Mistletoe and whine – the xmas handicap

Firstly before I go onto this run I got a big surprise yesterday when I saw that Scottish Athletics on Facebook had picked up on this blog and had posted a link to it with a little article about myself. “Motherwell AC veteran Mark Gallacher is back in cross country after a couple of decades absence and he’s relishing the season. Sort of. Read Mark’s absorbing blog about his XC comeback, one week on from the mudbath that was the West Districts at Linwood.” I’m a veteran you know, makes me sound like one of Status Quo 😉 There was a picture of me, and one of Chris Macdonald… if I could just run one race like him…..

Anyway I haven’t ran for a week. I stuck to my guns. And today we had the MAC Xmas handicap. This strangely enough was starting at the same time and at the same place as Jogscotland’s Xmas cracker event, so I would be avoiding the flak as well as trying to avoid last place. That was simply my aim today, to not be last as I didn’t expect to be near my handicap time, especially in the wind and rain we were seeing today.

I looked the part if i didn’t run it. A festive base layer that I forgot to get a picture of when wearing. Oops. I was starting 11 minutes back, a minute or so behind Emma and coach John, 5 seconds behind Clare, and only 30 seconds ahead of Andy who had been licking his wounds since that defeat at Bellahouston… (aye ok, he hadn’t given it a second thought.) All these people capable of beating me. Clare in particular going well after a silver in the Lanarkshires, and a second in the Tollcross parkrun last week. Off everyone went and i awaited my time to go. “Go!” and Clare had went off really fast in front of me, I started off trying to reel her in but looked at the crazy 3 min 30 per k pace she was going and decided to settle into my own race. I would have blown up trying to keep that going. By the end of the first bend I could hear Andy coming and it was no surprise that he passed me at pace. It was also no surprise to hear that he won the handicap race, running sub 24 in those conditions, part of which included a sub 19 5k. Great to see him hitting form again after what’s been a difficult year for him injury wise. Anyway back to my run, we got past the beach section and the undulating hilly section in the woods. I was keeping Clare in my sights but we were now running through Jogscotland tail runners. Nice to see Tommy the clown as always, but a lot of running round banks of people and across slippy muddy sections to keep the run going. I saw some old Jogscotland leaders who were stewarding their race and got some encouragement, nothing thrown at me surprisingly. Now at about halfway point and Clare appeared to be slowing so took my chance and got past her. Just as the wind went mental. I was starting to see people in front to give me targets and was fortunate to pass Ross and Emma quite soon after that. Round the bend at the back of the loch and I could see PC Craig. As I went to go past him he “spurted” and went to sprint away. Then turned round and laughed demonically. Aye baffled me as well 😉 We then had that long long straight to the finish, probably a good 2k,  and I reeled in a few more folk. I watched Andrew Scott take a sip of beer from a spectating member of the club. I heard someone coming up fast behind me and thought it may be Clare but thankfully was just a man in his sixties…. a cracking run from Brian running under 25 mins in those conditions. Anyway I got my aim, had a wee run, wasn’t last and was well inside the 26 minute mark in tough conditions so happy with my run considering my niggles and lack of running this week. Now it really is time for a wee break.

Afterwards was onto the Electric bar for the prize giving. Brian and Gary the Shark shared the roadrunner of the year award and I had a roll and sausage. Great atmosphere again. they aren’t a bad bunch you know.

Have an excellent Christmas and New year blogpeeps, and see you on the other side.

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