�Twas the night before Twin Peaks. In dwellings the length and breadth of the Hillfoots, in Bannockburn and in Kirriemuir athletes were preparing themselves mentally and physically for the rigours of the OHR annual Christmas race. At the eastern end of the Hillfoots in a farm cottage near Muckhart we find canny club captain John Gallacher crouched in a corner of his garage concentrating fully on one repetitive motion. His right hand is moving up and down on something long and hard. As we move a little closer we see.... Yes you were right....
John is blowing up his bicycle tyres. After a full week of inactivity due to a cold John has decided to get out on his bike in a last ditch attempt to get his quads into shape for the next day. Further west.... Causewayhead to be precise.....
We find John Bowers and his young son William in the living room of their house. John is about to embark on his pre race routine. We see him stand up and then stretch forward...his hands almost touching the floor...he opens his mouth and lets out a roar...�RRRRAAARRRRGGGHHHH!� Young William, accustomed to this ritual runs around the furniture in mock horror as John pursues him in a grotesque parody of the Tasmanian Devil. A few minutes later we find them standing at the bottom of the stairs capturing their breath. �Right son twice round the garden and back in via the kitchen... RRRRAAARRRRGGGHHHH!� �But dad Gladiators is coming on `telly" laments young Bowers as he sets off in the direction of the garden. Another few minutes elapse and we find them in the kitchen. �Now son I'll show you how to run fartleks on the stairs" �But dad you said you didn't like me saying that word...anyway I need to go to the toilet now." �RRRRAAARRRRGGGHHHH!� Yet another few minutes elapse and we find them breathless at the foot of the stairs. �Good...now we'll do just one more set of reps before dinner" �But Dad...AHM BURSTIN" �RRRRAAARRRGGGHHHH!" As young master Bowers' screams disappear into the night air we move a few miles south..Bannockburn ...
( I spent a week there one night. Ed) We find Frank Kelly looking out the window of his house towards the Ochils in fear and trepidation as the moonlight picks out the outline of Wee Torry and the Nebit. A bead of sweat forms on his forehead (Fat people do sweat more-Ed) as he recalls his last Twin Peaks affray. Visions of falling down ice covered slopes and tumbling headfirst into rocks flash through his mind. Then he remembers the pain. The pain of having to sit in Stirling Royal casualty department whilst his club-mates have adjourned to the pub for beer and food. It is then that he makes the decision to abandon his normal pre-race practice of an alcohol free early night (Who are you kidding?-Ed) and seek solace in his local. Frank's local pub is a hostelry with second rate beer, Third World hygiene and a somewhat tempestuous reputation. As we rejoin him much later in the evening we find he is one of the few local worthies left to carry out the normal Saturday night vigil which by this time consists mainly of embracing one of your rediscovered long lost pals. The fact that you'll fail to even recognise this pal while sober seems to go unnoticed, as does the icy blast of wind coming in from the hole where an earlier customer was defenestrated. (Look it up in the dictionary.-Ed) While the flak-jacketed custodian of the establishment is anxiously trying to telephone the local glazier one punter is attempting to procure further refreshment. �Haw Tam geez anither pint here...F***S SAKE you'd get a drink quicker in Betty Ford's clinic" Frank has spent most of the night ensconced at on end of the bar conversing with a pal known hereabouts as Big Chammy. As a child Chammy had been so grotesque that all the local kids were frightened from him. His mother used to tie a pork chop to his neck so that at least the dog would play with him. The years have not been kind to him. Chammy is now a man of gargantuan proportions, an ogre almost, though it is said that his wife worships the ground his belly drags on. Chammy's duties on local building sites remain something of a mystery but locals tell stories of using him as a spirit level. They stand Chammy on the brickwork and when he dribbles from both sides of his mouth everything�s all right. The aforementioned gentleman is not noted for his intellect and normally provides the perfect sounding board for Frank's humour. Tonight though, Frank and Chammy have been consoling one another. Chammy has been lamenting the death of his goldfish, Fluffy while Frank has been successful in ridding his mind of the impending race. As Frank wavers off in the general direction of the gent�s toilet the local glazier arrives with a sheet of hardboard accompanied by his son carrying his tools. �Haw dad we've forgoat the tape measure.� �Disny matter son ..ah ken this yin off by heart.� As the glazier sets about his task we see Frank staggering back from the toilet. His random walk halts abruptly at the bar. It is quite a few seconds before his duty brain cell assimilates the information before him and then he exclaims. �Mah pint...some BASTIRTS drunk mah pint.� Deciding that it may not be in his best interest to interrogate the other patrons as to the whereabouts of his beverage he decides to say goodnight to Chammy and head homewards. �See you tomorrow, Chammy�, says Frank. �Oh aye right then, Where did ye say ye wur runnin the morra?� asks Big Chammy. The vacuous smile disappears from his face as he stammers. �Wee Torry and the Nebit� Where the F***s that? Whether it was the noise of the glazier, his drunken haze or just the general clamour in the background will remain a mystery but Frank contrived to hear this as �Wear the fox hat.� �That's it Chammy,....good thinking....brilliant...I'll wear a hat" As Frank staggers homeward pondering the location of a hard hat for the ensuing contest we take a look into a bar in Stirling.
In one corner sits Pete Buchanan. Pete is known in hill racing circles as The Lemming due to his penchant for throwing himself down sheer cliff faces. Tonight however he is out with friends from work. What Pete actually does at work has largely remained a mystery. �Its not that I can't tell you what I do it's just that I have to kill you afterwards,� says Pete whenever the question arises. Club members may have noticed that he has been missing from Tuesday night runs around Sherrifmuir. This is because he has embarked on his own Secret High Intensity Training (SHIT) programme. Tonight however he has been having his annual "blow out" and has consumed several cocktails known as "Orgasms" and at this moment in time he doesn't know if he's coming or going.
The morning of the race arrives and OHR members and guest runner Adrian Davis plus dog gather at Alva Glen car park. Club captain John Gallacher, still not fully recovered from his cold, is apprehensive about his fitness. "Honest hen I'll just run along at the back" he was heard assuring his long-suffering wife Caroline. The race gets under way and the early pacesetter John Bowers builds up a considerable gap by the top of Wee Torry. His lead is rapidly eroded on the descent down to Alva Glen as Pete "The Lemming" Buchanan lives up to his nickname and speeds down the hill at high velocity. This tactic proves highly successful and Pete carries on to win receiving the acclaim from the spectators, Kate Kelly, Caroline Gallacher and a man with a map in his hand who thinks he is on the path to Ben Cleuch. On the hill behind him John Gallacher eventually overtakes Adrian Davies who has lost his dog somewhere in the mist. Caroline however misses out on John's achievement. The excitement of the event is lost on her as she tries to decide if a collage of fallen leaves is depicting the pincer movement at the battle of El Alemain or a "wee doggie" as he wheezes past. Adrian and dog follow closely behind and then Frank despite the drag factor from his hard hat just pips John Bowers near the finish. As is customary on this occasion the competitors and spectators gather for the ritual after race food, drinks and distribution of prizes��
AND THERE WAS MUCH REJOICING!
Frank Kelly. 1994