The Forth Inn was hoaching at registration for the now well-established Trossachs Trail Series. Sure enough, a record 173 runners were on the start line for the first in three races, over a 5.5mile course.
The preceding days had been (relatively) warm and wet and the anticipation was for pleasingly filthy underfoot conditions. In fact, with the exception of the boggy climb a little after the 5k mark which reduced most participants to a gratifying trudge, the going was generally good, over tarmac, grass, gravel and firm-packed trail.
I had no great ambitions or expectations for this one, being only in the hunt for early Winter League points. However, I found myself alongside Gordon McC over the early stretch of road, and I decided to hang on to his coat-tails for as long as my lungs could stand it.
Four miles into the race and I was still more or less keeping pace and feeling dashed chipper. Or I was until the dawning realisation that those mile markers were in fact kilometre markers. Damn and double damn.
Just as I began to ease off the pace, we were joined by an indecently sprightly-looking Ian Thurlbeck, eyeing us hungrily in the darkness an an owl would a pair of lethargic voles.
Accompanied by a Linlithgow AC chappie, we ran more or less as a pack for the next kilometre or so, each taking turns at the front, until a startling burst of pace from Ian saw off my challenge. The astonishing acceleration prompted Lithgae Man to turn to me with a ‘what the actual f..’ expression on his face, indicating that his baw was also burst. Somehow Gordon McC was able to respond and, from twenty metres back I had a great view as he and Ian duked it out, eyeballs-out-style along the last stretch of forestry path. As they turned onto the golf course, Mr Thurlbeck managed to rustle up a final round of physical stimulus to lose Gordon (no mean feat, as he’s a man who knows his way around a golf course) and that was that. A classic tussle.
The winners were Elliot Sedman of Grangemouth Tri Club (34.12) and Shettleston’s Jessica Martin (39.48).
Well done to Ella Peters (third lady), Gordon McCaffrey (second M60) and Helen MacPherson (first F60).
8 Niall McAlinden 34.44
12 Will Beresford 35.46
32 Ian Thurlbeck 40.21
33 Gordon McCaffrey 40.26
35 C S McKiddie 40.46
39 Ella Peters 41.26
43 Chris Furse 41.47
58 Sarah Cordeaux 43.15
64 Jenn Ruddick 44.06
72 Alex Berry 46.00
76 Beth Outson 46.12
81 Gordon Bulloch 47.00
90 Andrew Fullwood 49.57
93 Kerry Cunningham 50.07
104 John Hamer 51.36
163 Helen McPherson 69.36