Saturday 27 October 2012

Scottish National Cross Country Relays

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Working hard at Cumbernauld
This was my 6th attempt at the Scottish National Cross Country Relays at Cumbernauld Park, and having run sub 15 minutes in 2009 and 2010, I was hoping to do the same again today.

Tom Smith ran Leg 1 in 14:45 to finish in 42nd, followed by Gregor Stewart on Leg 2 in 15:02 who made up 8 places to finish in 34th place. I was hovering around the start area with Ross Milne of Central who set off 3 seconds ahead of me.
The first hill out of the starting straight
I didn't want to kill myself in the first 3 minutes, so worked myself in gradually and reeled in Ross after a kilometre or so. I then set about the task of pressing the pace, and aiming for distant runners and bringing them back.  I managed to catch 6 more, to bring us up to 27th place with a time of 14:50, which is the 2nd fastest I'd run the course.  Niall then took the final leg and made 2 more places to bring the team home in 25th place in a total time of 59:40, which is the first time we've ever got under the hour.
The 4.1km race route

Sunday 14 October 2012

Pentland Skyline

My 11th Skyline in a row started in sobering mood with a minute’s silence to reflect on the passing of Darren Holloway at last Sunday’s Ian Hodgson Relay. John Blair-Fish spoke a few words, and emphasised the importance of stopping to help fellow runners in difficulty.

Once underway, the race followed a slightly new route to gain the gateway and path above the ski slope.  I’d already constructed a plan in my head that involved setting off ridiculously slowly, and putting in no effort until after Turnhouse, and even then saving myself until Bell’s Hill when I hoped to have a strong run to the finish.

I’d also decided to eat and drink more than before, and to start eating and drinking earlier. Therefore I’d decided beforehand exactly when and where I would take my 4 gels.

I arrived at the top of Castlelaw pretty much with Jasmin Paris and Iain Walker, and caught Jon Gay on the descent.  After Flotterstone, I took it pretty easy on the climb up Turnhouse watching Stuart Smith of Cosmics disappearing off into the distance and wondering if I’d catch him later.

I jogged over the 5 Carnethy hills pretty much together with Iain Walker, and was with Iain more or less to the climb up Bell’s Hill.  I had a chat with Stephen Winter who was sheltering in the gully, took my last gel and some more drink and tried to get organised to run from the of Bell’s Hill to the finish in under 40 minutes.

I passed 2 runners more or less straightaway, but then there was a big gap in front.  Strangely I suddenly caught Stuart Smith, but it looked like he’d taken a route diversion, since he then took off again, and I had to chase him all the way to Allermuir before I finally caught him again as he hesitated in the mist, not knowing which path to take towards Caerketton.  I made my move and jumped back, and tried to finish strongly down the super muddy slippery descent to hit the track running above the ski slope.  I wasn’t 100% sure of the final section, but forced the pace to the gate and then put in one last effort to the new finish, which gives a much nicer run in.

I was pleased to finish in 13th position in 2:54:18, having made up 6 places in the second half of the race, although in less soft and muddy conditions I’m sure I could have run sub 2:50 again.  Perhaps next year...