On the 31st of March at 08.00hrs I finished my last shift for Scottish Power. It was a miserable, wet Friday morning and was retiring at the grand age of 45.
Weary and tired after the last nightshift, I went home to bed to contemplate the rest of my life.
What does one do to fill all day every day? Well the answer to at least part of this question was obvious (to a hillrunner anyway), train hard, become superfit, beat John Stephenson occasionally, and, in so doing finish the season first in the Ochil club championship, as an aside run a few races from the hillrunning calendar with a few top ten positions, (well maybe top twenty). It was all so easy. Little did I know how a few races became an all consuming passion to do everything vaguely hilly that came along.
It all started that Saturday morning after a good nights sleep it was off to Inverness and the Dunain race. Weather was terrible, heavy rain and strong winds never letting up. Had no idea where this race started from so parked in the town to consult the tourist info. office who had no idea but luckily met Roger Boswell at the bus station (it's too long a story to describe here how I ended there) who steered me in approximately the right direction, but even then the lady in the filling station practically next door to the sports field had never heard of Queens park, however I digress, suffice to say there was little of the three hours I arrived early, left for registration and warming up, warming up was a laugh, it was freezing.
It was a grand wee race with a gentle level start along the canal, as we climbed the trees kept off the worst of the rain and snow at the top. I didn't expect great things from this run as I was just getting over the flu from the week before, (didn't get them either with an average midfield position), still there's always the next one. Left fairly sharp after finishing because snow at Drumocter Pass was worrying me, but it was clear, as it turned out.
The next one was Screel which I had done once before, the funny thing was, running it a second time I remembered so little of the route, no excuses to-day, the flu is long gone, which made the mediocre mid field position rather disappointing especially over the last seven days I had embarked on extremely serious, concentrated training which would put an olympic athlete to shame (perhaps not but you get the idea), that result can be shrugged off, there was after all the remaining spring and all summer to come..
Another week of training, harder even, than a normal Carnethy week, and I was ready for Clachnaben, a British championship race, it was a huge field with lots of new faces from foreign lands like England.
The race set off at a furious pace and I could only trot along in despair, as hundreds of runners slowly stretched out in front. When the lead runners were approaching the summit of Clachnaben, I was miles behind, and, as I approached Clachnaben summit, the leaders were over Black Hill.
At that moment a realisation swept over me, ------in the first ten, top Ochil of the year, dream on sunshine, who did I think I was "Ronnie Gallacher" The stark reality that came there and then was, it had been a dream, and no matter how much training and effort was put in, it was always going to be mid field positions, never attaining the dizzy heights of Des Crowe , Alan Smith and the like.
There I was on the hillside with dreams shattered, was this form of running to become just "sweat on the way up, slide on the way down and profound thoughts throughought", of course not, though the answer was not obvious at that time.
Quality was a dream, let's get down to reality. I have always been fairly injury free and had plenty of time, so lets go for quantity, run as many races on the calendar as possible, a much more achievable ambition, and demanding in its own way. So, with new objectives it was off to Normans' Law a week later. Sunny day, a lovely little race, a good route off and an average midfield finish.
Whangie Whizz, well what a contrast in the weather, it was just chucking it down and the gale force wind made competitors and marshalls heros.
Stuc A Chroin, Dumyat, Ben Lomond, Kinnoull, Goatfell and Kaim all came next, then Ardoch Rig, this one is memorable because Ochil was the first team of which I was the third member, thank you Ewan and John St. for your assistance in my only prize of the season, a can of beer.
26th May was Aberfoyle, the midgies were so bad about eight of us were obtaining a little relief by hanging about down at the road in the last of the sun, the conversation went something like this "I'm doing this race so that I have at least something to put down on my Ben Nevis application later in the year," "Just do what everyone else does and lie" "Humph from the back of the group, you better not lie I'm on the selection committee and shall watch out for you're application",
.[all involved will remain anonymous.]
After a quiet chuckle at that exchange, Des called us to the start line, made on the landrover track by drawing his walshes across a couple of times. At this stage all competitors were fired-up, we came under orders, adrenalin pumping and hearts racing:- READY, STEADY------STOP,STOP, STOP. Des had obviously grave concerns about something, we eagerly awaited his explanation from our plateau of readiness.
What was it?,
turns out, some unscrupulous competitor was seeking an unfair advantage and actually had their foot on the start line, not behind, great observation Des, no-one could have foretold how such an advantage gained in the early stages may have manifest itself as the race unfolded, first class marshalling.
