Three of us travelled to the Kelso Two Bridges 5k after I'd been singing its praises about what a potentially fast 5k course it was. The harvest is in full swing with plenty of tractors and odd looking multi-tasking gizmos on the road to dodge. We arrived at this would-be haven of speed in warm autumn sunshine at the cricket pitch on the edge of this scenic and historic border town.
There were plenty of lads and lassies who were up for the fun run, but the field for the senior event was diminutive, almost 'nano' .. (perhaps affected by 2 or 3 other events taking place in the wider area. We paid our £2 and as we lined up, with the police kindly stopping the traffic, I felt pretty good.
It was once around the cricket pitch and then off up through the High Street, across the market place, past the old abbey and along to the bridge. This is followed by a good grunt up the hill to Maxwellhaugh. I had started slowly and it took around 2k to catch the 2 lads in front, and at 3k as we worked up the hill I caught teamate McB. The leader had disappeared from view but there were a clutch of around 3 or 4 runners not too far in front who were spaced out between each other by around 10 seconds or so.
As we hit the hill I was tucked in behind an unattached athlete with a Teviotdale lad just in front, but they cut sharply left down a narrow lane around 20 metres or so before the junction with the bypass which swings down 2k to the finish. With no marshall in sight I convinced myself that they had taken the wrong turn and me and McB doubled back up to the junction at which point we saw the field re-appearing from the short blind lane 100 metres ahead and I was left feeling abit of a mug and dug in to make up the lost ground passing the marshall 100 metres down the road and suggesting that he might be better 100 metres back up the road.
I tried to pick the pace up estimating that we'd lost around 13 or 14 seconds, but the slight headwind combined with my disappointment, age, condition, slightly tight achilles, mismatched socks (and anything else I could blame other than myself) meant that I managed to draw level with the 5th placed Teviotdale lad just before the finish, at which point he kicked and I was dropped hanging on to finish in 18:07 and 2 seconds behind him.
As it was I may have managed a 17:50 or 55 which would have been fine, but a wrong turn when its short and sharp is fatal. As penance we ran another lap as a cool down.
McB finished 15 seconds behind me and won the over-50's category so it wasn't all bad. Daryl Hastie won (again) in 16:32 from Damon Rodwell and Keith Lyall. Didn't get the ladies times.
As additional punishment they made me ride my spacehopper all the way home (I've only just got back). Try making hand signals at 3mph while holding on to only one orange ear.