This is my first race report for the Harriers; it’s going to be short on route detail (as I was so focused on just getting up the hill!), but here goes!
Sadie, Michael and I travelled together to Hillend, and met up with Andrea and Chris, Rob also joining us (although saving his legs for the Lomonds of Fife), to give us his support and take photos. It was a nice dry night, although a wee bit chilly. The junior race was already on, so off up the hill we went to warm up. At this point, I was as usual getting a bit nervous, especially surrounded by lots of serious hill running types. As a newbie to hill races, I always feel slightly terrified at the start, and the Steading Pub was within tempting walking distance. We saw the juniors coming in to the finish, watched their prize giving, and as there were a couple of tiny runners at the back, we had a slightly delayed start. After we’d cheered in the little ‘uns, we were off!
I felt quite comfortable to start with, as we ran up the grassy track and then onto the steeper slope (at this point, details become vague for me, as I just follow the person in front). I managed to keep running for a while, and then it was hands on knees walking, pretty much following everyone else’s example. The Harriers were quite close together and all making good progress up the hill. It was good to have some support from Rob halfway up, even if he was taking unflattering photos!
As we got to the first ‘summit’, I began to feel my legs failing, but I was trying to keep in mind that this was a short race (and that the kids had managed to run a good part of the route earlier!), and I managed a bit of running on and off until I reached the top cairn and started the descent.
At this stage, I felt I was managing quite well and was trying to keep up with the runner in front, with the hope of passing her (that was never going to happen). Not long after turning, I met Chris, Michael, Andrea and Sadie coming up. For a change, I felt more comfortable running downhill and had enough confidence to speed up. Well, there was my mistake! Talk about timing – as I passed Rob with his camera, I managed to lose my footing completely and tumble over several times…and got back up. Phew – ‘I’m not hurt, I can keep going’ I thought! So off I went, trying to catch up with that elusive runner in front. This plan was going well…until I fell again; my feet just came out from under me and I landed on my behind on a big sharp rock. I did swear – several times, and another poor runner offered to stop and help me down the hill, but the horror of ruining someone else’s race would have been worse than the humiliation of falling again (twice – in one short race?!). I managed to pull myself together, having watched runners pass me while I sat on my bum, and run (rather slower than before) down the last part of the hill to the finish. As usual, I forgot to stop my watch, as I was too busy trying not to cry like a baby ( not with emotion, just a very sore butt).
I saw my fellow Harriers come in, and was glad to have their chat to distract me! Thanks to Rob for those ‘lovely’ pictures too . Great race, good atmosphere, well organised and results out quickly! (Also proud owner of a ‘map of the world’ type bruise on my behind:-)).
64th 26:48 Gill
77th 28:24 Michael
79th 28:32 Chris
80th 29:01 Andrea
89th 30:42 Sadie