Saturday 7 December 2013

West District Cross Country

Results | Strava Track

The last time I ran the West District Cross Country was in 2011, when it was held twice, both times at Irvine Moor.  The first was in January as the postponed 2010 race, and the 2nd was in December at the usual time of year. I missed out on last year's event, which sounded like a mudbath at Ardgowan Estate, Inverkip.

Anyhow, in December 2011, I finished down in 76th place (2011 results), so I was hoping to do a bit better than that today.

My plan for today's race was to aim for 1st V50. The only way this would be possible was if I shadowed Paul Thompson (now running for Cambuslang) right from the start. I knew that if I let any gap grow, I would never close it down again.

There was the usual scramble for positions at the start, with everyone trying to slot into a sensible pecking order. I worked to position myself a couple of places behind Paul, but couldn't quite get right on his shoulder, due to the general congestion and jostling.  I thought that if I held back on the first lap, I would have more left to close down places as the race progressed.

Colin Feechan was working hard on the first lap, and passed both myself and Paul briefly. I used Colin to pace me for a while, but bit by bit I was losing contact with Paul. Marco Consani, Greig Glendinning and Niall McAlinden all came past, and I was starting to wonder if I had enough strength for 2 more laps.
Kilmarnock West District Cross Country - senior men's course
I did briefly catch Scott Martin at around the halfway point, but Scott shrugged off my challenge, and I spent the final lap with Scott just ahead, and Colin just behind, and working hard to catch me again.
Flogging through the mud
I did just enough to keep Colin at a comfortable distance, but didn't have the strength or speed to catch Scott, so spent the final lap maintaining an even gap ahead and behind.

Final result was 40th place and 2nd V50. Paul Thompson was 1st V50, 35 seconds ahead.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Two Breweries Hill Race

Strava track | Garmin track

This was my 12th Two Breweries in a row, and the weather was about as perfect as you could imagine, if a fraction on the warm side.

It was slightly daunting and frustrating setting off with my back in pain after the fall at Three Shires last weekend. I had no idea how I would complete the race, given how much my back was hurting just getting out of the car. The only hope was to set off ridiculously slowly and see if I could survive.

The problem was that every time my foot hit a tussock or slipped on the path, I got a wave of pain jarring through the ribs in my back. And the Two Breweries race route is not known for being totally smooth and tussock-free.

I reached the summit of Birkscairn Hill way down the field, and dreading the descent to Glensax. I pottered down through the heather with shooting pains through my back, watching lots of folk gallop past, including Steffen and Graham Kelly from Westies, and Gordon Pryde & Dom Ketley amongst others.

Once on the bowling green smooth ascent, I took a gel and drink and then overtook about 10 runners on the climb to Hundleshope, almost but not quite catching Morag McCracken.

After Hundleshope, the heathery traverse round to Stob Law was a joke. The muddy slippery trod was playing havoc with my back, so I stepped off the path and let all the runners go by who I'd past on the previous climb.  I then just about caught them back again on the climb up Stob Law, before once again they all disappeared on the long descent to Glenrath Farm.

Once you hit the Glenrath farm track, the route suddenly becomes extremely runnable, barring 2 short steep climbs up Whitelaw and Trahenna.  I therefore decided to start pressing, and reeled in 8 or so runners before the firebreak up Whitelaw, getting just ahead of Morag McCracken at last.  After Whitelaw I wasn't that keen on having anyone catching me, so managed to get to Stobo without dropping any places, and passed Iain Gilmore who was clearly struggling, just before the road to Stobo.

I grabbed a bottle at Stobo and then set a target of catching the 2 runners ahead, one of whom was Duncan Ball of Penicuik Harriers.  Once across the dam I headed for the left edge of the wood, with a Westie runner not far ahead - I think this was Cameron Burt, but couldn't get close enough to be sure.

