Archive for May, 2008

Women’s 10k report – Anne Noble

Congratulations to Sonya for finishing under the hour! Great achievement ;D For those of you who didn’t already know, Sonya was running for BLISS and raised over £500 for this charity which supports families whose babies are born prematurely.

Hazel is also delighted with her time – even faster than the Troon 10k and this was despite starting at the back of her group (her friend hadn’t been well in the build up to the race) and having to weave through.
Guys – you’ll be saying “only in a women’s race” at this next bit. Seemingly she and her two running companions were having to shout “Blind runner coming through” since they were faster than those in front of them, and the runners around them were muttering “What? Why should we make way for a blond runner?” You couldn’t make it up, could you? ;D
Well done, Hazel – you’ll break 1 hour at the next race.

Anita, Mhairi and Gillian – look forward to hearing your times. I know Anita was faster than last year.

As for me, I had never intended to run this year, but my neighbour’s daughter (an 800m runner) turned 15 and wanted to tackle her first 10k. For some reason ??? her mother thought I should run with her. Anyway, despite not wanting to do a warm-up, she took off at great speed, with me suggesting she take it easy. She was still pulling ahead so I told her to go for it and leave me behind, and she was making great progress until her lace came undone at around 6-7k. I stopped with her and then she took off again. Of course, I assumed that I’d stay with her but no way… By 8k I was sure that I’d be catching her and encouraging her over the last stretch. No, Sarah was amazing and charged in with 195th place (out of 12,000) at 46:23. Not bad for a 15 year old on her first 10k, eh?
No PB for me, but I did move up from 274th place last year to 210th. Don’t say it – “not bad for an old woman on her umpteenth 10k…”

Goatfell Hill Race – Alex Drain

Goatfell – the report

A great day for it said Mike as we travelled over on the boat. But then he was marshalling rather than running. 8-)

A steady drizzle with a slight breeze indicated that Mike was right and we could be in for a good one. The usual suspects were mostly there: Roddy, Al, Davie and Andrew from Killie, John, Colin, Tommy, Ian, Robert and Finlay from Irvine and of course, Nat from Girvan. :)

The first mile and a half are on flat tarmac and whilst this is fine on the way out, it’s never welcome as far as I’m concerned on the way back. Having negotiated the road I got onto the climby bit. Unlike last week I found it pretty hard going on the way up and was passed by loads of people. I think I may even have been passed by someone’s granny! It’s a long slog but someone’s got to do it and one good thing was that the mist had covered the hill and visibility was very poor so I couldn’t see just how far everyone else was ahead. I’d hoped to keep in touch with Finlay but he pulled out a lead of at least a hundred yards long before the top. :-[

Rounding the top I threw caution to the wind, cried havoc and lets slips the dogs of war (rather old mutts in actual fact). This must figure as one of my better descents. I passed runner after runner and soon lost count. I reached Finlay and flew past. I reached Roddy and left him for dead. I even got to Davie Mitchell and roared past him too. Controlled falling. Gravitational management. OOPS! Pain control. Yes, second week in a row I take a flyer. Goatfell, for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure, is made up of a very crumbly rock that manifests itself as grit (or skin destroyer as the initiated know it). Another pair of gloves lacerated, some more skin from my forearm and bruises ontop of those that had gone before. Ah well, c’est la vie as George would say. Get up, hope everything’s in one piece and race for home. :'(

I continued my successful downhill and gathered more places. But then the flat road section, oh how I hate flat road sections. They’re only a wee bit worse than uphilly road sections. I took to my wading through treacle style and was soon passed by a couple of folk I’d flown past earlier. In fact, had that road section been a ½ mile longer, Rod would have caught me. :-/

Knackered but happy I finished the race in 50th pos out of 85. I’d managed to stay ahead of Finlay, Rod and Davie. Colin, Tommy and Nat were the local heroes but the overall winner by a LONG way was Brian Marshall of Haddington & East Lothian Pacesetters (HELP). Smashing showers, reasonable grub and piss poor tea ended the event. Then off to the pub and a pint of the black stuff. :D

No wonder Arran is known the length and breadth of the universe. A wonderful place to spend time in and don’t forget, according to David Icke, when the world ends Arran will be the one place saved! ;)

Next up, Saughhill Race, Girvan on Sunday 1st June. This is a short wee race that forms part of the Lowland Gathering. Very much a party atmos and well worth attending. Try to get there, you’ll love it.