Next day was Culter Fell, boy were my legs heavy up the first two ascents, then, they slowly freed off and actually finished strongly, what a shame the race wasn't longer. Jura was the same day but had I gone there would have sacrificed three races for the sake of one, maybe in 2001.
Sunday saw me winding North to Banchory and Scolty, arriving early and eventually finding the start in the middle of a horse jumping event, as the start time drew near, about seven runners had arrived, no sign of officials always starts that creeping suspicion that all is not well, especially when the horse riding lady said "In previous years we have always known about the race and adjusted our jumping to accommodate the runners, we know nothing about a race this year". The start time came and passed, no race to-day, most of the other runners left to do Clachnaben, my legs were weary after the last couple of days so I declined the invitation and had a solo run up Scolty, at least I came first.
A week later I was back doing Scolty for real, then a short break in the calendar, filled by a couple of club runs, next 5th June, Monday, Knockhill, not on the calendar, this was really a road/track race with a path thrown in, I finished this race with a minor ache on the front part of my right heel, nothing to worry about, should have worn road shoes instead of walshes. Wed. was Kilpatrics where I knew this was my day for beating John Donnelly, and so it was, until 2/3 of the way round, well maybe one day John. Three things of note in this race, I had held the vets record here, (how I don't know), but to-day lost it, well done Ewan, at least it stays with the Ochils, second, Murdo Macleod and I end up together at some stage on most races, Murdo then disappears into the distance, not to-day. Lastly the slightly sore heel from two days ago was now an extremely sore heel after the tarmacadam road finish. Thurs & Fri were painful and I made modifications to the insole of an old pair of shoes to relieve the pressure on the heel. Sat. saw me at Glenshee, Glas Tulaichean, my philosophy being that an uphill only race would put no pressure on the heel, and so it proved, it was a lovely day and after a familiar tussel with Charlie Love and Stewart Barrie, who, being the gentleman I am, graciously let them both finish just in front, spent ten minutes enjoying the view, an uncommon luxury in a hillrace, then a gentle, heel protecting trot back to the start. On the descent I disturbed an old grouse (from Westies), only joking, she had three chicks and put on a magnificent injured display to lead me away, I assured her I meant no harm and left her to her family. Sun. was Yetholm, I hate these championship races, they attract so many good runners. Setting off again saw hundreds of runners streaming out ahead, by midway it was Charlie, Stewart and myself once again, and once again I was the gentleman and my excuse was that I had a heel to protect on the downhill.
As things turned out that was the worst the heel was to get, slowly over the next six weeks it improved although I ran with a very good heelpad purchased from Boots well into September, just in case. It was only while running the xmas handicap race at Fort William that in discussion with Leen Volwerk he advised me someone he knew well had suffered for years with the same thing and the technical name was Plantar Fasciitis.
Wed, three days later and Ben Sheann, then Fri to Kinghorn and the Black Rock Five, an interesting race along the beach and round a rock knee deep in water with a piper standing on top, then Sat, giving Mull 2000 a miss it was off to Glen Rosa, oh how wonderful it would be to do this race on a nice hot sunny day. I'll only say three things about this race, first, that last 5000ft pull up onto Goat Fell seems to go on forever, second, much prefer the new start/finish, and third, I wore an almost new pair of walshes which were a wee bit on the tight side, this bruised the big toenail on my right foot eventually losing the nail three months later. Last year '99 Ochils won a few prizes here so it was felt better to defend these rather than do Mull, Sun was the Borders Police race at Stow. Now this was a lovely gentle race mostly on grass, little heather and no bracken, just the odd ford to keep the feet cool, all the ascents were easy and descents a good flat out run, after the last few days I could hardly walk up the ascents let alone run, and my bruised toe was giving me a great deal of pain on the descents,I'll definitely be back here next year ache and painless (I hope).
Next came Eildon 2 on Sat, Falkland Hill Sun, Cort-ma Law Wed, White tops Fri, Dollar Sat and Durisdeer Sun. My friend Rory who is 9 and very competive chummed me to Falkland to watch and cheer but when he found he could run, there was no holding him back, literally. He did well but then took him two hours before he could speak to anyone, and it was the next day before he was back to his typical "Oor Willie" type self. His father was not pleased, I'll say no more on the matter. I solved the problem of the painful toe here by running in an old pair of walshes with the toes worn out, oh how wonderful to run without pain again.
