Last Saturday was a fine spring day with a Westy race entry almost reaching double figures for that perennial Uni Road Race. Des Gilmore informed us that this was the 50th edition of this much-changed race, the first edition having been in autumn 1963. This season’s race was originally scheduled for 1st December, but was cancelled because of ice on the route… and we know what wusses road runners are?!

It looked like Jon Slowe was out for revenge against Niall, which he gained, but not in a way either would welcome. Less than a mile into the race, I met Niall heading the wrong way up the Switchback road – he had pulled a quad muscle. Next Westy in my sights was my namesake Johnston, also a casualty of the rigours of the Nationals, who started slowly but nearly caught the mighty (John, not Bobby) Quinn at the finish. Otherwise, I had some friendly tussles along the way, keeping big Steve from Garscube at bay and beating Ian Struthers by a narrow margin. The Reebok “zipper slippers” may have run their last road-race, however; some foot discomfort reported…

Westies had a good overall showing, with no less than 3 runners finishing in the top 30. With a fit Niall, we could have finished near the top of the team competition. Westy men results:    

8. Michael Sweeney  27m38

13. Jon Slowe   27m58

28.  Alasdair Duke  29m36

79.  John Quinn  33m52

80. Johnston Orr  33m56

86.  Hamilton Semple  34m51

132. GrimGraeme  39m41

136.  Ian Struthers  39m48

One question: Westy wummin, where were you all? Claire was there as a (disappointed) cheerleader for Master McAlinden, and Isabel was on official duties at the finish.

Just for comparison, I dredged out my times for the 3rd and 4th editions (1965 and 1966) of this “golden oldie”, which in those days was a 5.25 miler including the Cleveden Hill at 4 miles and the final quarter-mile on the hallowed Westy cinder track. Here they are:

6th November 1965: G.Orr (GUH&H) 71st/114 in 30m45

5th November 1966: G.Orr (    ”     )  57th/109 in 29m46.

Fireworks eh? just a teenager then

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