I've often joked to people when we're discussing a race route that it doesn't really bother me as "I'm not going to be in front anyway".
Well bugger me. I was today - for a bit anyway....
Went down to Peebles for the Beltane 10k, hosted by Moorfoot Runners. This year they have changed the course of the race and changed it into a "trail" race, and I think that's what clinched it for me in the "I-want-to-do-that-one" stakes. Can't say I've done that many trail races before. To be honest it's basically like a cross country - only run in better weather!
Got down there in loads of time, registered and went for a bit of a warm up run with Mr Sills. I'd brought my trail shoes with me, but decided that as it was so dry and firm underfoot I could probably just get away with the trainers.
The race started at Kerfield park and went round the park on and a bit times, before heading out and along by the Tweed, into Haylodge, then basically following the route used for the Borders cross country series.
Quite a quick start in the park, but for some reason I found myself up in about the top three, alongside a Gala Harrier and Mr Sills. And then we came out of the park and started running along the side of the Tweed and we somehow went "off script" - I found myself in front! So unused to this strange state of affairs was I, that I dam near stopped to ask if the guys behind were taking the piss.
However, I just decided to keep the head down and get on with it. after about 2k we got into Haylodge Park and my lead hadn't exactly vanished, but I was in a little group of three (me, Ian and Stevie Cairns of HBT).
Through the narrow wooded paths along by the banks of the river until the 5k mark at the turn for the viaduct. And then it happened.... at the 5k marker Mr Cairns looked at his watch, decided the tempo was not to his usual standard, and just took off. Within about 30 seconds he was out of sight. I don't know about Ian, but any dream I ever had of winning just flew out the window.
Still, me and Mr Sills were still 2nd and 3rd "on the road" and just kept up our own pace.
We managed to stick pretty much together through the woods, up a fairly awful hill and back along the pathway towards the bridge that takes you back over the river and into Kerfield Park.
I had a feeling Ian would have a stronger finish than me today, but I didn't really know how far back the 4th runner was and was more interested in working together and running for 2nd and 3rd.
And that is pretty much how it worked out. By the time we came into the park for the final lap before the finish Ian had started to pull away. I risked a look over my shoulder and realised that I had enough on the 4th runner anyway to get 3rd.
38:41 - a few minutes slower than my recent 10k's, but still happy with that given the terrain.
Mr Cairns? Well. I believe he jogged in at 36:01- 2:40 quicker over 5k!
Nice cakes and scones afterwards in the cricket pavillion. The weather was so nice everyone was quite happy just to sit about waiting for the prize giving.
A nice little "paper weight" trophy and a voucher followed by an added bonus. Brians run was enough to give us the team prize as well. So another little paper weight and a bottle of wine. Wine. How come I never won any booze when I did drink? Maybe that's one of those questions that sort of answers itself :-)
A nice race and a nice venue. It's always difficult when a club changes a race route, for whatever reason, but this new route offers something a little different. Your unlikely to get a PB on it, but who cares. A good race that should grow in popularity.