Run the Blades 10k

Deirdre Hoyle writes on her recent outing at the Run the Blades 10k...

I nearly didn't run this race. Find my way to the start and deal with a shuttle-bus? I am very good at getting lost, and if it wasn't for the calming voice of Google-maps I would hardly drive at all.

Jenny had pulled out due to injury, so whereas I had signed up to avoid boredom while she did her first half marathon, I was now all on my own. However, the preview of the medal clinched it - I am a fan of the race-bling.

In the end, their travel arrangements worked perfectly; the golfing man dropped me at Eaglesham Primary School, where I stepped straight onto the coach and was ferried to the Visitors' Centre before 8 o'clock.  I registered quickly, and met several other Harriers, and of course the ever-faithful Anji on her bike ready to shout support.

This was my first trail race, and we were advised to carry mobile phones and waterproofs. As there was no bag drop I had to carry a bumbag, so I told myself it was just a run, not a race. This decision was reinforced as soon as I encountered the conditions underfoot - a mixture of well-trodden blaes, big chuckies, wee chuckies, the odd boulder and some grassy sections, both rough and smooth. A bit of an ankle-challenge, so safety was my first consideration. Thank goodness for cross-country training; I picked my heels up behind me and brought my foot down under my body. No skliffing! One stretch of tarmac was very welcome; whereas I had to keep an eye on the ground on the trail sections, on the road I could lift my head and enjoy the view.

Conditions were "run-perfect" - cloudy and dry with a gentle breeze. Just 131 of us set off after the ultra and the half marathon, so it was like a small parkrun. The course undulates over the moors, with the majestic turbines swooping above us. I do love to see windmills, they make me feel that perhaps the human race will survive for a wee while longer.

We looped around the loch and between lines of purple willow-herb. There were sheep, but otherwise I didn't spot any wildlife. A skylark song would have made it perfect.

Then, just when settled into a nice rhythm, a sign said “Smile, it's just a wee hill” just before halfway. Lies. It started gently, then got steeper, but I pumped my arms and did the “prancing-pony” feet, and didn’t walk at all. I might have been quicker if I had. It was possible to see the whole hill spread out ahead, which I think helps to get the brain prepared for the challenge.

I did have to walk briefly twice. There were two cattle-grids. I hate those things. Always have.

A few more inclines before the finish, and a good level pelt to the line. At just over an hour, it was nearly eight minutes slower than my season’s best in June, but that was to be expected. Second lady in my category, and I am nine years over the cut-off, so not too bad.

Claire was a couple of minutes behind, having stopped to take some pictures. Then we cheered Cris, flying home to win the half marathon by nearly ten minutes. Fantastic! Neil was narrowly fourth in the 10k, and Samantha and Jennifer completed their first trail half marathons.

There were lots of goodies in the goody-bag, including a few mysterious substances. What is “Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist”? Apparently, I can spray it on my “décolleté”. Magnesium oil? I might just stick to rehydration tablets.

And a shopping-bag, a red T-shirt and the first medal that doubles as a toy!

One more moment's excitement: the half marathon bag-drop tent was blown off over our heads, apparently forbidden from being pegged down, and landed upside down on the heather. No runners were injured.

We toddled back to the Visitors' Centre for hot chocolate and Empire biscuits, and got back on the bus to Eaglesham. Definitely an event to put in the diary for next year.

And another lovely day out with the Harriers, making me want to keep on doing this crazy thing that I could not have done when I was half this age.

Nil Desperandum.

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