I’ve been excited about this hill race since my mum ran it in 2014. I arrived with loose plans to beat her time (50 mins), keep up with JD in a race for once and not disgrace Westerlands Cross Country Club with my poor downhill running.

I started the race with an all-out sprint to the gate, banking on a queue to stand in and catch my breath. Having slightly overdone the speed, I got through easily and was soon puffing my way up the steeper slopes.

George Douglas and Chris Furse passed me early on as I followed the line of (mostly) men in vests up the hill. George remains my favourite Westie after shouting a group of seven of us back from a significant navigation misstep in the Westies 40th Race last year. Thanks George.

 I thought I was the only Westie women in attendance (someone fire the Ladies Captain), but received a delightful surprise in the form of Heather (a Westie woman), Holly (a Westie baby) and Meg (who is a dog) cheering loudly (yes, all of them) a third of the way up.

Having run the whole way up on a hangover a few weeks ago, I was fairly confident I could keep up a light jog, and soon fell into step with a Carnethy runner taking the same approach. My mum has advised me that if you’re feeling ok in a race, and you’re running when other people are walking, then those people probably don’t want a chat as you pass so I tried to keep myself to myself as I steadily passed a few folk. Very much enjoyed a brief moment of relief from the silence cheering Owen on as he sped down the hill in the much coveted 1st Westie position.

George, Chris and I arrived at the top together, which was companionable. Running round the cairn, I ate some skittles and resigned myself to being overtaken by at least half the field on the way down as usual. For once, this didn’t really happen, though I did a poor job of chasing down a female Ochil Hill Runner who overtook me about half a mile from the finish. Slid over the muddy finish line in 46:09 with Chris just behind – both of us pleased to have overcome our usual downhill performance issues.

I love this wee hill, and I loved this race. As an extra treat, a strong Vet Women’s field meant that the 3rd Senior Female prize trickled its way down to me in 6thfemale position. I rewarded myself with a doughnut from a service station.

Results

48 40.50 Owen O’Neill

99 46:09 Jennifer Ruddick

100 46:20 Chris Furse

112 47.10 John Donnelly

118 47:29 George Douglas

144 49.10 Shaun Coyle

158 50.57 Brian Brennan

163 51.18 Andrew Fullwood

 

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