A Story Map
A (0 km) The sun breaks through the cloud just in time for a 1pm start, with 6 Westies in a field of 88.
B (0.1 km) An anxious first kilometre, as I attempt to run over the tarmac without letting my new Mudclaws touch the ground. I fail.
C (0.7 km) First bit of mud, and I don’t fall over. Maybe the Mudclaws are OK?
D (2.4 km) In the edge of my vision – fine-tuned after 3 decades of bird spotting – I see some route-markers pointing up the hill to my right. Most of the runners in front of me have continued straight ahead along the forest track, but there are a handful of runners further up the hill climbing the half-flagged trod, so I follow them (Fig. 1). I should probably shout out to the other runners who’ve missed the turn, but I’m not 100% sure of myself and, well, it is a race. I glance behind me, and it looks like everyone’s following. No pressure.
E (2.7 km) With no one to follow, I struggle to pick out the route markers at the same time as watching where me feet are falling. The Carnegie runner behind me is doing a better job, and is giving me directions (“to the right a bit mate”; Fig. 2). I get my map out but keep running, giving the impression that I’m fully on top of things.
F (4.2 km) A much-needed jelly baby from the marshals at the road crossing, before some more climbing
G (5.4 km) The lead runners (having summitted East Lomond) start to pass me in the opposite direction somewhere near here. I’m pretty sure I’m in 6th place, which is definitely not where I belong.
H (6.0 km) I steal a look behind me – there are a crapload of runners hot on my tail, including a bunch of fast and determined looking ones who should presumably be somewhere in the widening gap between me and the leading five.
I (8.2 km) I start the long slog up towards West Lomond, with a brutal headwind turning the light rain into what feels like hail. I’m getting overtaken by now, Owen among the first to catch up with me. I feel like a fox to his hound.
J (11.5 km) A fun descent off West Lomond – my Mudclaws have still got some grip left in them after all! – down to the Bunnet Stone, followed by a cruel climb back up another couple hundred metres, then an ankle-wrecking traverse down the slope and back to Drumdreel Wood.
K (15.9 km) I’m burned out now, and my legs are cramping. I’m sure most of the last kilometre is uphill, but Strava will later tell me otherwise.
L (17.1 km) Finished! 14th place. Won’t happen again for a while.
Good race – thanks organisers & marshalls & everyone! (Photo by Jenn)
1 Liam Braby (Carnethy) 1:28:52
9 Heather Anderson (Fife AC) 1:48:05
11 Owen O’Neill 1:49:25
14 Tom Finch 1:49:56
35 Jenn Ruddick 1:58:17 (4th lady – partying like it’s her birthday)
41 Chris Furse 2:00:30
65 Andrew Fulwood 2:16:06
70 Heather Simpson 2:18:53