Ben Lomond – Tim Downie

Just about to go out so all I’ll say (before the scrawny goat does) is that Alex beat me, by quite a lot really.

In my defence, I would just say that he did it by cheating outrageously. Firstly, he trained better, secondly he rested better and lastly he ran faster! I mean, how’s a chap supposed to cope with such an out and out low down cur who stoops to such underhand tactics?? ;D

Well done Alex, I was well beaten by a man who well deserved to beat me.

I did beat Ian though, so the day wasn’t a complete disaster although I did have to trip him up on the way down to ensure that small victory. ;D

Ben Lomond – Alex Drain)
« Reply #2 on May 11, 2008, 6:19pm


Ok. Here’s the slightly longer report.

You may remember last year that my report on Ben Lomond began….. The race is organised by Westerlands Hill Running Club who describe it thus: “9 miles and a climb of 3192ft. Go! Puff, pech, puff, pech, puff, pech round the top … whee! Puff, pech, puff, pech … bloody road … wibbly wobbly legs. The pub, thank god! Stop, keel over.”

Whilst I wouldn’t normally want to repeat myself, for Tim’s benefit, and I think he’ll agree… “9 miles and a climb of 3192ft. Go! Puff, pech, puff, pech, puff, pech round the top … whee! Puff, pech, puff, pech … bloody road … wibbly wobbly legs. The pub, thank god! Stop, keel over.”

The only difference was that the keel over came before the pub in this instance!

Tim picked me up at 10am and following the Ian pick up we headed to BL in high spirits. It was a beautiful day, the birds were singing and nothing could go wrong. Oops, BL looks mighty high. Whilst me and Ian have done this before, it still looks an awesome prospect as you approach from Drymen – AND it’s a longer journey than ever expected!

We arrived in plenty of time and did our usual preparation – I went for a warm-up, Tim went and bought another pair of running shoes and Ian went to the lavatory. Lets get to the start!!!

Whilst there was a limit of 150 runners, only 121 took the line – that is a 20% DNS which just goes to show that our 10% DNS was pretty good. Anyway… ready, steady GO! 121 nutters cheering and sounding like it’s going to be a leisurely day out – aye, right….. with a climb of 3,000 feet ahead!

Tim’s ahead of me, Ian’s behind. Puff, pech. I’m ahead of Tim, Ian’s still behind. Puff, pech. Oh nuts, Tims’ ahead of me, need to watch for Ian. Puff, pech. Tim’s still ahead, need to put some effort in. Puff, pech. I’m ahead of Tim, I’m pulling away, he must be taking it easy, where’s that Ian?? Puff, pech. So hot, sweating like an Andy (pouring off like a tap!). Never ending slog, slog, puff, pech.

At the top there was an angel with little cups of water. Did you know that water is really nectar? – at least it tastes like it. However, had to be careful – she’s offering another cup…hmmm maybe a little devil in disguise!! Off I go, downhill, this is great. Pick up a place, and another, another, another… 8 places up… oops!…ouch!…f**k!…nuts!…bastard!…(excuse the expletives but I can assure you they were justified). One slight miscalculation and Ben Lomond lived up to it’s reputation as being dangerous. Ian was to do the same a few minutes later and I can attest to the fact that loosing skin does hurt – even with the long running tights and gloves I was wearing (gloves totally shredded BTW).

With confidence dented I lost a place to a 60YO Westie but managed to remain ahead of Tim and Ian who were making heavy weather of the good weather. Much of the rest of my descent was dominated by me wondering if anything was broken or if there was blood gushing from various regions. Fortunately, nothing broken and little blood….Ian had a much worse tumble and received a bit of TLC along with an impressive bandage at the finish! Incidentally, this year seems to have had a very high attrition rate – lots of walking wounded at the finish and plenty of work for St John’s.

