With other London Marathon bound Westies doing more traditional/sensible training, I opted for a different approach this weekend and headed for the Criffel Hill Race. The route is wet and boggy and with a fresh covering of snow it was tricky staying upright going uphill never mind going downhill. I was slipping and sliding all over the place as I headed up first through bog, then bog with a covering of wet snow and then through ankle deep snow – this was a welcome relief as you could actually get some grip.

I was second last year and as I headed up through the snow I settled in to second place again. Andrew Gilmore stretched his lead during the ascent and turned at the summit cairn a fair distance in front. Visibility was good and a couple of times I glanced up to see him just a speck in the distance. When the descent got steeper and the ground boggier and slippier there was no chance to look up so it came as quite a surprise to find that I had caught Andrew just before we headed back in to the trees and on to firmer ground. This was almost exactly the same situation last year and I was determined to get a better outcome this year. I passed Andrew and tried to push on but on the harder surface Andrew was faster and I did not spend too long in the lead. As we hit the tarmac for the final kilometre or so Andrew slowly pulled away and my legs could not pick up the pace.

So Andrew won his second race of the weekend (after winning Chapelgill on Saturday) in 1hr 33sec and, I was second 23seconds behind. George Douglas was the only other Westie running, he finished 38th in 1hr 26min. I was happy enough with second place again although in a slower time than last year. I plan to be back next year and hopefully it will be third time lucky.

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