Monday, 2 January 2012

Greenmantle Dash 2012

2nd race of the year and it wasn't so easy to get up this morning. We had actually thought we would go through and do the excellent Tortoise and Hare race organised by Fife AC as we have for the last 2 years but a critical mass of Porties going to the Greenmantle Dash - Tony, Michael G. and then Ruth - swung it and we felt we had to head south to Broughton. It was not without trepidation. I was injured and spectated last year and I had noted the wall jump, the step jump, the fence jump, the river crossing....Not my forte, jumping walls...and I think maybe  the memory of being injured and only able to hobble as I took pictures last year made me associate this race with injury and made me worry that I was going to sprain an ankle or something like that...

And then it was bitterly cold as we stepped out the door and along to the van. The wind had a real edge to it.

We arrived in Broughton in plenty of time (noting the deep puddles of water on the road on the way there). Ruth, Michael and Tony were already there and we tried to gird ourselves up for a good recce. I wanted a close look at the wall, the fence, the river etc. before I charged at it with a big bunch of people. Up close it was all doable. There would be no vaulting for me but I could get over quick enough. The bog beyond the river looked like it would present more of a challenge and so it did.

Ruth was a sport coming along today, hills being what she doesn't like and the race consisting of 2 short flattish bits with an exceedingly steep hill, up and down, in the middle. The red line in the elevation chart above shows that my heart had actually stopped beating until something shocked it into action about half a mile into the 2 mile race. It might have been catching sight of the hill we had to go up although truth be told I've come down it twice in the 2 Breweries and kind of knew what to expect. Despite evidence that I was clinically dead for the first wee while I did alright and was enjoying it quite early on. No real problems with the wall or the fence, just a bit slower than you might wish for. Slightly too far left in the river meant I was suddenly in up to my thighs. Oh My! A big step up onto the bank got me out of that. Then there was the amusing bog run - reeds and bogs and deep brown puddles. Fellow racers became comrades rather than competitors (in my head anyway) as we faced this madness together. Then it was over the road and into a gentle-ish uphill field which led onto the hill proper. I was glad I hadn't harassed myself too much up until now as I began to move steadily up through the field and so it was also on the steep uphill. The hill was steep enough so I was never once tempted to try to run. The wind was so icy I was slowly freezing (I was about the only person wearing a vest) and the incentive to get to the top so I could turn around and get back down out of the wind became stronger and stronger.

The downhill was by no means easy and there is a fair scattering of small but brutish boulders scattered about half-hidden in the grass. A fall could be very sore so I teetered down as fast as I dared though not as fast as many around me. A good shout from one of the marshals wearing a scotland hat gave me the impetus to get moving again once in the easier angled field and I had a fair run home. Job done! Peter and Michael were already in (of course), Michael declaring it the best short race ever. It does have a little bit of everything so I can see what he means. You get a little taste of everything a hill race could throw at you, except maybe navigating. There was never any need to navigate.

Ruth came in shortly after, looking strong and only mildly declaring that hill-running is stupid and pointless. I know what she means and I think that might be what has drawn me to it.

Then we had a long toasty time in the hall. There was pasta and sauce to get heat back into you, tea and biscuits for the drivers (me) and a big barrel of beer for the non-drivers. We were quite a while as there were some technical hitches with the results. A man came out on the stage and insisted that we sing a song - the left half of the hall singing about...I really don't know now - was it Sally the seamstress? and we had to sing about Tommy the Tailor. They were carefully crafted verses designed to make you inadvertently curse with vigour and I collapsed in laughter at the sound of Tony turning the air blue beside me.

At last it was time for the prize-giving and there were copious prizes for the kid's race - a delight to see how buoyant they were except for one little boy who developed a horror of Dick Wall and ran away when Dick tried to talk to him. After that came the adults. A few people had left so their prizes were re-distributed amongst the people there. 1st lady over 50 had gone home so her prize "trickled" down to the 1st V40 - which was me! Hurray! I shared my winning beers with my friends so as to continue the trickle down effect.  Peter might have been 3rd vet or so, for which he also received a beer. Tony got one for being Tony.

Murray Strain won, I think Mike Reid of Moorfoots placed somewhere, Charlotte Morgan was 1st lady, that's all the detail I have retained.

A special mention needs to go to Fraser aka Happy Tom who chose this as his first hill race. Fraser I hope you survived and have not been put off, its fairly full on and packs a lot into its diminutive size!

To me it was great and it was good to have the extra time to catch up with friends. Now I really need to go and have a shower. Tomorrow might be a long run or something although the weather looks pretty hectic.

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