A late summer sun burnished the flanks of Arthur’s
Seat as an impressive turnout of the Carnethy faithful sought
the best routes round the final handicap course of the season.
Despite the fact that this time no one got lost,
or admitted to getting lost, all the usual handicap dramas unfolded.
Paul Ritchie, foolish enough not to get lost last time out and thus
winning the previous handicap, delighted the Handicapper and Organiser
with his eloquent but vain attempts to move the immovable, a handicap
time carved in tablets of stone. The equally stony Handicapper and
Organiser were equally unmoved. Both too were delighted to listen
to the bemusement of the "fast pack" at the back with
the usual litanies of "How can I be off after him"…" She
was three seconds faster than me last weekend", etc, etc, all
music to a Handicapper’s ears … Still it gives them something to
talk over whilst the rest discussed more essential things whilst
waiting for the off, such as "Which one is Whinny Hill and
where’s the actual top".
The early start, central location and interesting
route over Edinburgh’s dormant volcano brought out some 40 runners,
with the Carnethy faithful being joined by two Dutch lasses,
Neeltje and Beatrice who despite being "flatlanders" both
managed to run round in under 50 minutes. Luckily for the Organiser,
Ken Daley came along to spectate and got dragooned into timing the
runners back in as they arrived close packed and in their hordes.
Joanne Anderson, strengthened from 9 days running
over the Massif Central, held off Alan Hogg to win the race overall,
beating him by a minute and leaving him in second place in the series
overall. Fastest time was notched up by Ronnie Gallagher who scorched
round the course in just under 32 minutes, a minute under the average "fast
pack" time. Elsewhere, Willie and Fraser Gibson had their first
father - son handicap tussle as Fraser ran his first handicap as
a precursor to "whupping my Dad at Glentress", as he did
in the handicap, finishing in 11th position compared
to Willie’s 32nd.
Good runs by Alan Hogg, Colin Pritchard and Gordon
Cameron just didn’t give them enough points to touch an absent Shane
Bouchier’s series lead so this years Handicap Series Champion is
Shane with 103 points overall. Hard luck for next year Shane.
A last minute switch of venue, to accommodate 50
skittlers, saw a substantial number of us head off to Jenny Ha’s
Inn, who did us proud with good food and drink to finish the evening
with good crack in good company.