But I certainly don’t.
It all seemed quite pleasant at first, lined up at the start under the shade of the trees by the church, a nice amble through the pretty hamlet of Durisdeer, entering the first field and quickly nipping across the Wee Burn and beginning the first climb up the handsome Black Hill. Then my body remembered that it doesn’t like the heat at all – panting breath, leaking sweat, sore head, legs drained of energy. Far too hot a day for this sort of thing I said to myself, this isn’t fun, this is hard, not even fun hard, just hard hard. The switch from quiet confidence to outright melodrama took all of five minutes.
I made a bit of space for myself on the steep first descent and from the road-crossing onwards there was no-one on my tail and I was quite content to follow Bill Maxwell of Shettleston from about 20 feet at a steady pace, letting him work out where to go. The run around Steygail was rather pleasant, generally nice flat terrain, with the occasional exciting descent and tight-rope trod to keep it interesting. The clouds did us all a favour by giving some respite from the sun but it was still HOT and I was unable to muster more than a plod; when Colin Brash & John MacKenzie caught me at the second road-crossing I couldn’t put up much of a fight. The ascent of Well Hill was hard, seriously steep in places, infuriatingly tussocky in others and, worst of all, the sun came out again in time for the final climb and slowed me down to a crawl. There was a group of runners slowly gaining on me and I didn’t feel in a fit state to do anything about it. At the penultimate check point I was shocked to learn that I was in 4th place; as it turns out the front three runners had taken a rather severe wrong turn at the first road crossing, tragically following the markers set out by Moffat Mountain Rescue for a training course the next day, rather than those set out for the race. The final descent down Black Hill should’ve been a joy but by this point I was wilting under the heat and it was just felt like a slog. I had a bit of a wobble at the very last bit; balance deserted me, legs turned to jelly, vision began to darken and I had to stop a moment, take a few deep breaths and pull myself together. I mustered what little energy I had left so Owen Bass didn’t catch me on the final stretch and crossed the finish line in 6th place.
Durisdeer was brilliant course in amazing scenery, the heat made it tough, at times a total grind. Or, more likely, I’m just a wimp when it comes to this sort of thing. The day wasn’t all hardship; the endless supply of cakes in the church and sunbathing in the burn made for an idyllic aftermath. Well done to JD & George for making the trip and doing Westies proud.