Strangely this was my 1st ever running at the Newtonmore Highland Games Creag Dhubh hill race. The drive up was pretty exhausting since I followed the back roads via Crieff to avoid the tailbacks at Bankfoot, which wasn't perhaps the best detour. So we arrived pretty shattered about 30 minutes before the race was due to start. It took a while to find where to register, and we were duped by paying entry to the games and entry to the hill race.
So I was feeling pretty dizzy from fatigue on the startline, and not looking forward to the steeplechase obstacle course of fences and barriers to tackle before reaching the hill. I was pretty much off the pace from the start, but stayed ahead of Manny and Alan Smith until partway up the main climb, before Manny really took off. I plodded up the hill behind Alan to the summit, but Alan tore away from me on the rough heathery descent.
Alan was quickly out of sight, so instead I latched onto Paul Maclean to show me the way off. Lower down Stuart Malcolm of Cairngorm Runners went past. I had almost given up when an insanely enthusiastic shout of support from Elke Schmidt got me going again and I chased to Stuart and Paul, and had the most uncomfortable sprint in the final 200 metres on the games field to finish just ahead of Paul in a time of around 33:50.