New Hill Race on the block at Selkirk - the Philiphaugh Hill race. First run last year as a 4 mile race to raise money for the Selkirk Play Park Project, it was run again this year with a 4 or 7 mile option. There was a crowd of people at registration when we arrived and we quickly let go of our hopes that this might be pot-hunter's paradise! Shortly after we arrived we bumped into Graham Henry and Kathy Henly, also flying the Porty flag.
The race started not far from the Selkirk Rugby Club - up a stony road - and up, and up, and up, and along and up until we finally topped out at the iconic (I've been using that word a lot lately, but they really are iconic) Three Brethren.
On the way up the road I passed a few people, including Kathy. This always cheers me up immensely. There were plenty of uphills in the Tour of Fife and I think that stood me in good stead today. The last pull up to the three brethren was made hellish by a plague of big flappy black flies, which can't have had the capacity to sting or I would be stung - but I didn't know that at the time. I swatted and swore and tried to keep my head down so they wouldn't get in my mouth.
It was a double relief then to get to the top and set off down hill at a quicker pace and out-distance the flies.
The downhill was about as good as it gets for me. Not too steep down and on peat which makes a soft and reassuringly grippy landing. I was over-taken by a few bods but not many and then regained places on the next up.
After a while running some ups and downs I had forgotten about the people behind me and felt I was running on my own. Once we got back down to the tree line the route took a number of twists and turns. I've forgotten the sequence now. It included a run though ferns beside a wall, some newly logged forestry ground, a run across a field and into another field and then into a path through the forest. By now I couldn't see anyone ahead or hear anyone behind. "Maybe I can stop anyone else getting past" I thought to myself as I finally came out on the stony road back down to the finish. Right on cue I heard feet behind me and a muscly looking bloke blew by. Oh well. I tried going faster but it wasn't working...then some more footsteps...and it was Kathy going by determinedly. "Oh its you, you bugger" I greeted her, but she was moving well and had soon shot off into the distance. Enough already - no more I thought, and I think maybe one other guy got past me til I got over the line and finished.
There was a good spread of cakes (£1 for a plate of 5) and coffee and tea for 50p a cup. Peter had most of the money and I only had a £1 so I had a cup of coffee - and Kathy pointed out that as we had Mars Bars from finishing the race we didn't need a plate of 5 cakes! I could see her cruel logic and contented myself. (Sigh).
Afterwards we were quick to take up the offer of a visit to Graham's house as we'd heard how nice he's making it. He is indeed making a good job of it and its just at the good stage when you can see the plaster which is better than once you have to make a decision about how its finally going to be. We took our wallpaper off when we first moved into this flat and lived with it like that for about 3 years because in a way we preferred it like that - full of potential and possibilities.
It was a sunny afternoon, with only the odd light shower of rain and we sat up the back and chatted and Graham made us a pot of tea and pizza and salad and coleslaw. Superb day out and really enjoyed running again. I tried to garner some advice about what to do now that my ability to run long is broken. But people looked at me like that isn't a real problem. I'm tempted to go out tomorrow and try a longy to see if I really can't run long anymore. Maybe a couple of good night's sleep will have made a difference. I'm on paid annual leave this week for the first time in over a year and I'm loving it.