Librans are loving people and enjoy balance and harmony: two of Westies most harmonious women Helen and I (no you cann’t beg to differ!) spent part of their birthday weekend at the Killin Hill Races along with a small bunch of Westies men whose mental well being I cannot comment on. However, ten minutes before the race I was feeling far from harmonious and anything but love for my washing machine which I discovered, since Ben Venue, had gnashed and chewed my left Walsh PB severing sole from upper over a length of at least 120mm. After frantic but failed efforts to find duck tape, gaffa tape, insulating tape or a handy staple gun in the boot of the car, I resorted to a strip of crepe bandage around sole and upper, tightly bound with a lace off my road shoes; the result was something akin to ancient Chinese hobbling! Either it would cut off my circulation and I would have to hop, or trip me up in which case I’d have to crawl and there was just the slightest chance it might hold together. No time to ponder, grab map and we were off. Five minutes into the race endorphins, love and harmony flooded back through the veins; it was the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (more misty than fruity), the not too boggy path followed the gradual gradient of the west ridge up to the first summit; the route was peopled by cheerful marshals and there was a lovely rocky, gully scramble up to the summit ridge; I was having fun. Up to that point, I managed to keep Brian the Lion and Davey Duncan in my sites but then they disappeared into the mist not to be seen again until the end. I had what felt like a good but lone run along the lovely winding ridge, sadly no views but a deer roared in the glen below and more cheery marshals marked the descent point off the ridge. The route down across the open hill was well flagged, (something that would have been a plus the following day) but as Helen agreed, the 3k of very stoney track back to the finish, was tough going; even tougher going for her as she was in a sprint finish with another woman every stoney step of the way. It was a really good race, good running conditions and amazingly my shoe had held together.

Ceilidh at night and ever such a slight hangover in the morning. Nontheless, the wee craggy hill above the games park looked appealing in the autumn sunshine and I decided to rebind my shoe and give the morning’s short race a go. Entrants received their second goody bag of the weekend and stood to earn their second free lunch. Some said the entry fee of £15 was steep but for two races, two goody bags, two good lunches and £5 for Cancer Research I thought it wasn’t bad; you either enter into the spirit of a thing or don’t do it at all. I entered into the spirit of the wee race and despite suffering from lactic, alcohol and renewed shoe worry, I might have been third lady but took a very wrong descent route plunging ‘thorough bush, thorough briar’, over bluff and across the rough, finally entering the games field from the opposite corner to everyone else and probably 3rd last but much to everyone’s amusement and partner Dave’s relief!  It was an excellent weekend and the organisers are to be commended on a well organised and welcoming event. Birthday present to self – new Walshes!

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