Sunday, 9 June 2013


Photo: James Addie

It's begging to look a lot like Summer.....
Three weekends in a row. Three races. And glorious weather for each one! What's going on?
I fear, however, that our run of good luck won't continue for much longer. So make the most of it while we can.

Yesterday's sunny outing was the Traprain Law race. If anyone is unfamiliar with the Traprain Law race, it could be a pleasant four and a half mile trail race that starts and ends at East Linton Gala grounds and takes in some really nice riverside paths along by the river Tyne.
However, this pleasant four and half mile race also includes a river crossing and the treacherous climb up and down a hulking great piece of rock that dominates a large part of the East Lothian skyline. This turns it into a "taxing" hill run that is just over six miles.

But, as it's almost on our doorstep it would be daft not to do it.

Got down and registered and had a little time to go for the obligatory warm up and toilet stop before the race. As well as having some time to chat to a few other runners and hook up with the fairly sizable Dunbar contingent.

A brief word from the starter (the river crossing was back in this year - cheers all round) and the record entry field was off....

The first bit of road, from the park down to the main street, is quite a nice downhill and there is always the temptation to go bombing off too quick.
As we were just going along the main road I heard a spectator shout "Go on Dunbar!".
I turned to look .... "oh. It's young Graeme Jones" my brain told me. Then, just as I turned, eyes-front, to get on with racing, my brain realised what I'd seen... he had a baby strapped to his chest!
If you are familiar with the work of the great James Finlayson (The "Pa Broon" lookalike actor from the Laurel and Hardy films), then you will know what I mean when I say I did a "double take" that threw me briefly off stride. "Jeeze - he kept that quiet"!!

The river crossing, this year, was relatively easy, with the water at no worse than knee depth.
The climb up the Law though - oh dear me. A rope is tied to the fence line so that runners can, if they wish, use it to pull themselves up. I do, and it still doesn't make it any easier.
Photo: Bob Marshall

But where I really lose time, and places, is on the descent. Jeeze - they were forming an orderly queue to get past me. I think I must have lost about four or five places on the way down.
Luckily though, once back onto the road I managed to reel a few of them back in.
On the way back, along by the river, I got into the middle of a wee "train" of three runners - a Bog Trotter in front, me in the middle and a Carnethy runner at the back. We ended up, pretty much for a mile or so, going at the pace of the Trotter, for no other reason than there were no passing opportunities.
However, just before the A1 bridge a gap opened up and I passed him.
I was interested to see the picture of this wee group on Mary Hunter's blog - a very strange picture indeed. The way the light has caught my head my hair doesn't look as bountiful and dark as it usually does (note to self: start wearing a cap for races again).

Finished in 45:04. Not my best time at this race, but I'm pleased enough with that.

Nice after the race to hang about and chat with folk and have a welcome ice cream. Chatted for some time with Pete Buchanan about the various pros and cons of hill running v's road running etc.
As we were chatting, news started to filter back to the finish line that a runner had collapsed on the way back, somewhere on the riverside path.
A few other runners had stopped to offer assistance - as did Mary. And, when he got to the incident, Neil Jones was able to assist too. From what I heard it sounds like a case of heat stroke/over exertion. Quite scary for those involved though.

The prize giving was a nice informal "open air" event (last couple of years it's been in the tea tent while the rain battered down). Pete B won 1st supervet, Rhona was first lady vet, while Anne managed to time her return from the tea tent at just the moment she got called up as first lady supervet.
Me? I got chuff all... except wet shoes, lungs full of fresh air, a bit of a top-up for my tan and the joy of being a forty-odd year old man with an excuse to be "out playing" for a wee while.

Oh - and Graeme Jones turned up at the end. He'd been looking after his niece.

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