For most folk it wouldn’t be anything to get excited about. I’ve become quite accustomed to being last or third last in races with small fields, when only a couple of hundred people are running it’s pretty reasonable that almost a couple of hundred of them will run faster than me. I ran the Gartmorn 6 on Sunday. It’s a lovely wee route and at six miles, the first ‘short’ race I had done in a while. The route goes along a small amount of road before heading into woods with muddy trail following a meandering wee burn before popping out at the Gartmorn Dam, which you loop then retrace your steps to the start which is now the finish. There are small undulations and a steep wee bank up to the dam but it’s not hugely hilly. It’s very pretty and was loads of mucky fun after torrential rain the day before; we enjoyed sunny if blustery conditions. I put myself right at the back, it was a small field after all with quite a lot of clubrunners jostling at the front, all opting for a high speed start to avoid the inevitable bottle necks once into the woods where the trail and little bridges make passing difficult.
A strange thing happened, I started passing people straight away even though I was settling into a relatively comfortable pace – now that’s something that only normally happens if I run in a mass event filled with walkers and newbies. Then I saw a guy on his hands and knees, so stopped to see if he was OK and the answer was no, he felt dizzy but he didn’t want to stop other racers. There was a faster guy, who must’ve been pacing some folk, who offered to stay and wait for marshal help, as he could catch his runners up. Another lady stopped who had a phone on her. Runners are a good bunch.
I went on my merry way, merrily re-overtaking folk. A little later the faster chap did pass me and reassured me that guy was being attended to by a marshal – I asked after him at the end of the race and thankfully he was fine. Funny thing. I didn’t just overtake the people I had previously overtaken but I passed a few more.
I caught up to a runner that had seemed out of reach for a while, just after half way and saw her with a hand in the air and reckoned she must have a stitch. I asked her and checked she was OK, luckily it was passing. We got chatting and realised we knew each other from marshalling at Clyde Stride. We ran the rest of the race together with another minor pause as another lady we caught up had a wee fall but was OK. We were both pushing ourselves a bit and each thinking we were pushing to keep up with the other – that worked out for us both anyway!
We finished with a sprint (of course) and a pretty respectable 1.01 over a traily wee 6 miler with some stops. I was pleased as punch and quite surprised to later find that I was 35th from the back, unlike my usual last to third last place.
Amazing refreshments were generously provided by the Wee County Harriers back at the hall – what a spread! Such a lovely, friendly wee race and truly suitable for all levels of ability. I’d recommend it to anyone. No wonder it sells out.