A few of us from the club set off this morning to join HELP for their annual "Goat's Gallop" run.
A multi terrain romp that starts and ends at Longyester that takes in the climb up Lammer Law then sees you drop down to Hopes Reservoir before heading back on fast, quiet country roads.
Got up fairly early so that we could have a relaxed breakfast before the race and it was when I went through to the kitchen to wash the dishes that I noticed it had started to rain ... a lot!
However, by the time we got ready to leave the house and went to meet Ian, it had cleared up quite a bit.
But as luck would have it the only sign of good weather we saw on the way to the start was in the rear view mirror, and the view in front of us was become increasingly bleak...
When we got to the start at the cottages at Longyester we were probably the first there and started to wonder if it would be cancelled in these conditions (I've since been assured by a few HELP stalwarts that it's never cancelled).
Anyway, before long there was quite a crowd of HELP Musselburgh and Dunbar runners. All milling about in various degrees of eagerness that ranged from "I just want to start now" through to "f*** this for a laugh".
The rain was battering down right into our faces and the wind was simply displaying it's contempt for the inadequacy of my HellyHansen top and jacket.
Gordon Eadie wasn't really helping either by confidently predicting "there'll be snow on the hill"...
The start was a "staggered" affair and I found myself off at the back, along with Ian, Brian Marshall, Eddie Balfour and Callum Reid.
The start of this race is usually a fairly pleasant affair with the first mile or so spent in the running equivalent of a cycle race's "neutral roll out". Where everyone just plods along together, getting into their stride before the race proper begins.
Not today. Oh no..
After about the first 200m it was obvious that Callum had a plan.... get to the front as quick as possible and stay there. Brian Marshall reacted and was soon hot on his heels. The three of us obviously felt obliged to play along (even although there was no way we were going to catch them) and within the first half mile I was pechin' like an old horse and felt I was really working. Not an ideal situation when I still had the climb up Lammer Law to come.
Just before the first mile. Soaked and freezing already we passed Ray Harris who cheerily told me that "it's sunny in Innerwick". Cheers Ray.
The climb came sooner than expected and I must say wasn't quite as bad as I remembered. Thing is, I had the head down against the wind and driving rain, so I don't quite know when it happened.... but suddenly Mr Eadie was proved correct and I found that we were trudging through slush and icy, muddy, bogs.
Eddie passed me just before the turn at the top of the Law and I thought I was doing a fairly good job of catching him up. Then we came to my least favourite part of this run. The bloody drop down to the valley that leads along to the reservoir. I looked down and saw that Eddie was already at the bottom. Jeeze - he must have jumped down in about three steps.
I on the other had adopted my usual manly, limp wristed, hands out to the sides approach while I skippity hopped my way down.
By the time I got to the bottom he was nowhere to be seen.
From there its about three miles of just steady down hill (mostly on well defined tracks or roads). So I knuckled down and tried to catch him up. Sadly, despite catching up some of the early starters I never managed it.
Finished in 1:00:54. Slower than last year but not too bad given the conditions.
Couldn't get out of my wet gear quick enough when I got back. Soaked through to the skin and absolutely frozen to the bone. Great fun!! I loved it.
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