selected times and placings

V65+ Men (6km)  :  17. Gibson Fleming  32m 22s;   26. GrimGraeme Orr  35m 04s

V40+ Women (6km):   20. Val Houston  27m 45s;   54.  Lorna Mahoney    30m 33s;  94.  Helen MacPherson  34m 04s

V40+ Men  (8km):  1. Jethro Lennox (Sh*tts) 27m44;  41. Brian Bonnyman 30m17;  49. Chris Upson (RH Cam) 30m37; 165. Dave Calder 34m21;

                               230. Don Reid  37m06



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