A beautiful night for the 1st of this years Bog & Burn series of midweek hill races. Ayrshire is an unlikely spot for a hill race not being the most hilly part of the country. But this is a great wee race, fitting the bill well as it features both bog and a burn. A 7 o’clock start in Fairlie meant a bit of a rush to get away from work in time for the race start. But we made it with time to spare. The race is short and sharp, 5.5km with about 380m of climbing. After a sprint start along the road, there is a steepish but runnable climb along a path before a gate takes you on to the hillside, there is a steep drop down to a slippy river crossing where Shettlestons Peter Mackie took an unfortunate tumble on the slippy rocks behind me. There is a bit of a scramble up the bank on the other side of the river before you emerge on to a long narrow trod that leads to the summit trig then you turn and leg it home back the way you came. Thanks to the benefits of tapering for next weeks Highland Fling race my legs were a wee bit fresher than normal and found myself enjoying the climb- maybe I should race on rested legs more often. However fresh legs did nothing to help my descending skills. The heathery terrain doesn’t really suit shufflers like me who are incabable of lifting their legs higher than 20cm and I managed to faceplant twice losing all my hard earned places gained on the climb. Despite my worst efforts on the descent I finished in a PB of 33.33- my first hill racing PB since the brain haemorrhage- proof that tapering works. With 10 days to the fling left maybe I’ll just put my feet up. And after Clachnaben’s 1:22:22 I am getting a taste for symmetrical numbers. I’ll take a fling 7:59:59.
At the pointy end it was another win for Joe in 28:41. Though he looked less than delighted with his prize of a box of Budweiser- not as tasty a prospect as the Deeside Brewery beer he won at Clachnaben on saturday. The beer snob in me threatened not to let him in my car with it. The other prize giving highlight was Westerland’s Gwyn Bellamy being announced as female race winner despite definitely being the owner of a willy. Though thankfully proof wasn’t required before handing the prize to real winner Madeline Robinson.
On such a nice night it was worth a wee run back up the hill to take in the view over to Arran.
Worth remembering nights like this when we hit the midge fests later in the series.