Saturday, 23 June 2012

Hold up at the Eildon Hill Race!

As I approached Melrose from the south the sky was a ragged mess with low grey cloud set in a petrol blue backdrop. I arrived at the Rugby Club HQ and signed on upstairs (for a change).

As with any short race that’s made up of a steep climb (450m) followed by a steep descent, the Eildon Hill race is a tough way to spend half an hour. The other 81 competitors probably shared that view.
Reading my own blog entries I seem to spend more than a little time in my head and today I tried not to internalise the anticipation.  We gathered for the Gala Harriers affair on St Dunstan’s Green where the kids were having their sack races and sprints.  At around 3pm when the race was due to start, a small troop of girls danced a maypole and then something else to the accompaniment of an accordion, so it was possibly 15 minutes later that we eventually got off the line. 

Once round the green then up the high street to encouragement from the locals and tourists. From there, it’s a straight climb to the first hill where I was told I was 15th having been just passed by a Shettleston lad. I caught him on the dip before the second hill and was then caught, in turn, by Charlotte Morgan and another. They seemed to be having a bit of a chat which was a bit of a liberty (in my book), considering I was having problems breathing, never mind forming words.  There was then a split as we climbed the second short, blaeberry and heather clad hill with some opting for the track and some for the A1 direct route. I went for the latter, then, halfway up, saw from those coming up the track that the track route was marginally quicker (or was it just me going marginally slower). A further 4 got past me on the second climb near the top where I checked my watch and thought Kenny Stuart would have been finished by now!  

I caught my breath and took flight down the hill taking my chances firstly with the angular red scree. Further down things were also interesting and going sideways at speed in the puddles and red brown mud seemed 'de rigueur' but I managed to pass 4 in the process. Glendinning of Bellahouston was just ahead of me at the bottom of the wooden steps and he must have been working hard as he overhauled a young Carnethy back on the town fringes, but no such luck for me as we finished with a lap around the rugby pitch... murder, that flat ground after a red-lining descent.
18th in the end in 36:03...B-...'Could do better.' Good spread of grub afterwards and a mooch around the dinky, but well appointed (as estate agents would say) town centre made it a good workout on a blustery afternoon.  This is a good event by Gala.

Carnethy’s Paul Faulkner won in 31.09 from Brian Marshall (HELP 32:51) and former winners Damon Rodwell 3rd and Moorfoots Mike McGovern 4th.  Charlotte finished 14th and 1st lady (35:38) from 2nd place Fiona Dalgleish of Gala  38:56.           

No comments: