I had arranged to give the Beresfords a lift to Aberfoyle last night. I thought this was good because I have a van and they are tall with long legs. I hadn’t seen my van for a couple of weeks so was pleased that it was still parked on Crow Road where I left it.

A lovely night for a run with lightly falling drizzle and a healthy nippiness to the air. We had to go to the overflow overflow car park which hinted at the large turnout for the race. These races have been a real hit since starting up a few years back and it’s easy to see why. I mean who wouldn’t want to go out on a freezing pee’ing-it-down night in November to get lost around some forestry trails whilst breathing out your arse?

The real beauty of these runs is racing your mates. They’re a bit like cross country in that a load of fast actual runner types turn up, so folk like me are never in contention. Instead you find your own battles. Arron was my target man. I keep bigging him up after some quality runs this year in a hope that he’ll take his foot off the gas and stop training for a bit. He’s definitely primed to pip me off a few team spots. I know he’s good but I back myself to finish strong, so I tried to keep him in sight. Elastic band stretched at times in the first half but never quite broke. I planned to keep behind for a bit longer but found myself pacing past him on the steep mucky forest break uphill section. When the time to go presents its self you don’t stop to think. Quick adjustment of plan, because I knew there was a flattish runnable section at the finish, meant I wanted to drop the small group now, on that rough climb. This was done by picking sensible footholds and good old fashioned pumping thighs.

The descent is quite a long couple of k on forest track. I thought there might have been another climb at the bottom of this hill as there was in the amended 3rd race last year so I was weary of killing the legs too much, but this never appeared. I didn’t shake Arron. Didn’t look back but the headtorch beam from behind shining on my feet felt like flames which I was determined wouldn’t get me. A surprise on the golf course was catching Will, who to be fair should be resting his ankle. He stuck in with us and I think we gained a few spots before the final track sprint finish.

All too quickly we were done and eating soup back at race HQ. Everyone made it round and Lucinda and Will gave me a limited edition orange Twirl which was delicious. All in all, a good evening.

172 ran. 16 Westies.

Results

1 M Alasdair Campbell: 31:38 (Cambuslang)

1 F Catriona Buchanan: 38:11 (Ochills)

Westies O/A Results

26 Ally MacInnes: 37:34

28 Will Beresford: 37:36

29 Arron Sparks: 37:39

35 Tom Finch: 38:27

47 Ian Thurlbeck: 40:48

49 Ross Anderson: 41:13

56 Jenn Ruddick: 42:13

57 Chris Furse: 42:15

64 Rachel Hunt: 43:33

69 Lucinda Beresford: 44:54

76 Andrew Fulwood: 45:57

80 Alistair Boyer: 46:25

93 Hollie Leonard: 49:29

131 John Quinn: 55:10

152 Eileen Hamill: 61:21

155 Libby Paterson: 61:37

Race 2: 11th December – Callander

Race 3: 5th Februrary – Aberfoyle

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