It might not have been the full blown remnants of Hurricane Katia expected tomorrow, but the weather on Great Cumbrae was still pretty wild, wet and windy. Given the dismal conditions, the number of runners seemed down on previous years.
I chose to cycle to ensure I could make a quick getaway after the race. The short cycle down to Millport was straight into the teeth of gale so I was pretty exhausted when I arrived at the village hall. Pre-race, I had a chat with John Bell and David Geddes of Garscube, and made a mental plan to try to run with John and his clubmate Euan Geddes.
The race started just before 2pm, with a pack of 4 taking the early pace - Stuart Gibson, Mike Deason, Conor McNulty and a Corstorphine runner. Next I think was Billy Richardson of Irvine, with myself sitting 6th, waiting for John Bell and Euan Geddes to arrive. I was a bit surprised to see Chris Moses of Helensburgh launching an early attack inside the first kilometre, and chose not to respond. By the first mile I was caught by John and Euan and a guy in purple vest. The 4 of us ran together in a block that took us past Chris, and for a while we seemed to be gaining on Billy. I was finding the pace a bit too comfortable so tried to push it on for the first 3 miles or so, with myself, John and Euan running side by side with the wind on our backs.
Just before the ferry terminal at 4 miles, either Euan speeded up, or my pace started to slump because suddenly I couldn't hold on. I tried not to panic and keep on chasing John Bell who was also dropped by Euan by the 5-mile marker. At this point we had swung around the top of the island and were now starting to get battered by a strong headwind. I could see that the Corstorphine runner had faded, and Euan went by soon after 5 miles. I thought I was perhaps in with a shout at catching John, but the run down the west side of the island got tougher and tougher as we fought into the headwind that almost stopped you in your tracks.
I hit 8 miles in 48:15, meaning I'd need to run 6:00 and sub 5:45 for the last 2 miles to get under the hour, which wasn't going to happen. Just before the 9-mile marker I finally got past the Corstorphine guy, but also realised that the purple-vested guy was barreling down on me. I tried to respond several times, but he got the better of me in the final 600 metres when I perhaps gave up too easily.
I'm guessing I must have finished 8th in 1:00:56, with only the first 5 runners getting under the hour. The race was won by Stuart Gibson in 53:08, with Mike Deason 2nd, and I'm guessing Conor McNulty 3rd.
|Photo by Kenny Phillips|
|Photo by Gillian Scott|
|Photo by Kenny Phillips|