Dollar gets a mention because it's an "Ochil" run event and as such the second best organised race on the calendar. Half way round this race I developed an ichy bit on my back below by bumbag, by the end of the race I was scratching all over, to this day I don't know if it was a heat rash an allergy or what but after a shower at Dollar and a shower at home it went almost as quickly as it arrived.
Thank goodness Durisdeer is back on the list, one of the few races I actually look forward to, the new route is better too, going over the first hill again at the end and missing the road completely. On top of the second last hill I was unsure of the best and new route to the last, so asked the Marshall, "just follow Dougie over there" she said, Dougie at this stage was the ant-like creature about five miles away, ha ha , no chance, must have thought I was John Gallacher. The funny thing was when we left the start and ascended the first hill guess who was last, it was so difficult to get the legs going, as the race unfolded so I became easier and easier and was actually catching Dougie in the last stages, isn't it a funny thing, running. On wed, Blackhill, a busy little race for midweek, finished 26 out of 60, again about midway, it never seems to matter the size of the field, eg Durisdeer 7 from 14.
Sat. saw the mammoth journey to Glamaig, Skye, leaving before 7 and being an objector to Skye bridge tolls, turned off at Shiel Bridge taking the small ferry which still runs at the south end of the island but what a wee twisty road leads one back to the hustle and bustle of Skye's main drag, it'll have to be the bridge back. The race itself, I hope never to do this one again, if I do I won't be descending down the scree which was terrifying especially when four of us ended up descending together setting in slow motion about forty tons of stone, no thanks. Best also to do this one with toes in the shoes, I think half the rubble on Skye ended up inside. Sun it was off to Urie Loch, now the year before it was wrong on the calendar, a week too early, and caught me out, so this year I checked with the tourist info. dept and sure enough it was wrong this year also, but a week later put it in the middle of the big Fort William weekend, so I went on the day stated on the calendar and ran the race up to the loch, then round the trig point also, just for good measure, I arrived back the victor, it was another first.
Tues and it was off to Focabers by way of Aberdeen (visiting relatives) for Whiteash. Arrived in the square an hour and a half early, as time progressed no sign of anyone, walked down then up the street and found the library open, the lady there advised me the gala night was next week but the race organiser was probably in the Red Lion, No he's not here, try The Grant, no not here try the Red Lion, just come from there, oh! Blank expressions all round, back to the library where the lady directed me to his house, one of those humerous stickers on the door said "just because I'm not in doesn't necessarily mean I'm in the pub", I never yet met this gentleman but I have a sneaking suspicion he partakes in the occasional refreshment. About seven of us turned up and thanks Peter, Kate and Julie for the unofficial run. Back in a weeks time for the real race.
The three Fort William races came next and I'll hasten to add the fact I gave Ronnie a lift back to Crianlarich after Cow hill had no influence whatsoever on obtaining my reward.
The next day it was off again to Fochabers via Aberdeen once again. The run along the top coast here is lovely. At least this time people were setting up stalls, on approaching the organiser, excuse me, where does the hillrace start from, sorry son due to work commitments the man responsible was unable to organise a race this year, what can one say, two round trips of 231 miles each, mumble mumble mumble.
Next day was Maddy moss, the best organised (Ochils of course) on the calendar, and a complete contrast in distance to travel, this one is right outside my back door.
Ben Rinnes then Berwick Law, one great long, one wee and short. I do enjoy Ben Rinnes, about three years ago I almost caught Alan Smith here until he saw me behind and dug deep, all the people at the finish of these Highland games events make them special, of all the types of races these are the best, keep this one going Graeme. Berwick Law had a lot of road runners, its so ego boosting overtaking them on the steeper descents.
A couple of days later, with Rory as companion, it was off to Skye for the Portree highland games, what a journey, what a drive, about ten and a half hours, no problems with the bridge tolls though, thanks Debbie for your bridge passes. Whereas Glamaig was the least enjoyable, Portree was the most memorable, although it's a long way to go and the race itself is short, it has an atmosphere, a buzz. Rory was dead keen to run but bribing him with a fiver kept him happy, short term. The games field is in a natural amphitheatre and what with the heavyweight gorillas, the pipers doing their thing here, there and everywhere, the journey (round trip 459 miles) was soon forgotten, the mood was set, let the race commence.
