Last Saturday 5 Westies headed off to run the Goatfell race, this is way down on our usual entry for this race and many well-kent faces were missing for a variety of reasons. Anyway the five were Captain Upson, Peter Grassl, John Hamer, Auntie Pat, and myself taking our place in the 90+ field. This race always seems special probably related to the fact that you have to leave at the crack of dawn to get to Ardrossan on time and the ferry crossing somehow helps to make it more memorable a day out.
The weather looked really dodgy with plenty of rain around and a really strong wind but we were lucky in that the weather improved as the day went on and we were only really in the wind for the top bit of the hill. The race started and Chris went off like John Quinn trying to get to the chippie before it closed although I suspect he was closed down before too long …….back down the field where the mortals run ……and then a bit further back again to where I was having an OK run trying not to lose too much time to big Peter as he slowly eased away. 2/3 of the way up and i saw i was slowly, ever so slowly, catching the big man and I managed to edge past just before the summit and then had my usual great wee bit of the race passing lots of sensible people on the descent of the top rough part of the hill and then surprisingly, for me, was able to keep pushing on downhill on the normal track passing Martin Hulme on the way. Came on to the road 400m behind Neil Campbell, now of Carnethy, and managed to catch him just before the park although the effort I’d put in meant he left me for dead round the grass.
Four minutes off my time last year so I was well chuffed in 36th place in 1:48:55, Chris was a creditable 11th in 1:31:52, Peter was 48th in 1:53:14, John improved his time by a minute from last year to finish 60th in 1:58:26, and Pat was first lady V60 again in a time 8 minutes faster than two years ago. The food and tea afterwards were excellent as always, then a pint in the bar watching the FA Cup Final before wending our way back to the ferry and the long drive home. Well worth it …..a great race, well organised and supported, and I’m even beginning to like the road at the start and finish.