Five Westies endured a warm day out at Durisdeer last weekend. This was the first time I have run this race, and can recommend it in spite of the heat. The race starts by an old church in the charming wee village of Durisdeer. We trot out past the field that doubles as a car park for the 30-odd competitors, then slog up to the summit of Black Hill. I follow the route map to Pettylung, missing a trick of descending earlier and soon find myself alongside the cunning Mr Brennan, who started out slowly and is now making up places. Nay bother – Brian is not one for the heat, and I fancy my chances against him today. A sharp descent to the road gives my thighs a thorough workout. Some shade from a short forest section is welcome relief, but soon passes as we head up the valley below Steygail. I manage to latch on to a local called Nigel, and squeeze out valuable seconds following him up the high trod rather than the burn. My water bottle is now empty, and I quietly question the decision. Soon enough we are climbing again. There is precious little breeze on on the tops, and this long stretch through the valley is stiffling. I stop for water as we descend to the second road crossing. Another climb, the last major one up Well Hill. I have lost sight of the rest of the field by now, and follow a compass bearing across to Black Hill. The final descent is slow. My body is drained by the heat. At least there is water at the finish, and I walk back to Kirk Burn to cool off. Stacks of home baking in the church – the organising committee have done themselves proud. The race has been dominated by vet-50s (showing no respect for age!) and so Gregor wins third prize after coming in 6th. The results show Marc had a good run, but he doesn’t stay for buns. Graham is his usual self, full of smiles. All that Mexican training must have put him in good stead for today’s conditions. Brian and I agree on how much better it is to be running in proper Scottish rain and wind. The cakes are superb. Next year this is down as a Scottish championship event. Yeah, I’ll be back.

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