Des Drove Stuart and I (and Haggis) down to Kilmarnock via the M8, M74
and M77 on Saturday morning for the annual Scottish Athletics Masters
Cross Country Championships.
To get there, rather than use phone Sat Navs we old gudgies thought we
would use my more reliable ‘map’ sketched from the SA website instead.
All was going well until we miscounted the number of R turns and ended
up doing a detour through Kilmarnock (by then resorting to our phones).
Fortunately we were very early and still arrived over an hour before
The event was being held in the Dean Castle Country Park and the
Residential Centre had recently been done up and was very posh – but
about to be trashed by 400 muddy runners.
I had large misgivings about the race as I was only just starting to get
some fitness back after a series of colds. But I was ‘happy’ to make up
We changed leisurely in the Centre until Stu discovered that he had
forgotten his hill shoes! You just can’t trust these old guys.
Fortunately, a very generous chap lent him his spare shoes. Phew. Mind
you it would have been highly entertaining watching Stuart slide around
in the mud in his slippers – sorry, trainers.
We jogged to the start and were greeted with much enthusiasm and a big
grin from Dave – a very rare thing for Penicuik Harriers to field a
whole team in a Championship race. We jogged around part of the course
and watched the women and very very old geezers tackling the mud and a
substantial hill half way round. It looked a good course.
The start was the usual mad dash to get a good position but things settled
down and I found that I had started too near the front and runners started
to huff and puff past me. Boy was it muddy – give me a sandy beach any
day. There were some bits of grass left but even these were soggy with
On the second lap I had found some sort of steady pace, but Des
and Stuart were quite a way in front and looked un-catchable. On the
third lap I recognised Yan who gave me his customary enthusiastic
greeting and encouragement. I overhauled him painfully but then got
overtaken by a very loud wheezing M60. Flip, I had to keep up with him.
It was not to be, he zoomed up the hill and disappeared from sight.
At last the final charge to the finish. That was hard and I didn’t enjoy
any of it – except when I stopped running!
We didn’t hang around too long and were soon back on the M77, remembering
to collect haggis who had been immaculately behaved. I did notice that he
refrained from lying on Stuart’s lap on the return trip – Stuart was
obviously too muddy and smelly.
Thanks to Des for driving and being keen and persuading us to enter,
Allan for the paperwork and Dave for the support. I might consider doing
it again next year but only if I was super-fit. Aim for an old geezers
team for the Devils Burden first.
Des 35:14 5th / 40 M55 (72/237 overall)
Stu 36:49 19th / 54 M50 (105/237 overall)
Dunc 37:17 11th / 40 M55 (114/237 overall)
M50 – 60 team 6th / 14