Thursday, 17 May 2012

Moorfoots at Ben Lomond 2012

Ben Lomond was the race of choice this year for my annual wearing of the Moorfoot’s vest. Julia Connor was also there representing the club, as was Lucas Cheskin in the junior race and other local Peebles runners, Chris Blackwood and Kevin Ryalls. Good choice of race too, as it was about the only dry, sunny day in the past few weeks and the views down Loch Lomond are some of the best I’ve seen from a munro top. The race starts at the Rowardennan Hotel and is soon on to the climb with a few rocky outcrops to negotiate, although I was already in a line of runners walking much of this section. The path soon opens out and becomes runnable for 20 minutes or so, then the killer climb starts when they send you off the walkers path on to a steep, boggy, slope. This is where I lost sight of Chris and I started losing quite a few places. After a good 20 minutes slog (walking), you crest the first hill and you’re soon back on the walker’s path. With the bright sunshine, lots of walker’s were out and many shouted words of encouragement which helped keep you running. About 50 minutes in and just below the 2nd steeper climb the leaders started hurtling past me on their way down from the top! The rocky, switchback climbs in the final steep bit were surprisingly not too tough and with the help of a strong wind behind, I kept vaguely running for most of this. The last few hundred metres it was pretty cold, with snow and slush around my feet melting rapidly. Chris passed me on his way down, but I never spotted Julia, who must have already been on the steep, grassy descent they send you down to avoid too much overlap. I got to the top in just under 75 minutes, spent a couple of seconds admiring the glorious views (must knock those seconds off my finish time) and then started off on the descent, with Kevin just behind me. You’re soon sent off down a rather challenging side of the hill, where I started to pick off a few of the people who had passed me on the climbs. Then, once back on the path, it felt like I could actually start running properly and I passed quite a few more on the descent. Unlike other runners around me, I managed to stay on my feet the whole way down and didn’t collide into any walkers, who maybe through self-preservation, all made great efforts to stay well out of our way. I descended in about 35 minutes, a happy man coming over the line in 1:49:33 (112th out of 143 finishers). Chris & Julia were both there waiting for me in their Moorfoot’s vests, Julia ran a fantastic race to be third lady home (1:37:36) and Chris an impressive 1:45:55, given his injury-restricted training. Kevin also made it in under two hours (1:59:05), so we were a happy bunch, just pleased that we could all still walk after the race. Soup and bread, provided in the hotel after the race, topped the great organisation of the day, followed by a soak in the loch and a pint on our return back in Peebles. All in all highly recommend!

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