I came in just under 5 minutes ahead of Tim who was just under a minute ahead of Ian. Tim and I got bored waiting for Ian (who was getting bandaged) so we went for a dip in the loch (told you it was good weather). Unfortunately, whilst the air temperature was high, the loch temperature wasn’t. Neither of us was as brave as Ian McManus of Irvine who went for the total immersion job (but then I’ve seen him do it in mid winter!). On meeting up with Ian, it was back to the car, get changed, go to prize giving.

At the end of the Ben Lomond Hill Race you always get soup and a roll. This was fine but supplemented by a pint of lager and the day was complete. Returning to the car for the journey back to Ayr was a drag…. but what a day! Thoroughly enjoyed. Roll on Goatfell!

Kilmarnock 10k report – Tim Downie

Either this course is getting hillier or I’m getting older. ;)

Whichever it is, a strong headwind for the first 3K as we headed out (clockwise this time) didn’t help times and I think everyone struggled to a greater or lesser degree.

Four totoises turned up to add to the small field of around 80 runners (can’t think where everyone else might be on such a lovely evening). Myself, Bruce, Alasdair and Ian arrived to try and frighten Kerry & Robert (Gilroy) but neither of them looked too intimidated by our presence. ;D

Somehow I found myself as lead tortoise chasing Findlay from Irvine. For the first three kilometers he was never more that 10 yards or so ahead but after that, he stretched his lead out and I had to accept that I wasn’t going to catch him. Not that I really expected to but in such asmall field it helps to have someone to chase.

Our unofficial finishing times were:

Tim – 44:03
Ian – 44:45
Alasdair – 47:28
Bruce – 47:45

I think our times reflect the strength of the wind and our declining speed! ;D

Kaim Hill race – Alex Drain

Kaim Hill Race

In the following note I’ll try not to cover old ground and anyone interested should see my report from last year: http://www.zen31010.zen.co.uk/troontortoise/index.htm

This was the first Ayrshire Hill race of the year and in bygone days, one that was very difficult for Tortoises to run since it clashed with our own 10K. However, last year the date was changed to the week before and long may that continue.

On my way up to Fairlie I picked up John McKinlay who had run out of excuses for not going. ;) Whilst John has over the years covered a lot of hills, it’s been infrequent. A lot of concern and worry was therefore sitting in my passenger seat and no matter how much I tried to set his mind at rest with my cheery descriptions of waist deep water traps, calf crunching slopes and joint destroying finishing straights, John just didn’t seem to relax – wonder why? ;D ;D

When we got up to Fairlie we met up with a couple of virgin hill runners in the form of big Kev from Seaforth and Killie Keith from Johnny Walkers. (hidden smirk and guffah – Keith was wearing WHITE socks! :o – guess what wasn’t white at the finish ;D). We did a warm up in pouring rain and I again tried to lower everyone’s stress with my cheery tales! ::)

From the start, Keith showed that he’s no slouch on the road and was up with the best. The rest of us started a bit more sedately and with the usual banter as found on the hills. Onto the trail that leads up to the hill and banter stopped as concentration and pain took over. This section can be run but it saps the energy fast. Over the burn and onto the hill itself. At the post race discussion, this came as a bit of a shock for our virgins, especially since it doesn’t get easier. Like last year, the heather had been burned so it was a leg slashing climb up to the plateau. Unlike last year when I went in up to my waist, this time, ½ way up my calf was the worst. Kev passed me on the way up the hill which was a slight I couldn’t let go. I trailed him to the top and followed on the descent – which I have to admit, he negotiated pretty well >:(. I caught him just before the start of the trail (undone lace he says?? Why should that slow you down says I).

Rod Pugh was the runner ahead of me and whilst I was catching up very quickly, when we got to the road I gave up and took it easy to the end in 42:24. Kev came in about ½ min behind me and John who ran a superb race to come in 2nd over 60 in just over 48 minutes. Keith got a prize for coming in 8th overall – terrific 1st hill (mind you, he didn’t look too good at the end – hope you’re ok now K.)

This was another race I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I did have a very worrying niggle from my calfs when on a number of occasions they threatened to cramp. Fortunately, with the warning twinges I was able to slow things down a tad and do a bit of running stretches.

A well run race with good markers. A good start to Ayrshire’s Hill Running Championship!