Having been reminded by Captain Chris that there was a race at Laurencekirk on Saturday morning I noticed that as there was 4 hours between their start times it would be possible to run this race plus TomnaBat at Tomintoul Highland Games. It didn’t take much to convince Jonathan Weir to join me in this endeavour and that solved the transport problem. We got to Laurencekirk in plenty of time and were first to register and by the time of the off there were 20 runners, 14 guys and 6 women. The start is on a flat farm track which starts to climb after 400 m or so for another half a mile before leaving the track and going through several fields, first on a stony path and then soft grass to the summit and round Johnston Tower,( yes in the North East they give ‘Son of Grim’ the respect he deserves) before heading back the way you came. The race is very similar to Saugh Hill at Girvan for those of you who have done it. Most of the runners were road runner types with the majority from Stonehaven RC although I suspect not the cream of the crop as I managed to finish in 7th position and Jonathan was 3rd,picking up a tenspot for his trouble. Good wee race if you’re anywhere in the area next year. Anyway, onward to Tomintoul, which was another two hour + drive. The place was bathed in sunshine and quite a large field of runners had come from all over including the two Westies Vals, Brunton and Houston, though I didn’t recognise Val H in her shades. Robbie Shepherd was doing an excellent job as MC and he was commenting in his inimitable fashion as were sent on our way and it didn’t take long for my old body to send alarm signals ……”one race is bad enough….. two! ….you’re having a laugh fat boy ……jack it in …..save yourself the embarassment”. Val H was cruising away picking off the other women ahead who had started faster and I knew Val B wasn’t too far behind me. Davy Duncan passed me near the top on the first time up TomnaBat and I didn’t even have a great descent on the other side …..and then the second climb, trying to follow Alan Smith’s course markings which were a tad sparse …….deliberately? ……definitely! ……but I’d done it before so knew more or less where to go. Kept on going although it was even less pretty than normal and didn’t lose any more places in the run in. Slight panic when I found not just Val H but Val B at the finish, I am pretty sure Val H was first lady but Val B had fallen prey to the course markings and had not gone up the hill for the second time, maybe just as well or she would have caught me. Jonathan Weir had also suffered on his second race of the day and was well down on the sort of time he would have run if he hadn’t already done Laurencekirk…….so in summary you can do both these races on the same day but I wouldn’t recommend it…..savour them individually.

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