Peter Mackie was also not far ahead, and by taking a better line, I reached the summit of Trahenna ahead of him.  I could see Gregor Stewart over to the right, clearly having a bad day at the hill office. It was good to get a shout and some banter from Muffy & Dave Calder at top of Trahenna, before beginning the final descent.

My pedestrian approach this year, combined with gels and powders, meant I did not have the slightest flinch of cramp on the run off to Broughton.  Only the nagging pain in my back, meaning I had to walk any rough bits, and run very gingerly where I could.  I passed Gregor Stewart and John Binnie who were both hobbling with cramp, before Peter Mackie caught me. I stepped off the path to let him go by, but once on the Greenmantle Dash descent, he also pulled up with cramp, allowing me to pass and then to press on and grab a couple more places on the road.

So, despite it being almost exactly 27 minutes slower then last year, I was pleased I managed to complete the route without having to drop out, and must have passed about 20 runners from Glenrath to the end, without dropping any places.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Three Shires Fell Race

Garmin track | Strava track | Results

My 8th shot at the classic Three Shires Fell Race. Everything a Lakes hill race should be. Low key. Entry on the day. Selwyn Wright commentary. Pasties and tea afterwards. In fact a more or less perfect day. Spoiled only by the 18km run over rocks and bog.

Without doubt, this was the mistiest hill race I've done. So misty it was like a scene from Hedgehog in the Fog where random runners would loom out of the murk at various random times, so you had no idea who was behind and who was ahead.

The start was a classic piece of Selwyn Wright comedy.  The runners were mingling and chatting in the road, awaiting further instructions, when suddenly and without warning Selwyn shouted "Go".  I was in the middle of showing my map to Konrad Rawlik as the stampede kicked off, so had to hurriedly stash the map, start my GPS, and chase after the pack of runners disappearing off down the road.

The comedy start did allow me to begin slower than usual, with a bit of queuing to get across the bridge, before I could start picking off runners as we hit the trail on the other side of the river. Bit by bit  I was passing all the usual suspects, including Adrian Davis and Chris Reade. Once I'd caught up Dan Duxbury I figured I was as far up the field as I should be, so decided to consolidate my position.

Once over the stile at the fell gate, Dan turned sharp left into the bracken so I followed him and Paul Knowles in their Ambleside vests. A bit higher we merged back in with the other runners.  As the slope steepened towards the summit of Wetherlam, I was caught and passed by Jane Reedy.  As we crested Wetherlam I quickly lost contact with Jane and the other runners ahead, so dawdled slightly to allow Chris Reade and Paul Neild to catch me to have somebody to chase.

This was enough to get me down to Prison Band for the rocky climb up to Swirl How.  I vaguely remember descending just behind Matt Beresford before Dave Armstrong caught me. I then tagged along behind Dave at what felt like a very pedestrian pace, but I wasn't keen to charge off into the mist and risk getting lost.  As it happens a large group caught us, passed us, and then promptly took the wrong path which forks rightwards and doesn't drop you down to the Three Shire Stone.

I had drifted off the back when I realised what had happened, cut back leftwards to hit the road, and hey presto I was now leading that group!  I scuttled along the road to pick up the path towards Pike o' Blisco, and then tried to push on to clear myself of the group behind.  I met up with Ross Litherland and Dave Nuttall for this section, and we worked well together on the climb to catch and pass a few folk, including Leigh Warburton who must have got in front when I took the detour at the road crossing.
Three Shires 2013 GPS Track
It was slightly galling at the summit of Blisco to see so many runners returning who I thought I'd been ahead of, but anyhow it was all very greasy on the rocks, and very poor visibility, so mainly a question of trying to stay upright and keep on the right bearings.  The section after Blisco is always difficult in mist, so I hesitated to allow Leigh Warburton to show the way.

