I have always wondered how we would cope with bad weather. Well this year we found out. The few days before the race were spent looking for a decent forecast. We had to settle for a bad one.
I was down in Comrie at 7.30am and had a quick drive up Glenlednock to knock a few signs in and look at the weather. It all looked OK so a decision was made to run the usual course.
I had the marshals tooled up and ready to go in record time and the hour before the race was as calm as I can remember. The catering was to take place at Comrie croft so there wasn’t much to do. All the parking marshals did a great job and Gordon was his usual model of efficiency. At 9.45 I gave the race brief which was too long but it is vital to say certain things, so I did.
All leg 1 runners were sent on their way at 10am dead.
All was going fine until a distress call from Richard who was looking for checkpoint 8 at Invergeldie!? We met up and decided it was Karen’s fault and off he went to sit in his car for the next 4 hours, sensible man.
Leg 1 runners all did well. Colin G ran his usual good leg to hand over to Phil and Digby with a deficit of about 3 mins and in 3rd place. Nicola and Karen had a good race with Nicola coming in shortly before Karen.. Tony ran a steady race and seemed happy enough with his run.
Fiona was checkpoint 2 Marshal and did a great job and after tidying up leg 1 proceeded to start tidying up leg 4 before it was gently pointed out to her that leg 4 was still to happen.
Phil and Digby ran a stormer overhauling Deeside to hand over to Will in 2nd place. Theirs was the fastest leg 2 of the day.
Gordon and Doug a now tried and tested duo ran one of their best leg 2s as did that other regular leg 2 pair Cathy and Ali. Grant and Emily were a last minute pairing. I think Grant found it a tough ru, with Emily keeping ahead of him and his scary shorts.
It was a tough day for all the marshals and I would like to thank each and every one of them for all they did. Liz and Tracey did a fine job at the end of leg 1 and the finish. Alastair spent most of the day getting wet and being a beacon of dayglo like a human lighthouse to guide runners to the Shakey Bridge. George was stoical as ever spending hours at the crossroads on the Maam Rd. He decided not to set off lara off for another leg 2 record this year.
Up on the west ridge we had Colin leading 3 women. Colin knows the hills like the back of his hand and carefully placed Julie and Elaine where they needed to be and marched Kirsty up to the top. Kirsty seemed to be having a fine time judging by the regular cheery radio comms. Apparently she did get a bit wet.
Ali and Beth were at their usual post at the leg2/3 handover. No real dramas here but looking up at Ben Chonzie it was anything but calm for the Marshals on leg 3.
Liz T, Seonaid and Alan marched up at breakneck speed with the consequence that they had to wait ages for the runners to appear. Apparently the weather was really terrible and apologies for sending them up there. Seonaid made the most of things making a nest for herself and falling asleep for 3 hours. Not quite what I had in mind. Liz spent 3 hours marching on the spot and Alan stoically stuck it out at the head of the Carroglen burn.
Will was 1st Harrier to appear and the only one to appear from the correct direction. He gave Liz a cheery greeting and went on his way to record another superb time. Andy appeared from the south, Kerry from the north and Graham from the south but at least they all made checkpoint 6.
Poor Kerry redefined what a rabbit caught in the headlights looks like before she set off. Checkpoint 6 was a low point even though it was the highest point for her but things then got better with the descent. Well done Kerry for putting yourself well outside your comfort zone and putting in a good performance.
Andy had a good run and Graham was reported looking v v unhappy at the top but toughed it out.
Meanwhile in the relatively balmy ambience of the leg3/4 changeover Edward was completely in control ably assisted by Karen. Matt had the parking well under control.
We had an interesting exchange with the leg4 Carnethy runner who was handicapped by visual impairment and no glasses. I realised that I was up against Mr Magoo and Mr M went off with a 3 minute lead on me.
After passing the enviable Richard and Rebecca in their warm car I did my best to make up time on the invisible Mr M up front. After passing Alastair I made my up to El Presidente who had an admiring crowd gathered around him. Up to the Monument and sure enough Mr M was heading down the wrong path. I have to admit to a split second dilemma of should I tell him or not but of course being the decent chap I am I hollered after him and up he came.
George informed me on the descent that I was 90secs behind now. I was happily reeling Mr M in when he sailed past checkpoint 10. I then spent some time hollering after him until he eventually turned around before carrying on in the direction of the A85. Ah well I thought, best push on. The rest of my run was fine and I really enjoyed bringing the Harriers in for our 3rd win.
Deeside came in 2nd after a good run from their leg 4 runner and Mr M eventually brought Carnethey in in 3rd place.
We had 4 teams which is a record for us. Our Men’s team was ably brought home by SWCHR debutante John and Rhian had a fine run to finish off a fine performance by our Ladies. Steph had a good run to bring our mixed team home. Well done to all Harriers and especially those running their 1st SWCHR. It does get easier than this I promise.
After presenting HBT women with their winner’s trophy we headed over to Comrie croft. This turned out to be a great venue and credit for the idea is all Phil m’s. Judith had everything well under control with an army of helpers. The cakes were awesome. Judith does an amazing job and I am enourmously grateful to her and Colin who does help in his own way. Thanks to Colin for organising the radios
Then we presented the prizes and that was it for another year.
Again, many thanks to the committee of Gordon, Phil and Tony.