There were about twentyfive runners, four French an Italian and an Australian and who knows what else. We were called to the start amidst piping laments and caber tossing, the race organiser then proceeded to give an extremely lengthy discourse about weather conditions, sea states and tidal flows and police presence, wow, this was serious stuff. Above the background noise and after he had re-emphasised all the important points I had just about got the jist, though what the foreigners made of it, well, clear as mud springs to mind. The tide was in, with fairly large waves, therefore running round the bay foreshore was out of the question, for reasons of safety the police would be diverting us along the road as we left the games field, no probs. The race started, Rory was there to cheer me along, we ran down through the milling crowds and out onto the road, at this stage I was about 15th and saw the lead 3 runners heading off along the road, then a bizarre thing happened, the next runner disappeared, the rest of the field slowed then followed him through a small builders store then a six foot drop into a graveyard, either he's completely lost or local knowledge paying dividends, everyone else was following, even the leaders retraced their steps, so it was out of the graveyard (by the gates) round a small housing estate then to the shore, the very place we were to avoid, aw well, in for a penny, we launched ourselves into the thigh deep cold water, this chilled the muscles and made running hard, then further along the shore was a small inlet, here it was up to the armpits and it was cold, made the black rock five seem like a walk in the park. Further round we left the shore up through the garden of what I will best describe as an oldfolks home, up across the BP forecourt, cross the main road to a hotel driveway, up there and round the back of the outbuildings and up the side of a very small electric fence, there were little pigs snorting and grunting, running up on the other side of the fence, (no it wasn't HBT out for a club run), then through the wet bracken and onto the hill, not much of a pull from here to the marshalls then back down and straight into and over the electric fence hidden in the bracken, I touched it coming back over too, it was shocking, still going retracing ones steps to the foreshore, chest high then thigh high sea water then the housing scheme where the chap in front turned the wrong way,
. cemetry next and the six foot drop now seemed like a ten foot climb out, then into the games park and Rory joined me as we entered the arena and ran the finish together, the commentator was impressed, eighth place, not bad, not so much a race as an adventure, I'll be back next year.
Largo Law followed by Glen Clova, we're starting to get into the bigger stuff now, and a week later Aberfeldy agricultural show and the associated Weem hillrace, here I met up with Sandy Bennet and Lynne. Aberfeldy has a special significance for this was where I spent six years at secondary school. Sandy was here for the hillrace also, but while I was away warming up, they ran the mile race in which Sandy had a go. His time was a very credible three minutes twenty five seconds but was slightly disappointed being ten seconds or so down on the previous year, he was, unfortunately, unable to represent GB in the mile at the olympic games due to other commitments, here's wishing you and Lynne all the best, and anyone wishing to credit themselves with a sub four minute mile, might I suggest the special Aberfeldy mile next year, (it could be something to do with the local water though it never had that effect when I was at school).
Next day was the Broad Law Scottish selection race, what a wet miserable day. This was serious stuff, the mens race 23 of the best runners in Scotland and me. My thoughts here, were, I would be so far behind all the others everyone would have packed up and gone home by the time I finished. It was a torturous route through the forest then onto the hill, there was an old friend Debbie with water which tasted great and the words of encouragement like "not far now" but seemed to go on forever up through the mist. Eventually the top was reached, there were so many people here, it turned out that although our race was the longest, because of the route through the forest we were actually not that far from the start and all the other categories also finished here, add to that the rain stopped, clouds cleared, it was almost like a picnic. Well done to Alan Milligan who won our race.
There is one thing which makes Caerketton three days later stand out, I had trotted almost to the fence to watch the junior race with four or five enthusiastic parents, off they set and eventually they all passes except for one poor chap about eight, the body language was saying everything except pleasure, his mum, standing with us, went to him, had a word in his ear and off he went with such vigour and enthusiasm, wow! she must really have used some powerful words there, I was and intrigued and asked.
"No I didn't threaten him" she advised, "just promised a set of Pokemon cards if he finished", Will someone please offer me a pack to beat Charlie just once this year.