I was just about keeping Leigh in my sights, although everyone else seemed to have the same idea about slip-streaming him. This meant I was fighting for path space, and getting repeatedly blocked and boxed in by slower descenders.  After the stile into the bracken, my path was once again blocked and my line chopped by the runner in front, so I decided I needed to take evasive action. Unfortunately just as I made my move, I hit a section of steep greasy rock that spat me off my feet, landing me hard on my back and then shooting me off clattering down the hill. I was winded and could hardly breathe when I stood up, but pottered on down not wishing to fall again, only once again finding I was boxed in again by the same runner.  I couldn't afford to fall again, so got round more tentatively and then headed off trying to catch Leigh and Ross.

All the group pretty much came together again on the climb up Lingmoor. I scrambled for my gel and Lucozade to hopefully to get a boost for the final climb.  I hadn't been running hard, so had expected to have a bit more oomph for Lingmoor but the pain in my back from the fall was making it difficult to breathe.  Anyhow, I pushed on enough to make sure Leigh was out of sight.

At the top of Lingmoor I couldn't see anyone behind, so thought I might have a clear run down to the finish, but not so.  I dithered around on the descent, not 100% sure I was taking the right paths given there was nobody around and no markings. But then suddenly I had Jane Reedy, Dave Armstrong, Chris Reade, Leigh Warburton and a few others all barreling down on me.  The pain in my ribs across my back was too uncomfortable to push the jarring descent, so I let the whole lot go past.

Once we hit the level track I injected some pace to fly past Leigh, and set me sights on catching Jane Reedy before the finish. She was probably 200 metres ahead with 1km remaining, so it was an almost but not quite impossible task. I aimed to run at my best 800m pace, to see if this would close the gap.  The gap was coming down, but nowhere near fast enough. When I hit the road with 200 metres to go, the gap was still not really catchable, but with a short burst of sub-30min 10k pace, I edged past just as we turned into the field.

It felt rather unchivalrous to nip past just before the line, but it was really just an experiment in pace management, and gave me something to think about for the final kilometre. My time was 2:29:55, which is more than 6 minutes slower than I've ever run before, but I was quite pleased to get round, and felt strong at the end of what was my longest run of the year timewise.
Three Shires Race Times

Wednesday 31 July 2013

Kilmaurs Gala 5k

Activity on Garmin Connect

After running this race last year, I thought I'd give it another shot and perhaps run a bit faster.

Race Route
After the low-key phlegmatic race brief from Dave Mitchell, we were quickly underway and I decided to get up to speed as soon as possible, so found myself on David Phee's shoulder for the first lap of the track before Robert Gilroy and another guy overtook.  I then held onto 4th place for a short while before various Kilmarnock and Ayr runners started passing.  After 2km I was holding position again, until Kara Tait caught me at more or less the same place as last year.  We then traded places several times before I made my move with about 800 metres to go as we turned onto Mill Avenue.  I just managed to hold on for the lap of the track and finished in 17:40, which was about 8 seconds quicker than last year.

About 400 metres to go

Saturday 22 June 2013

Largo Law Hill Race

Results | Garmin track

Having done a new Parkrun in the morning at Tollcross, I thought I might as well do a new hill race in the afternoon, so drove over to Fife and got lost for a while trying to find the Crusoe Hotel in Lower Largo.

It was a completely different scene to the grim grey Glasgow rain in the morning. Bright sunshine, blue skys and dazzling light sparkling off the harbour. I was a bit spaced out after the Parkrun and the drive.

The race started up a fairly steep road, before turning through a bottleneck gate into a glade leading into an interesting wooded valley with a couple of stream crossings.

It took the precaution of starting fairly fast, so was in 4th place at the gate and running through the woods for the first 3km or so. I could hear panting noises close behind, unless they were some sort of strange echo. Eventually after a road crossing there were several kissing gates in close succession, at which point I realised Graham Nash of Carnethy was right behind me.

Graham got past just before the 2nd road crossing, at which point I realised Jonny Knox was right behind me, given the shouts he was getting. I resigned myself to getting caught by Jonny just before the really steep hill proper.

