It’s a tricky one. Race on the Saturday morning, work Xmas night out on the Friday night. (Un)fortunately the work night out ended up in a karoke bar so the internal dialogue about whether I should stay and have a few more drinks like any normal person would do or whether I should GTF out of there as quickly as possible was easily resolved. I had spent a wee while skulking in the background so I was hoping my skulking skills would allow me to depart unobserved. In fact I if I could replicate the speed at which I departed the pub in the race the following day then my team might well have won. I hate Karoke. With a passion. But, as Simon frequently points out, I am probably not normal.
The early departure from the pub was followed by a fairly early start the following morning. In fact you’d have thought it was before dawn judging by all of the complaining that Simon was doing but I’m sure he was looking forward to the event really. He just hides it rather well. Personally I was a wee bit apprehensive. I had said I’d run any leg for any team but the prospect of doing the 1st leg, the long stage was actually a bit scary. Simon had requested the third leg which was the short stage and I had emailed Bob with this information to which I received the reply “Simon has always had short legs” and we arrived to find that Simon was listed as running the long stage. That was a traumatic experience for him. A few reshuffles of teams later and I was still doing a short leg and Simon was doing a medium leg and we were both in the same team, having kidnapped a fast runner to run the long stage for us.
|Simon exudes enthusiasm for the race|
|Thats his "i'm going to murder you" smile|
It rained a bit during the morning but while the rest of the country seemed to be suffering from horrendous gales and flooding it was a relatively mild, pleasant day in Glen Tanar. Not at all as wintery as you’d expect in December. The fast runners were set off on the first leg and I went to recce the third leg. Unbeknown to me the route had been changed from last year as the previous riverside route had been deemed to be “too flat” for a hill race. Fair enough.
|Glen Tanar church|
|Glen Tanar bridge|
|Race instructions - pay attention Colin!|
|Old leg 3 route|
|New leg 3 route|
|Leg 3 elevation|
|Recce of the wrong route...doh!|
The runners started to appear after about three quarters of an hour but didn’t look quite as muddy as I expected them to be. I really was expecting it to be a mud bath. Our newly recruited leg 1 runner, Miles soon re-appeared having done the team proud and then it was Simon’s turn to set off. He didn’t seem to have been away for long (though he would say differently) before it was my turn to set off and he had managed to overtake a couple of teams. Having recced last years’ leg 3 route and not this years’ I was going to be in for a mystery run (what sort of idiot recces the wrong route?) but the first section up the steady incline followed the leg 1 and 2 route which I remembered from doing leg 2 last year and the course was well marked so no there was no real chance of going wrong. Simon wasn’t exactly smiling when he crossed the finish line so it was probably just as well for my own safety that I was away running. After recovering for half an hour there was a chance he might come to the conclusion that he enjoyed the run. Or maybe at least bits of the run.
|and they are off...|
|Simon off to a flying start on leg 2|
|and he disappears into the distance|
It felt like a bit of a slog going up the hill but I managed to overhaul 2 teams just as I reached the highest point in the race and nobody overtook me which counts as a success in my book. Gary had set off behind me and so I have to confess to taking some worried glances over my shoulder every so often…
From the highest point it is all downhill to the cattle grid, follow the long straight track past the church again and then into the finish. I felt like I was going well although video evidence of me running to the finish would suggest otherwise. The new leg 3 gets the thumbs up from me. A nice testing climb followed by a runnable non-technical downhill blast over forest tracks, and it wasn’t too muddy.
|Waiting for next leg runners|
|Pauline and Gary finishing|
|Finish line smiles|
|Tea & soup...and cakes, and mince pies and baked potatoes and flapjacks and xmas cake and mountains of cheese...|
Then it was back to the hall for tea, soup and cakes and a very unofficial prize giving and apparently the course records for the first and second leg were broken and an inaugural course record set for the third leg.
I have another works Xmas do to go to next Friday. And Deeside runners have organised a night race that night….hmmm. How much skulking can a girl get away with?