Dunbartonshire X Country Relays

Some  inter lamp posts ‘sprints’ during the last fortnight, together with some’ hip mobility’ high kicks whilst waiting for the kettle to boil at work, are not ideal preparation for the rigours of cross country racing; indeed the second high kick episode  resulted in a strained  bum muscle that had me gulping back ibuprofen the morning of the race! Notwithstanding, I was really looking forward to the Dunbartonshire cross country relays; I haven’t raced this year and haven’t raced cross country in two years – this was the come back!

Gaynor picked me up and we had a delightful tour of the leafy suburbs of Helensburgh before finally landing ourselves at the rather swish Lomond School sports hall to meet up with fellow Westies. Gaynor, Claire Larrivade and I were the women’s team with young talent Debbie from East Kilbride (one of Don Reid’s prodigies) showing us how it should really be done by running a solo and rather fast leg. The Gaynor, Clare and Christine team decided to opt for a relaxed approach; it was a stunning autumn day,  the Duchess Woods were awash with colour, great views of the hills and across  the Clyde; the course incorporated good gradient for hill runners and we had stacks of cakes to look forward to! We ran, we suffered, we loved it and we didn’t come last!

There was marginally more tension surrounding the men’s team owing to the very last minute arrival of speedy man Sam Alexander; he was in the A team along with Ian Thurlbeck, snake hips  Riach and Dave husband-of-Muffy!  They all ran well, didn’t seem to suffer and also loved it. Captain John Hamer was flying solo, a kind of speed session in company and spent the rest of his time being captainlike and urging us all on to greater and sweatier things (it was, VERY warm!). The men’s B team also ran, seemed to suffer a bit, if Hamilton’s groans were anything to go by but also had a great race. Hamilton’s team mates were Don Reid, x country coordinator JQ (equipped with his pop up – – – – tent!) and the real star of the day, Big George.  Now, men and women started together and so as the ladies’ team only required 3 runners and the men four, this meant that the ladies’ team completed just before the men’s B team.  George was still out on the course whilst the rest of us were sharing buns and swapping stories; then into the field strode George, hotly pursued by a Garscube lad half his age; up went the a roar from Westies  that could have knocked Hampden into the Clyde; we all rushed to the finishing straight willing George on; the Garscube lad came up to George’s shoulder, we screamed like banshees, Garscube  pushed, George pushed, Garscube drew ahead, our collective will voiced itself again and with 5 meters to go Big George surged like a gladiator, hair streaming in the wind, muscles pumping and just dipped Garscube on the line; the real Westie victory of the day! Sadly George isn’t in my photo – he was searching for oxygen at the time!


Then we all went back to the hall for tea and more buns – – all that it is, apart from Don, who announced that he had been invited to a posh Helensburgh house for tea –   that put us in our place! A great day out in great company and thanks to JQ for organising it.

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