Sunday, September 20, 2009

At last - a post on my blog!

My blog has not exactly been overwhelmed with posts in recent weeks; in fact I haven't posted anything at all since my epic 60 laps round the track at Stirling Uni a couple of weeks ago. That is more a result of an inabilty to find the time to sit in front of my computer rather than a lack of things to write about, so I thought I would try to address that by giving a quick update here.

Last Saturday was the River Ayr Way Challenge, advertised as a 66k/44m race along, not surprisingly, the River Ayr Way. In actual fact it was 40 miles, not counting the bit where I got lost around the half way point. I thought it was a pretty good event, but after a few hours I was getting a bit fed up of seeing the River Ayr, and could have done with a bit of a change. At no time did I have any real idea where I was was, and I am sure that contributed to my struggles between 20 and 30 miles. All came good in the end, however, and I finished like a train (ok, quite a slow train) as I stormed through Ayr Town Centre (incidentally one of 3 racing drivers named after a Scottish town, the others being Stirling Moss and Johnnie Dumfries - Ayr-ton Senna, gettit?) and along to the Citadel, where I crossed the line in 7 hours 12 minutes. I was a bit surprised to see DQ already there and lying on the grass drinking beer, as I thought he was behind me, but he must have passed when I took my little detour. Either that or he got a lift :)

Although the RAW was a good event, I have to question the arithmetical abilities of the East Ayrshire Council organising team. By my understanding 1 kilometre equates to 0.6214 of a mile (that is why a 10k is 6.214 miles). If you do the calculations, you will see that 66k equates to 41.0124 miles, and 44 miles equates to 70.8078 kms. So the race cannot be both 66k and 44 miles. I have to say how pleased I was to find that it was a lot closer to 66k.

On Tuesday it was the screening of the Adventure Show programme about this year's WHW race, at the Behind the Wall pub in Falkirk. The screening has been widely reviewed elsewhere and I would echo the general theme of the comments - I thought it was a superb programme which really captures the true spirit of the race. Well done to all the production people. It was very moving seeing Dario looking very calm and peaceful, as the Subversive Runner said on his excellent (and I'm glad to say no longer vomit inducing) blog. Dave, thank goodness you have restored it to its previous version. The new colour scheme was giving me a headache.

On Thursday I attend the Law Awards where my firm picked up one award and one second place. Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary was there, and I was pleased to get the opportunity to congratulate him on his excellent decision to free the 'Lockerbie bomber', Al Megrahi. I know this is not a universally accepted view (and I enjoy an argument as much as the next man, so don't worry at all if you are in a different camp - life would be dull if we all thought the same way), but I do not really like when American politicians try and tell us how we should run our criminal justice system. I am sure they would not listen to us telling them how to run theirs; for example they didn't listen much to our appeals against the decision to extradite Gary McKinnon, did they? In any case it was becoming clearer and clearer that the conviction would not stand up to the scrutiny of an appeal, with the new evidence that was now available - which is why I have placed, somewhat provocatively, punctuation marks around the words 'Lockerbie bomber' in my comments above. So I think the decision was not only correct, but politically expedient (both here and in the US - a fact I am sure has not escaped the Scottish, UK or US governments). Can you imagine the outcry in the Arab world if the conviction was overturned on appeal, not to mention the commpensation that would have been payable from the Scottish Government? I'd rather have trams in Edinburgh than pay out that sort of cash - and as you may have guessed I am not a fan of the Edinburgh trams project. A comedian at the fringe summarised it well: a hell of a lot of money to replace the Number 22 bus.

But I have digressed into one of my favourite after dinner discussion topics, politics, and should return to the less contentious issue of sport. Yesterday allybea the runner (superb run today by allybea - more details on her blog), son no 3 and I travelled to Oban for the final of the Camanachd Cup, the main event in the shinty season. Fort William beat Kyles Athletic 4-3 in a thriller of a match: FW were 3-0 up and coasting but Kyles pulled it back to 3-3, before FW scored their winner with a couple of minutes left. It was live on BBC2 and BBC Alba, so some of you may have seen it, and may even have seen me standing on the touchline - I was wearing my fluorescent WHW top to make it easier for the cameras to pick me out. Shinty is a wild game and thoroughly enjoyable; I'm sure we'll be back for more.

Today I headed back to my old stomping ground of Kilmacolm for the half marathon. I actually managed to get under the hour and a half barrier for the first time for a while - my finishing time was 1.29.45 - but I have to be honest and say that I thought the course was about 300 yards too short. The first and last miles (which were the same bit of the course) were suspiciously fast, a fact confirmed by my GPS which showed a final reading for the route of 12.81 miles. I hate short courses. There is no excuse for them at all, particularly in an event where you head down a cycle path to a marker, turn round, and then come back up the same way. Apart from that the event was well organised, but they need to get the distance sorted out for next year. I ran pretty well for the first 8 miles, but then the wheels fell off and I shuffled slowly towards the finish line for the last 5 or so. Was last week's 40 miles still in my legs? Perhaps, but I wouldn't want anyone to think I am making excuses. It is more likely that I am just crap.

I am planning a big week's training this week before starting to wind down for the 24 hour race on 17 October. I even sense a run home from work on Friday night coming on: I would aim to leave Edinburgh after work (about 5 pm)and head along the canal to Linlithgow and Falkirk, over to Larbert and possibly on to Stirling. If anyone wants to join me for some or all of it please let me know - the company would be greatly appreciated.


Brian Mc said...

I agree with you on the Al-Meghrabi decision. It was the humane and correct thing to do.

Sounds like you are going great guns running wise. I'm on the reserve list for the Tooting Bec so might still be able to join you for that. If I don't get in I'll see about coming down to support you for a bit.

Subversive Runner said...

As you know, I'm not in agreement with the Al-Meghrabi decision, and this time I'm hoping my spelling is correct!!

But we will have plenty time to discuss that in October! See you soon, mate.

Anonymous said...


Hopefully you remember our few emails/calls last year when my friend Rob Hall McNair was running his LEJoG. Rob is 1st reserve for Tooting and I'll be his support, so I may see you! Sporting sore legs at the mo after we both ran the London to Brighton Trail Race this Sunday, which I can definitely recommend.

Gaynor Prior

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