Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Inveraray Jail Break 2011

After a week of anxious trouble shooting and panicking the day of the race did not dawn fair and clear as it jolly well should have done but rainy and warm after a torrential downpour and thunderstorm on Saturday. A trip up the hill on Saturday in the aforementioned storm revealed a couple of very loose stony patches and considerable mud at the start of the hill. Huge piles of logs dominate the once lush field at the lead into the hill with sticks ready to flip up and catch the unwary runner (which is why it only seemed to happen to me). Having not been able to run or assess the hill much due to the felling operations left Freya in a quandary...to have a go the day before and have stiff legs or wonder if would as hard as last year...well...go she did both up and down and yes it was as hard as last year. Back to race day...up earlier than anticipated due to husband's doubt on his own ability to drive into Inveraray to put the last minute signs in place (there is a story there which I am willing to share!!). Rosie  volunteered to go keep her father company in case he got lost at all. Back home to get breakfast and to collect the other Corners for registration and to lock the two dogs, now in a high state of excitement at all the running trainers being put on in the lobby. Registration inside this year due to the now drizzle so hasty sellotaping of direction signs to be done. Registration started prompt with our first runner arriving five minutes early but went smoothly from there on in with Freya,Toby and Jacquie doing sterling work. Marshals starting to arrive bless them and donning bibs...a sea of yellow in the registration room led me to fear that we may have more officials/marshals than runners but no the final tally is a respectable 36. Briefing of marshals and away they go to be transported into position. On to the photos and runners briefing...Bill is ready with his clock, the jailer is ready with his starter horn, John is ready with his camera and David and Toby prime their iPods....11am. The horn sounds, the camera click and everyone is off...and then I remember.Ah, got to run up the hill now! As race organiser obviously the most responsible place to be is at the back to sweep up and encourage others......
Across the front Green we go in a steady stream and onto the Castle Estate. A few runners have a wee chat as they flow effortlessly past me. Rebecca runs a few paces with me  then enters into her and David's own private competition to beat each other.Liz is comfortably running along and pulling away from me. I catch glimpses of her until the 3k and then no more. Into the field and the heat is getting to me so I have to remove the buff from my head and go for it.The marshals are fabulous doing exactly as asked and cheering me on! First Rhia and then David, I am counting them off. I can still see runners in front taking a walk on the steep bits. I know my run is slower than a walk but fear if I begin to walk I shall never start again. Matt ahead of me walks all the way up the hill and I never catch him. I am not sure if I am last but suspect I am. Up to the 3k mark and down come the first finishers. I hear the higher marshals shout as I pass Simone in her marshal position (she is such an expert now I am going to make her chief marshal next year with a special hat!!). No need for warnings as they both jump the scree and continue down the hill. Still trolling up and past Sharon and first Aider Bill at the steepest corner..Bill checks I am okay and I feebly ask for a leg transplant. Runners coming down thick and fast now. Toby chasing David but David is not to be caught. All the local faces passing me now and giving great encouragement including " Garret is not far ahead of you!" Hmmmm. The ground underfoot is now soft and easier going and up I go to the top. Yay! there is Rosie taking pictures and Marcus. Round the tower and down....to discover I am not quite last after all. No, the 69 year old Ian and Mary used to running in flat Delhi and conned into entering by Liz are still making the ascent. Down I go still desperately trying to catch Matt. At about 1km to go I see my boy running back to meet me and to encourage me over the last wee bit. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to put the finish line over the bridge but it was cruel....But hey..the cheer as I went over the line..it was THE BEST THING!!!

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