Once flogging up the steep hill I looked back and saw Charlotte Morgan approaching at a rate of knots. I almost held her off until the twin summits, and assumed she would totally drop me on the descent, but the gap never really changed much, so I thought I would probably catch her on the 4km run back.

I made a reasonable effort, and kept the gap down to about 20 seconds, but never really closed her down, so Charlotte finished 6th in a new women's record of about 50:32, and I was 7th in 50:54. Kyle Greig won the race in a new record time of 43-something.
Largo Law
Largo Law Race Route

Tollcross Parkrun #8

Results | Garmin track

It took a while to find it, but eventually I tracked down the immaculately well-kempt Tollcross Park, amidst the grim east end of Glasgow.

Luckily only about 40 runners turned up, which was about the number of people who could shelter under the tiny bandstand in the pouring rain.

I thought I might be in with a shout at a win until I saw Shaz Hakeem from Ronhill Cambuslang, who I knew had won it a couple of times before in times quicker than I could run. There was also a quite fast looking Garscube runner on the startline who I'd not seen before.

The course follows 2.5 laps of the park, meaning that you have to tackle the first kilometre 3 times, which was uphill from the start. I set off fast-ish, holding position with Shaz and the Garscube runner (Andrew Gibson) up the first hill. I tried to break away from them too soon, which back-fired, since they just went past again. I then spent the next 4km chasing Shaz at an almost catchable distance, whilst Andrew disappeared out of sight.

The course was severely undulating, so by the 3rd lap it was a struggle climbing the last hill.  I closed the gap down at the end to 3 seconds, but was never going to Shaz, so I finished 3rd in 18:23, whilst Andrew Gibson set a new course record with 17:41.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Vale of Leven 10k

Results | Garmin track

4th and final Polaroid 10k, and apart from my aberration at Dumbarton, my other times were within 14 seconds of each other with 36:57 at Helensburgh, 36:43 at Clydebank, and 36:50 today at Vale of Leven - so at least fairly consistent if not exactly back to full speed.

Photo: Gillian Scott

Thursday 30 May 2013

Dumbarton 10k

Garmin track | Strava track

Dumbarton is the 3rd race in the Polaroid series, and ought to be the quickest.  Back in 2007 I ran my 10k PB here with 34:38, but tonight my mind and body were not up to the challenge.

I'm not quite sure how, but I seem to have put on 5kg in 5 months. This must be due to lack of exercise over the winter, combined with no let up in calorific consumption.  I daresay that humpfing 5 extra kilos around must partly explain why I feel like I'm running like a sack of potatoes at the moment.

Anyway, the combination of extra weight, not much training, and running the Kilpatricks Hill Race last night meant I felt very flat tonight, and couldn't find any extra gear for the last 4km.

On a more positive note, it was a beautiful night for running, and apart from running a ridiculously slow time, I did quite enjoy being out for a bit of social exercise.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Scottish National Trail Championships

Results | Garmin Track | Strava Track

A new Scottish Athletics event consisting of 10km trail race for the women, and just over 14km for the men.

The trails would be pretty familiar to anyone who has run the various Leg 4 options of the Burdens over the years.

The weather turned out a real scorcher, by Scottish standards at least.

The women were off first at 12 noon. First back was Edel Mooney of Lothian, although Gaynor was unfortunately already back having dropped out with hamstring problems.  Ellie came in strongly in 13th place in 46:00, and Sarah Adam was not far behind in 30th place in 50:25.

I was the only Westie in the men's race, and was slightly daunted by the prospect of 15k intense trail running. I therefore once again started off slowly, thinking I might pick people off later on. I enjoyed the run and the route, albeit the mix of short tough climbs and fast runnable trails really knocked the stuffing out of me.

I had hoped/expected to run under an hour, but finished way down the field in 42nd place in 1:02:45.  I can't say I was disappointed though, since it's the toughest hour of running I've done recently.

