Monday, 21 April 2014

Emily Hill and Norman's Law

We had an extremely lovely holiday in Spain last week, lounging around and subsisting almost entirely on olives and beer, and our return home in the witching-hours of Friday/Saturday meant that race attendance on Saturday was touch and go. However, the blue Scottish skies and brilliant sunshine made the Hills of Fife (rather than the Mountains of Laundry) a much more appealing prospect.

We headed out to Luthrie for the Emily Hill kids' race and Norman's Law and sat in the sunshine outside the village hall eating our mini-picnic (and more beer though).

Rosie and Ronnie eyeballed the other young runners. There was a great turn-out with lots of very fast looking kids. I think I even saw one little person in "Skins"; they clearly meant business.


Synchronised siblings.

Onward, my good steed.

At the start, Matt hoisted Solly onto his back and I found a good vantage point for taking photos. Or so I thought. In fact I'd inadvertently positioned myself in the middle of the race route and, realising this too late to take evasive action, had no choice but to try and make myself small and inobtrusive as the herd of fierce children swarmed around me.

I jogged with the Joneses up the first climb and then positioned myself (carefully) for photos of the descent. I was very impressed with all the kids as they came hurtling off the hill.

Go Ronnie! (Oops, fat finger.)
Ronnie was first Carnethy home (33rd out of 46 in 13:00mins), and Rosie scored a great PB with 14:15mins knocking three minutes off her 2012 time. They all earned their juice and chocolate bunnies!

So, my turn next. The runners gathered by the cowsheds for a counting and a briefing, and a deliciously understated "Off you go then". I'd started almost at the front of the start-line and had a slightly demoralising couple of minutes as dozens of runners streamed past me. I'd been hoping that a couple of weeks of minimal running would have me raring to go, but I just felt quite sluggish. The first couple of miles are a set route, marked with flour and tape. There's a gentle incline by track (all entirely runnable, unfortunately) onto a beautiful undulating country path. The hedgerows and trees offered dappled shade and the birds cheeped their encouragement. I regained my mojo a bit on the gentle descent before Norman's Law, and oscillated a bit with Euan Mackinnon. A marshal directed us off the path into the fields beneath the hill, and at this point it becomes a bit more freestyle, with runners heading off at tangents looking purposeful.

I decided to stick with what looked like a direct approach upwards, which involved a bit of scratchy gorse and hands-on-knees puffing. It's a nice straightforward hill. No horrible false-summits, and lovely views from the top (if only there were time to appreciate them). The return to the finish line is a free-for-all and runners disperse in all sorts of directions. I was hoping to find the route that I'd taken in 2012, which seemed direct enough, but ended up following a bunch of Fife ACers over slightly rougher ground. I didn't dare head off by myself, and it was all going too quickly to properly take stock of the route. Looking at my Garmin map, I think it I strayed a fraction too far North in the approach to Emily Hill, and it must have cost me a few seconds as we reconverged on the track at the base of Emily Hill with some runners that I'd overtaken earlier.

Go Mummy!

Go Euan!
 The finish is pretty exciting, with a final blast on the straight track towards the finish line, but even more exciting than that is the Fife AC tea, cake and soup. 

 With such great running conditions, times were fast this year. Ben Hukins of Ronhill Cambuslang was first with 29:24, followed by incredibly young looking junior runners Logan and Tristan Rees.I knocked a couple of minutes off my 2012 time and managed to bag two bottles of fine beer as second lady after Judith Turner. Pretty chuffed, if a little baffled by my run of good luck recently. Rosie, who is never backward at coming forward, also nabbed a spot-prize of Herbalife protein bars and hand-cream by jumping up and down and shouting "me me me!". Many thanks to Fife AC and Mark Harris for organising a fantastic afternoon of racing and fun.


My route on Strava.