Saturday saw me at Kinloch Rannoch highland games and Craig Varr hillrace. Of all the races this one means the most. I first ran this hill over thirty years ago and apart from the odd year have been running it ever since. I don't think its any exaggeration to say this hill is in my blood. From primary one right through to primary six, (when the school moved to a new building), the lower slopes of Craig Varr were our playground, occasionally on a good summers day, we ran to the top after dinner. Once I dropped my jersey halfway down and had to go back, just made it before the bell and for some reason my playmates saw this as a heroic deed and carried me across the playground shoulder high, ah! the memories, however I digress, let's get back to 2000. Rannoch has always been a little known event and one, in years gone, by I had a notion of winning, unfortunately that is now unlikely, Rannoch is kind of lost in time, eg. The hundred meters is a hundred yard dash, a long leap, long jump and hop, step and leap etc, though they did recently have a "welly throwing event". The hillrace is one of those "once round the field, out the gate and your on your own, sunshine, just come back with your hand stamped with the secret code for the day which only the Marshall at the top knows". Now it's not uncommon in the past, for local knowledge (passed down generation to generation, father to son from time immemorial) to play an important roll here, and lets face it Richard Collins and I need everything going for us, and then some, these days, (but let me stress, and I'll swear on the shr calendar, that absolutely none of this goes on nowadays, ok) like the cutting of hidden paths down through the bracken, or the cutting of decoy paths to lead the unsuspecting, deep into the unknown or shifting other competitors markers just enough, or like the time Craig, Marie and I caught Richard, who has won this race many times in the past, erecting an ingenious rope device to swing him over the fence and so gain those precious few seconds. Those precious few seconds, that was a laugh this year, guess who was there, only Alan Milligan, and he had done a recce and we have a mutual friend who showed him the best routes, to say the record was broken is an understatement, more like pulverised.
Before the race started I remember standing on the start line thinking "it seems such a short time ago when we were here last year" the years are just not as long as when I was a laddie, (its not usual to have profound thoughts on the startline, it's usually when your toiling through a race). Well there we have it, Rannoch Games the pinnacle of my year, it's all downhill now, so to speak.
Next day saw The Lomonds of Fife, memorable because � of the way through, on the wee path which leads down to the road crossing, I twisted my right foot and seemed to damage tendons where they joined on the top left hand side. It caused me to limp for the next mile but slowly eased and would probably have been fine had I not hurt it again on the very steep grassy bank descent to the finish. Intensive massaging and stretching saw me ready to tackle Oban games, here, on the ascent while lying seventh, and detached from the leaders, I, and those misguided runners behind, who followed shamelessly, mistakenly left the marked route between the two tops and gained an advantage on those in front, two of whom advised us of our error, using terms and phrases I never heard when I went to Sunday school. The advantage was soon negated on the descent when I returned on the right ascending route which was in fact the wrong descending route, if you follow, and ended up 11th, nice wee run though and no further damage to the foot.
Drumnadrochit came in about here, 2/3 road (steep) with a bit of hill, a busy highland games event, quite fancied having a go at the cycling events.
A 6th place, 24 runners, race lasted 25min., round trip 328 miles. Tweedsmuir next day, 7th place, a fun day out, all credit to Dick Wall and helpers for the effort and enthusiasm they all put in.
Sat and Ben Nevis, well, at this stage it was just another race, one small incident, we were just ascending to the red burn when I was caught and asked "you ran at Drumnadrochit last week didn't you, yes, well you won the vets prize but due to a mixup they gave it to someone else, oh well! I hope he gets as much pleasure as I would.
I ran Braemar games hillrace once, up till then ladies were not allowed to register, although they joined the pack as we left the field, I heard one irate would be competitor, who could not believe such discrimination still exists, let fly at one of the senior stewards "good God man, what centuary do you live in", my theory is "it's something to do with a lady, flushed with exertion, is offensive to the royal eye", anyway, that year they received as much applause on finishing as everyone else, good for them, because it's so uplifting finishing in front of thousands of people, what a shame it coincides with The Ben every year, lets have a word with the royal person to see if Braemar can be changed, or, go even higher, ask the shra if the ben can be changed.
After that disaster struck and I caught the flu. By next Friday I was over the worst and thought I might just make Cairn William but an incident happened here at home on the hill which required an airlift from the rescue helicopter, the ascent to a good vantage point led me to realise just how weak I was, next day went up to Monymusk anyway to cheer on the runners, seemed like a nice wee race, pity, the only one in the year I wanted to do and missed.
A week later and Merrick, Morven and Invercharron all on the same day. Invercharron it was, having done the other two in previous years. Then came the fuel crisis and a revised plan, go for Morven as I have only done this one once before, found this race was officially cancelled although I did hear later that a kind of semi-official race took place among those who turned up.
