A fair few hardy souls gathered in Alva on Wednesday for the first ever Nebbit Moonrace. Right from the start the Westies contingent were thinking tactically, rejecting a warm-up in favour of actual warmth and staying the cosy pub till the last possible moment. The two minute stroll to the start line in what could charitably be described as ‘biting’ cold, was perhaps the toughest part of the whole evening. The were various reactions to the conditions; Duncan announced that if it got to -5 he wasn’t going to do it, I made it clear to all concerned that I wasn’t willing to spend any more than 30 minutes outside this evening, most of the runners seemed to be going for the desperate-for-warmth dance on the start line and Brian’s hypothermia had clearly advanced to the delusional stage as he theatrically shed all his warm layers at the start.


Not wanting to get stuck in a bottleneck at the first bridge I started out quickly and got in front of the pack. I overshot the first corner (I seem to be making a habit of this) and lost the lead soon after. Truth be told this was a relief; my tiny wee Petzl head torch was clearly stuck on the ‘feeble’ setting and having someone with a more powerful beam in front was great comfort. Once we were out the fields and on the hill it was a head-down keep on slogging affair. I was passed a handful of times before settling in to a nice pace behind Ochil’s William Bowers who I stayed with till the top. It was a beautiful evening, clear & crisp and it felt good to be out; the sound of the ice-cream van floating up from Alva giving it an almost Christmasy feel.


The descent was a fun, if disorientating, experience. The first part was quite easy, just follow the rail of head torches still heading up the hill. After I’d passed them it was a case of focusing on the pale circle of light directly in front of me and occasionally glancing up to half-spot a bobbing light in front of me. The ground was ideal for descending, soft and easy-angled, and I managed to keep up a fairly good pace. The marshals were excellent at lighting up the corners with their powerful head torches, the only problem being that as soon as I passed them they would look up at the next runner, immediately plunging me in to a dazzled-darkness. The bit just before the wood was harder under foot and I soon abandoned the tightrope-trod for the ground on either side. I could hear the gate clanging away in the distance, but couldn’t work out how far away it was, I knew there were people behind me but no idea who or how far.


By the time I got to the woods there was someone fairly close behind me (Mark Higginbottom of Carnethy) and I put on a bit of a sprint so I wouldn’t be overtaken. This final section was bizarre. I would turn a corner and find myself in the pitch-dark of the wood and then seconds later they would turn the other corner, and their powerful head-torch light would rear around and illuminate the trees in front of me, giving the whole section a surreal, horror-movie, chased in the woods feel. They didn’t catch me and I crossed the finished line and flopped down at the side of the road; exhausted but elated. I hung around for a bit, seeing out to see Owen & Luke come in, before the cold began to pierce the post-race euphoria and I retreated to the warmth.


The post-race pub was a wash with cold but delighted faces, along with a few sore bruises (Sarah) and bones (Brian). It had been a beautiful night, an excellent course and brilliant atmosphere; whoulda thought running up and down a hill in the dark could make for such a magic evening?


1. Mark Harris (Fife AC) 24.26

8. James Callender 27.36


13. Owen O’Neill 28.30


16. Luke Arnott 29.35


17. Eilidh Wardlaw (HBT) 29.41


26. Jamie Provan 31.01


31. Duncan Riddell 31.39


38. Sarah Adam 34.33


39. John Donnelly 34.42


44. George Douglas 36.43


49. Peter Midgely 38.49


57. Brian Brennan 44.00



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