Although marred slightly by politics, this was a grand day out.
Several cars turned up at Penicuik Centre just after midday on Saturday, but
we managed to sqeeze most Harriers into two cars. It was only half an hour or
so down past Biggar to Symmington and we stepped out of the cars to be
greeted by damp and cold and the hill was suspiciously sprinkled with white
stuff with the top shrouded in cloud. Even more worrying, as we were writing
emergency contact details on our numbers, it started sleeting outside!
However, it was just a shower and milling around the start at the bottom of
the hill it didn’t seem too bad. Until it came to the kit check. Rob wasn’t
going to be allowed to run! What! Apparently we had to carry waterproof full-
body cover (perfectly normal) and the jacket had to have a hood (perfectly
un-normal). OK, so everyone had read the small print on SI Entries but it
hadn’t really registered. Fortunately most runners did have hooded jackets
(thankyou Ronhill) but there were several non-runners – notably Ngemi who,
unlike Rob, didn’t put up a fuss and wasn’t able to beg and borrow a spare
Carnethy top. So Ngemi very stoically ran the Junior Race instead.
On to the race itself. As I didn’t have to kill myself chasing Stuart, I
enjoyed the run a lot more. It was quite muddy at the bottom, but the path
soon became easier underfoot with a mixture of gravel, rocks and peat. After
the initial 5 minutes of leg- and lung-burning, things settled down to a
steady threshold pace and run-jog-walk depending on the gradient. In fact
quite a lot is runnable with only a few really steep bits. Ah, here was the
white stuff – weird! It became deeper and deeper but didn’t seem too slippery.
The last couple of hundred feet to the summit cairn was fairly arctic and
quite exciting. I started counting the descending runners but got bored after
Round the cairn stepping daintily on the snowy, jaggedy rocky path and then
the mental descent. It was a mixture of high apprehension (would the worn
Walsh’s hold?) and extreme fun. The gradient of Tinto is not particularly
steep and you can run down at a stupid speed if you have the confidence (and
the calfs). With the first lady breathing down my neck I found an extra gear
and it must have looked like the Tinto Troll was after me at the finish. I
survived though and was quite pleased with ‘first lady’ (Rob’s jargon).
Within a couple of minutes, Carl pounded down (what an excellent run)
followed by Rob and the remaining Harriers, all with big grins on their faces.
As it was beginning to rain again we jogged back to the cars. Two strange
apparitions then appeared mistily through the windscreen. The first was one
of the Harriers’ ladies (I’ll mention no names) who was showing actually
quite a lot of thigh (we supposed that she was changing but she got a hoot
from Rob anyway) and the second was what looked like somebody wrestling with
a flan dish. Oh it was a flan dish. Both wrestler and wrestlee then squashed
soggily into the car and proceeded to hand out rather wet but exceedingly
tasty golden syrup tart – excellent work Carl!
Thankyou Carnethy for an excellent race. No doubt they will get a few emails
about the hooded tops, but you can see their point. Rob suggested filling in
a disclaimer form so that we could run wearing whatever we wanted (no thongs
Harriers results are:
Duncan 26th 38:52
Carl 45 41:05
Rob 73 42:58
Jan 156 50:12
Andrea 161 50:44
Amy 166 51:12
Mark 178 52:25
Chris 183 53:09
Helen 216 59:43