After my 14 mile jog around the Devil's Burdens Relay yesterday, I wasn't expecting anything much from today's short sharp cross country at Bellahouston Park. And in fact at 12.30pm the weather was abmysal freezing cold rain, and the prospect of running wasn't looking at all appealing. However at five to one, the weather suddenly improved, and at 1pm bright low winter sunshine greeted the runners on the startline.
Serious Scottish Athletics cross country races like this have a great procedure at the start, with a shout of "Stand Ready", and then a real starter's pistol going off, so there is absolutely no doubt when the race begins. Unfortunately all the other runners hurtled off at breakneck pace, whereas I planned to start steadily and work up through the field. After 50 metres or so I had a sense that I might in fact be last, but turning round noticed one or two stranglers floudering along behind me.
The conditions underfoot were wet and boggy so it was tough to generate any sense of pace whilst wallowing through the mud. Gradually I picked of a few runners and for a while got towed along by Billy Coyle of Shettleston hoping he would drag me across the gap to reach Paul Thompson who was perhaps 50 metres ahead. My plan was to take it fairly easy on the first and save myself for the second. But in the second I couldn't press home any advantage, and didn't make any ground on Paul who finished about 20 seconds ahead of me. I finished 48th overall in 15:15, and 5th Vet. And since looking at the results, I realised that Paul Thompson and Billy Coyle were the only older athletes ahead of me.
We stopped to watch the opening stages of the women's race, but halfway through the first lap it was clear that Freya Murray had an unassailable lead, so we wandered off to Pollok Park for coffee at the Burrell.