So with a gallon here and a gallon there it was off to Merrick with a tankfull of petrol. Funnily enough, one of the chaps had come down from Fort William and said all the tourists had gone home and left most of the highlands with plenty. Much preferred the new descent although finding just the right route off Merrick in the mist would have been tricky, I was lucky to be with someone who knew where he was going.
The Two Breweries and Black Meldon were next on the callendar, once again, two opposites. Two Breweries a walk in the park, Black Meldon- a mountain marathon.
The Two Breweries, I start getting the nightmares of Trahenna about a month before, usually interspersed with The Pentland Skyline. The funny thing was, my legs went all rubbery coming down Trahenna, not on the way up, however at that stage there was only the three mile section to the main road and the five miles through the village to the finish, here also I damaged these tendons on the first descent, it was so painful I had visions of pulling out, luckily it eased off and only niggled me again until Cruim Leacainn.
With legs refusing to work it was almost impossible to climb at any speed, (not that I am a fast ascender at the best of times), all the same, Black Meldon the next day was a good fun run, organised once again by Dick and his crew.
Next week to Bennachie and a whole fortnight off before Manor Water, what a luxury. Now at Manor Water I had a plan, take a dog and do the associated sheepdog trials instead, unfortunately Rosie wasn't available so it had to be the race and the plan, which was, because the skyline was the next day this race will be run on the lower side of a comfortable pace, ie a snails pace all the way, saving everything for tomorrow, so off we set. Now it's not easy to run below ones comfort level but I gamely tried and was doing well, so much so that at the last ascent to the turning point, there were four of us running together, the other three pushed up the hill and I let them go, (because I had the plan), on the descent I slowly caught and passed one chap, the next was caught with only a slight increase in speed, the third stopped for a sickie, easy meat, and there in front was Murdo, but he had finally succumbed to his niggling injury and it was a lift back in the range rover for him, (hope it completely heals during your winter layoff). On the last pull before the drop to the finish I knew if I opened up a little further it would be possible to catch and pass another two and in the distance was Douggie, now that would be a scalp worth taking, opening up my stride and pushing I caught Douggie with about � mile to go but it was a bit of a hollow victory as he later revealed he was running in great pain from a leg muscle problem. So I finished this race like a railway locomotive with a full head of steam, running hard and strong, and that is just how a plan should work, ha! ha!, well anyway, tomorrow's another day, and sure enough, it was off to Edinburgh and the last of the long ones for 2000. On these long races time and time again one always seem to end up running near the same people and so it was here, in the last couple of miles I felt good, (a relative term after running for three hours), and found I was able to walk to the car instead of the usual hobble.
Meall A' Bhuchaille three weeks later then a week to Tinto.
Now anyone reading this might think I was obsessed with beating Charlie, that's not true, we have run together in so many races this year it would be nice to beat him just once, I felt it in my bones Tinto would be my day.
Off we set, about 1/3 of the way up I passed Charlie and was still there at the summit, then I started my demon descent, nobody would catch me now, pity Charlie didn't know, the inevitable happened 2/3 of the way down. All I'll say is this, put Charlie in a room with another 1000 people and I'd pick that back out at half a mile. All the best Charlie for 2001.
19/11 and it was off to Corpach for the first of Rogers races, here I was introduced to the Lochaber AC winter league, a series of nine races, I have set my sights on the "T" shirt, the prize for doing six, they are fine cheery people and have certainly made me most welcome at every event, this filled in nicely two further races, the "peat track" and the "xmas handicap", between Druim Fada and Cruim Leacainn. And that was the year.
A year of just another ordinary runner, a year in which I received the accolade of Scottish Hillrunner Of The Year, an award I am very proud to be given and would like to think of myself as representative of the many hundreds of other hillrunners in Scotland, who think one day they might, but never are, going to win anything, or rise to any great heights, but who go for all sorts of different reasons,
..the competitiveness, the buzz, the comradeship, the companionship, the shared experiences, the challenge to name a few. I am occasionally asked after a race "did you enjoy that" and I have to answer "no", but I'm glad I did it, and will probably still be doing it as long as I have legs which can run.
Finally, thank you to all the race organisers who commit so much time and effort to their events, who shoulder the responsibility and take the flack, to all the other officials, the ladies helping in the background, the marshalls, who stand out in some horrendous conditions and to the landowners, who kindly let us run over their property.
Its these who make Scottish Hill Running what it is, and, in turn gives me so much pleasure, Thank You.