Lammer Law Handicap
30th July 2008

Another sultry East Lothian summer evening for this popular trial by flies, heather, bracken, confusing skylines and even some fast runnable terrain.

26 runners had their starting spread of times compressed by a factor of 2.4 to deliver not quite a Tour de France sprint for the line (the impossible dream that our Handicapper pursues with his mysterious algorithms late at night with lots of black coffee), but an interesting finish nonetheless.

At least one runner was saved from an excursion across the watershed and down to Carfraemill by shouts from pursuers. Judging by the intense efforts, by some, to take advantage of fellow runners’ superior knowledge of the route, there’s still a curious reluctance by crap navigators to use this event to achieve some improvement in their own ability to find their way. So much so that your organiser is considering a change of format to an annually-changing navigators’ trial after the style of the Lakes Mountain Trial. This seems very desirable as typical hill race fields now accumulate an ever greater proportion of competitors who are proud to profess that they don’t have a clue about navigating and are content to follow the guys in front. Those who did this in a Durisdeer Race many years ago found themselves in a cloud shrouded village that was miles off the race route.

Anyway, I rant. Back to the race. The temperature was on the warm side. The vegetation was much lusher than normal; so much so that some your organiser’s secret tracks through undergrowth had disappeared completely.
We had a visiting student of photo-journalism from Chicago who was with us to study local customs, culture and characters; so appropriate raw material for Stephanie’s project was there for the picking. Guest runners Brian Marshall and Stuart Symington added to the competition at the quality end of the field.

Karen Meikle was first home just ahead of Philippa Harley. The faster runners were embedded well in the middle of the field and not too far apart from each other, always a good indicator of some quality handicapping. Handicapper himself was right in the middle, showing his scrupulous objectivity as ever. Cali found the hill fort that had eluded her on the last attempt. Lucy lost her hound, but he found his way home with precision that was the envy of the navigationally challenged – and without map and compass too.

The Tweeddale Arms fed us well, but, unusually, with a spread of delivery times that matched the spread of start times in the race. If this persists, we’ll introduce a handicapped eating event (not to be confused with a handicapped-eating event) based on this years’ starting data.

Your organiser’s success was a return to competition that removes any right to post-injury handicap concessions in future.

If there is enough interest, the next East Lothian event will be a revival of the East Lothian Three Peaks Team Duathlon (long standing record held by Graeme Bartlett and me). Candidates please let me know.

Handicap Results

Keith Burns


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