One of the positive aspects of advancing age – especially if you are an unreconstructed cross-country runner – is that annual Golden Oldies parade that was the Vets, now politely renamed the Masters’ Championships. Over the last decade or so, we have been punished for our years over a succession of tough courses: Troon, Cupar, Bathgate, Kirkcaldy, and this year Kilmarnock have provided real cross-country trails, often over farmland, through woodland, and of course muddy bogs. I’ve omitted Irvine from the list – not tough enough! – and that Westy legend Gibby can add any venues I’ve missed.

The forecast for Saturday mentioned rain, but the course was dry, pristine even, when I arrived early about noon. The course was country parkland, with the usual sequence of hairpin turns so you could appreciate who was ahead of you, or leading. By the time the Ladies and Old Yins (65+) competitors gathered at the start, the heavens had opened, and they set about ploughing up the course for the rest of us. Gibby was first Westy home, ahead of H&H legend Dave Logue; a drookit Helen followed, declaring it to be a "great course" – good attitude! Sheila and Pat followed, while we wimpy men huddled shivering in the gazebo.

At last we were called to the start, and once we were running, it was indeed a grand course. My downhill running technique, honed by Westies, proved itself on both steep descents. I also discovered a use for a race marshal: to tie my shoelace! as you can’t do it when glove-clad and numb. Towards the end of lap 2, I came across a disconsolate John Quinn, hobbling with a strained calf, but promising greater things at Falkirk in two weeks. Meanwhile, Chris and Jon Slowe were our leading finishers, with Don midway between these fast young chaps and me.

Selected Westie results:
Women’s race:
45 Helen MacPherson 31.30
53 Sheila Thomson 35.11
55 Pat McLaughlin 35.54

Men’s V65+ race:
5. Gibby Fleming 27.46

Men’s V40+ race:
25 Jon Slowe 32.02
40. Chris Upson 32.49
128. Don Reid 38.24
168. Graeme Orr 43.38

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