Well, the weather gods were kind to us yesterday and gave the runners near perfect conditions for this grand wee race. Four Tortoises were there for the run, Anne, Alex, Ian (wearing a dress) and myself. Ian was hoping for a spot “fancy dress” prize but it seems you have to try pretty hard to impress the judges at the Straiton gala. 😉 Maybe a tutu next year Ian?

As per usual, the start line was a slightly chaotic mix of kids and adults all looking for a clear stretch of road ahead of us in a bid to avoid “doing an Andy” and flattening some poor waif. 😉 [1] I set of at the front with Toni just to try an put a bit of distance between myself and the nearest anklebiters and once clear, I backed off having enjoyed, oh, maybe 5 seconds of being *ahead* of Toni!

Of course, having led the Tortoises, they then all charged past me long before we reached the primary school. As we entered the field I gradually began to recoup some of the distance and as the field levelled out and we entered the woods, I was able to regain my place as first Tortoise by the time we reached the stile.

Then it’s time for the calf burning haul up the hill. Not too bad to start with but by the time I hauled myself up to the summit I was crying out “ouch ouch ouch ouch” with every step. I staggered over to the marshal and received my “post-it” note and started my descent, constantly wondering at what point Alex was going to come charging past me.

Whilst I’m pretty good at running down long shallow slopes, the technique for steep hills still evades me and I came down like a girly. 🙂 (Apologies to all girlies in our club but you know what I mean). Despite this, there was no sign of Alex breathing down my neck when I reached the stile and I reckoned that if he hadn’t caught me by then, I could hold him off through the woods and field. I had a great gallop down the hill and once onto the road I still hadn’t been passed by anyone. As I neared the village hall a young lad I had been creeping up on suddenly realised I was behind and took off like a rocket only to slow down again after 100 yards clutching his side. Always one to take advantage of others’ misfortune 😆 , I quietened my breathing and starting sprinting quietly up behind him and flew by. He couldn’t respond again and for the first time ever, I actually moved up one position on the second half of a hill race!

I finished in about 22:31, Alex in 23:08, Ian 24:09 and Anne in 25:02. All times are approximate, not official. Congrats to Anne on what I believe was a big PB.

[1] Actually, this is a little unfair as if memory serves me right, I don’t think Andy knocked the kid over. I think he fell in front of Andy and Andy gallantly stopped to help the kid up and make sure he was okay.

Postscript from Alex

Actually, Andy did indeed trip the wee fella. I was just to Andy’s left when it happened. Unfortunately, I have to admit that it was an accident and not a ‘professional’ foul 😉 At the end of the race, the jammy sod got about 20 seconds knocked off his official finish time for his ‘sporting’ behaviour 🙄 (wish I’d remembered that for this year)