Half an hour before the race start, there I was sitting at the bar with Jim Hardie having a quick beer. This is part of my new training regime to get some speed back; the beer was only a half pint. Tempting as it was to stay and sample the beers (and Gin of the Moment) I dragged Jim off his bar stool, and out into the cool damp night to find the race start.
This is the third year of Angela organising this 3 series races on the trails of the QE Forest Park, and registration was a buzz with 130+ runners. The route took us thorough the forest on the northern side of Aberfoyle, with various twists and turns on the tracks and paths 100% concentration was required. My initial fear of taking a wrong turn, and ending up lost soon faded, as Angela had done an excellent job of marking the route with tape and signs. The lead group soon disappeared into the darkness, and I was left chasing the lights of a couple of runners in front – no idea who they were though.
As the route climbed through the forest the patches of tree mist reflected the headtorch back and made distance perception a challenge. A 90% Waxing Gibbous Moon made brief appearances through the trees and cloud. At key junctions the friendly marshals guided us the way ahead and warned us of the slippery turns. There was one particularly steep muddy climb, which would of been even more challenging for those at the back. After 4 or so miles we emerged out of the trees and ran across the golf course to meet the track back to the start, where Angela and helpers recorded the finishers, which couldn’t have been an easy task in the dark, whilst confronted with the super bright headtorches of today.
Iain (6th) and Harry (37th) Gilmore completed the Carnethy contingent, with me (8th) and Jim (12th). We went in search of chips, but found the chipper closed 🙁
Recommend making the trip west for the other two races in the series: Callander (13th December), and Aberfoyle (7th February). A great night out, and something completely different. Remember your headtorch. Apologies for the lack of quality photos, but it was dark!
Big thanks to Angela and all her helpers. Results