Feeling the heat at around 7km
Ellie looking far more comfortable 

Sunday 17 March 2013

Trimpell 20M

Garmin Track | Results | Photos

Being ill almost continuously for 4 months is not the ideal preparation for running a 20-mile road race.

Trimpell 20 mile route
I tried to start as slowly as possible, but ended up in 3rd or 4th position going round the track at the start.

Race start
I probably went through the first kilometre a bit fast (3:42), before settling down to just under 4 minutes per kilometre. However during kilometre 4, my Garmin suddenly started bleeping incessantly at me in the most annoying fashion, and the screen was filled with a message saying "Lap database full". This is such a stupid feature that the Garmin 405 doesn't simply overwrite the old data.

I didn't want to lose my entire Garmin track, so I had to fiddle around with unlocking the touch bezel, then browsing to  Menu > History > Delete > Old Activities > Delete? > "Yes", which wasn't terribly easy whilst still trying to shuffle along. By the time I'd finished faffing with the Garmin, the group I'd been running with were several hundred metres ahead, and I was feeling mentally drained from the multi-tasking.

I then backed off a fair bit and pottered along pretty steadily for the next 10km. I went through 10 miles in 64 minutes, which had been my pre-race target time to achieve sub 2:10 for 20 miles. However, very soon after the 10-mile marker I got attacked with a stitch, so couldn't breath properly for a mile or so. I also started feeling very tired and worn out generally.

By 11 miles, I knew the wheels had fallen off. I got repeated stitches, a pain in my right foot, and generally couldn't breathe properly or generate any pace, both of which are quite useful when trying to run.

The second half of the race became a steady procession of runners passing me, whilst I shuffled along at little more than walking pace. I dropped 18 places from Mile 10 to Mile 19. Once I passed the 19 mile sign, I started to make a bit more effort just to get the thing over with.  I did increase the pace a fraction, but not enough to prevent dropping one more place. As we approached the Salt Ayre stadium I could hear the first lady breathing down my neck, so I tried to maintain a gap, not knowing if we would have to complete a lap of the track. I kept something back just in case, but luckily this wasn't needed.

At 18.5 miles
So the end result was 2:17:42. At the time I was simply relieved to finish. However in retrospect, it was disturbing how I dropped nearly 8 minutes in the second half, and doesn't bode well for any thoughts of marathon running.

On a more positive note, Ellie had a great run to finish as 2nd lady in a time of 2:24:36, in her first long run since London Marathon 2011.
Ellie at 18.5 miles

Sunday 10 March 2013

Loch Katrine Half Marathon

Garmin Track | Results

My first run for a couple of weeks. A low-key one off event organised by Antarctic Odyssey.

Having pre-entered a while ago, I thought I might as well turn up, even though I wasn't remotely fit enough to run a half marathon at the moment. The warm up at Trossachs Pier was bitterly cold, so it was a relief to get going at 9.30am.

My only competition, Brian McGarrity of Shettleston quickly disappeared out of sight, leaving me to plod along in 2nd place. I had a plan to run at 4min/km pace, which would scrape me in just below 1hr25m. I duly passed through 5 miles in 32 minutes, which was bang on pace, however this didn't account for the serious hills being packed into the middle third of the race, hence my next 5 miles took 35 minutes, and I was  already looking at a 1hr27m time at best.

After passing the 10 mile marker, I was into the final 5km, which meant I was catching a steady stream of the slower 10k runners. Despite having plenty of people to chase, I was feeling fairly jaded by this stage, and running into the headwind was taking its toll, so I never really managed to speed up towards the end, and just pottered in with a time of 1:28:14, which was pretty much the slowest half marathon I've run, but it was nice to get out for a run on such a scenic course.
Loch Katrine Half Marathon

Saturday 23 February 2013

Scottish National Cross Country

Garmin Track | Results

Scottish National Cross Country, Callendar Park, Falkirk
This was a bit of joke turning up to the Scottish National Cross Country off the back of no running, training or racing. I decided before starting that my only target was to complete the course at even pace, i.e. attempting to complete each of the 3 laps in close to 16 minutes.

