I thought for a while I was going to be the only Westie running but Hamilton made a late appearance just before the start. No extra points, but some Westies company at least.
It was a small field compared to the last 2 years with only 36 finishers. The race took off round the show field in the opposite direction from previous years doing 3/4 of a lap before heading out on to the road.
I came out of the field in 4th place then overtook Gary Fraser and William Garrick at the end of the road section. I could see Lewis Miller up ahead until about half way up the hill then he pulled out of sight.
I then slowed a bit and was passed by Richard Coombs and Gary Fraser about 3/4 of the way up then by Alex Milne, William Garrick and an Ochills runner just before the top. I gained 2 places back almost as soon as we started running downhill.
After some more bombing downhill I spotted Alex Milne and Gary Fraser. I saw Gary was pulling away from Alex so disengaged the brain and really legged it down some of the few steep bits to pick up some time. I caught Alex and started gaining on Gary who was catching up with Richard Coombs.
I managed to pass Richard on the Tarmac descent from the farm then caught Gary at the gate into the field with the little uphill section. I followed Gary round the field on the short uphill and downhill then tried to pass him just before the single track through the forest. He spotted what I was doing as I drew level so sprinted to the gate. This caught me by surprise so I didn’t get a chance to counter.
I was chasing Gary all the way through the forest until we emerged in the field before the show ring. He sprinted and I sprinted but I quickly realised I had nothing left. It looked like he didn’t either as his sprint was almost as short lived.
I got to the ring just behind him and my heart sank when I realised I had to do a 3/4 lap in the opposite direction (sorry to any families for the audible discontent). I pushed myself round the last "extra" bit for a time of 34:45 for 3rd place (2nd Men’s Senior) and a PB by 1:37.
It was a great race although next year I need to get a better strategy for beating Gary as that’s 2 years in a row it’s come down to the wire with him edging it by 2 seconds last year and 5 seconds this year.
Hamilton seemed to have a good showing as well, getting a PB by 36 seconds.