The long-range forecast for last Friday was bang on the money – rain pishing down all over Fife. Still, I’d paid my entry fee for one more trot round the Donkey Brae trail, so I headed for Aberdour, expecting to be the only Westy in attendance, as Sharon had called off earlier.
This was going to be a rain-soaked fun run all right: the fine views across the Forth from the Silver Sands were hooded in sea-mist, and entry to the showground was through a layer of sodden-wet straw. However, I was cheered to see Chris, Ellie, and young Ben had decided to inspect (and run, in Chris’ case) one of my favourite trail races, following an earlier outing to Mugdock. Indeed, over 360 folk of all ages, shapes and sizes lined up at the 1pm start. A scamper round the park, then on to woodland trails…oops, the grass was slippery in the rain, and I nearly came to grief before descending the short Brae which lends the run its name.
In rainy weather, be wary of trusting markers. Near the front of the pack, Chris and some others were led astray, while in his wake, we puzzled at a 6-mile marker (it’s a 7-mile loop course) less than half a mile into the race. Otherwise, the rain let up, although coastal views were limited. It was still humid enough for the usual loyal water-hose sprayer to make his appearance around half-way, as the course skirted the outskirts of Aberdour; then a steady gentle trail climb to the end of the loop and the 5-mile water station. Oops – I’m knackered again! A brief water-gulp at 5 and again at 6 miles helped slightly, but again the modest Brae took its toll, and I hirpled back to the parkland finish, recorded in photo by my friend Steve, who decided against snapping my impersonation of Usain Bolt’s classic pose. Chris (in his blue Westy “away” vest) and Ellie cheered me home in a slightly less slow time than last year.
Full credit to Chris, who came twelfth (in around 41 minutes) in his first attempt at this race. Pretty good for a near-50 dad!