I felt like I was running ridiculously slowly on the first lap, barely raising my heart rate, to complete the lap in 16:10.  I thought for the 2nd lap I was start trying to speed up a bit, but funnily enough the watch said 32:28, meaning I'd run 16:18 for Lap 2.  I thought for Lap 3, I would really start trying and would start passing lots of people, but when I attempted to find another gear it wasn't there, and I just carried on shuffling along at the same pace.  For the final kilometre I must have speeded up a bit to pass a few folk, but still got pipped by Bill Breckenridge and a couple of other runners in the finishing straight.
Pottering around Callendar Park
My final time was 48:50 for 220th place, so just over 4 minutes slower than I've run in the past.  My final lap, despite trying to speed up, was 16:22.  I didn't feel too disappointed afterwards, given that I had no expectations, and just wanted to get out for a run.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Kirkintilloch 12.5k

Results | Garmin Track | Photos

Before the start, I was feeling quite daunted to be running such a tough course, and felt like dropping out after about 1km.  I couldn't quite contemplate how I would last the remaining 11 and a bit kilometres at this kind of pace, but focussed on running at a steady comfortable pace, and counting down the kilometres and minutes.
Kirkintilloch 12.5km route and elevation profile
Quite early on I gave up trying to race anybody, and instead concentrated on the split times and keeping an eye on making sure I scraped in under 50 minutes. Once we got into the final couple of km, I managed to reel in Gary Mitchell, but also got jumped by a couple of runners right before the end, and couldn't find any sort of response.

On the way out
On the way back

Saturday 9 February 2013

Devil's Burdens Relay

Activity on Garmin Connect | Results

My 13th year in a row at the Devil's Burdens Relay.

For 2013, the race was being run in an anticlockwise direction, and with a new changeover location at Kinnesswood.

My route on Leg 3 had a steep opening kilometre to reach the summit of White Craigs, followed by 4km of steady downhill on tracks largely covered with snow. I was quite pleased to maintain around 3:40 per km pace for the last 3km, having done virtually no running so far this year.  I finished the Leg in an official time of 27:21, but it took a few moments to hand over the paper baton to Luke and Cameron, since I was so focused on keeping up the pace to the line, I'd completely forgotten I was in a relay and needed to hand anything over.

Devil's Burdens - Leg 3

Saturday 19 January 2013

Scottish National Indoor Track Championships


Glasgow Emirates Arena
This event covered a number of firsts for me:
  • The first time I've visited the Glasgow Emirates Arena
  • The first time I've run an event as short as 1500 metres (i.e. less than 5 minutes)
  • My first attempt at running in over 3 weeks due to ongoing sinus and chest problems
  • And my first race where 95% of athletes were less than half my age
I've also never seen so many race officials. Quite literally hundreds of them.

The protocol for reaching the startline felt quite gladitorial, with calling rooms, special individual chairs, sticky lane number for your shorts, and somebody measuring your track spike lengths. Although I think I was the only person not wearing track spikes. Anyhow, after much build up, I was on the startline in Lane 1 for heat 4 of 7. I deliberately held back on the sprint to the first bend, to avoid getting trampled, and then held back in last position for the first 3 laps or so.

I was worried that my chest was not at all happy about the sudden exertion after a horrible painful infection, antibiotics, and weeks of inactivity. After about 4 laps, I thought I ought to start making a bit of an effort, so jumped past a couple runners and was closing on another. It was all getting a bit of blur by this stage. The only thing keeping me going was the clock at the finish line indicating how much longer the suffering would last, assuming I'd finish somewhere between 4:30 and 4:45.

The laps were rattling away quickly enough but I had no sense of what pace I could sustain, with my mind a complete fog by this stage. It was a relief to hear the bell, and charge around the final lap. My predicted time was 4:44, although I had hoped to be nearer to 4:30. Given that I wasn't sure whether to turn up at all, I was pleased enough to cross the line in 4:44.62, and contrary to expectations, I didn't finish last in my heat.

Friday 11 January 2013

Review of 2012

Races during 2012

The arrival of Benjamin in January was the major event of 2012, however I still managed a few races.

Benjamin on Day 1
Benjamin on Day 2
Benjamin on Day 2
Benjamin learning survival skills
Benjamin on the beach
Benjamin at the Burrell Collection
During 2012, I ran 60 races and completed one 600km hike across the Alps.

The 60 races consisted of 25 hill races, 18 road races, 5 cross countrys, 5 trail, 5 Parkruns and 2 indoor track races.

The 600km hike was from St Gingolph on Lake Geneva to Menton on the Mediterranean Coast in July, via the GR5, GR55 and GR52, over 15 days. See

Day 14, on the GR52 in the Mercantour National Park
Road races
The longest road race was London Marathon which I pottered round in 2:59-dead, after very little training, and trying to expend as little energy as possible over the 26 miles.

I also managed 4 half marathons: Alloa (1:22), Heaven and Hell (1:27), Balloch to Clydebank (1:19) and Lancaster (1:17) , plus two 10-mile road races: Lasswade (61:43) and Millport (58:54).  I was pleased with the Lancaster Half and Millport 10-mile, which were both the quickest I'd run in 5 years.

I was also pleased and surprised to run 2 of the Polaroid 10k's (Helensburgh and Dumbarton) both in 35 minutes something.

Hill races
I managed 3 races down in the Lakes: Kentmere Horseshoe, Borrowdale and Three Shires.  Borrowdale was my longest race time-wise of the year in 3:52:50, a full 21 minutes slower than I ran in 2003, but I was still happy to jog round in under 4 hours against a super-competitive English championship field.
Borrowdale Fell Race
Towards the end of the season my hill running started picking up after recording a personal worst at Ben Nevis with 1:56:09, I started improving at Three Shires in mid-September by not trying too hard. And managed to hold off Jasmin Paris by a few seconds at the end, partly helped by Jasmin going the wrong way and taking a fall just before we hit the final track.

At Two Breweries, a week after Three Shires, I made my slowest ever start, and drank and ate more than ever before during the race. The net result being that I missed out on a PB by less than 90 seconds for my 11th year in a row at this classic journey across the Scottish Borders.

Three weeks later I ran the Pentland Skyline also for the 11th year in a row, and once again had Jasmin Paris right on my heels the whole way round. I was pleased to finish in 2:54:18, having made up about 10 places in the second half of the race.

I ran 2 Parkruns at the beginning of January just before Benjamin was born, then another one in mid August, the morning after the Tour of Clydeside Bella Belter 10k, then in September I surprised myself with a PB of 17:11, just a week after my personal worst at Ben Nevis. I put this Parkrun PB down to a week's steady training with the Baby Jogger.

Indoor Track
We had 2 unofficial Westies indoor track races at the Kelvinhall over the classic mile distance. I was interested to see if I could go sub 5-minutes.  The first attempt was the night after running a half marathon in Pollok Park, and I only managed 5:13. Two months later I was just recovering from gastroenteritis, but managed a slight improvement with 5:03.

The tail end of the year fizzled out due to illness.  I was selected to run for the Scottish Vets team at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country at Belfast in November, but had to withdraw due to gastroenteritis, and since mid-December I've had sinusitis and chest infections which have scuppered any running for the past 4 weeks.

Looking ahead
Looking further ahead, I have no specific plans for 2013, other than to feel better again at some point, and to hopefully get back to some running. I would like to try a few new races, and maybe to branch out with some slightly longer events.