Weekly report - ending 25th January

posted 30 Jan 2015, 13:47 by Graeme Lawson

Last Saturday six LAC members stepped up to the plate once again to tackle the gruelling ‘Devil’s Burdens’ relay race, run over the Lomond hills in Fife. This is an arduous undertaking involving 31 kilometres of hill running with a total ascent of 1650 metres.

The LAC team, with an aggregate age of around 300 years relied on experience and not youth to finish in a creditable 92nd place overall with an aggregate time of 4 hours 14 minutes and 57 seconds.

Jill Horsburgh led the way on the solo stage one, braving temperatures around zero and on an icy trail path to hand over to the leg two runners with a very respectable 41min 21 sec.

Dave Mason (just recovering from his 24 hour ‘Strathpuffer' mountain bike race the previous week) teamed with Angus Gallie to tackle the dreaded stage two. Dave stepped up at the last minute when Paul Dudchenko had to pull out through illness. Although conditions were bitterly cold, the clear weather made navigation easier than previous years and Dave and Angus topped the gruelling 522 metre West Lomond peak in under an hour. They continued on snowy paths and ice-crusted bogs to finish on the ‘black-run’ descent into Kinesswood to finish the second stage in 1hr 33 min 59 sec.

Bryan Grome and Darren Dick (the youngsters of the squad) took up the baton for stage three, bracing themselves for the daunting and cruel near vertical ascent to start. Bryan’s back went into spasm at the top of this climb but he managed to tag onto Darren and get the legs stretched out again where thankfully his back eased. This stage was new to the event and is another ‘cracker’. Again good navigation and descending skill down an icy path saw the guys handing over to our fourth man waiting in Falkland with an impressive time of 1hr 13min 13 sec.

The anchor stage was down to the indefatigable (and most senior member of the team) Graham Burrows. Graham was apprehensive about this ‘solo’ leg, being a new leg with some navigation challenges and the ascent and descent of East Lomond being thrown in for good measure. Graham took all this in his stride and confounded the team, who missed cheering his finish, arriving about 15 minutes before they expected with him in a stonking time of 46 mins 24 secs.

Eventually after all had got warmed up with copious amounts of hot soup; they headed back home, very tired but satisfied with another day flying the flag for Linlithgow Athletic Club.

Instead of racing with his team mates, Gerry McArdle opted to run with his best friend, Cullen, as the pair took part in their first Cani-Sports Scotland event at Plean Country Park. Canicross races are designed to allow runners to compete with their dogs, most often run in trails or woodland to provide a safe running environment for the pairings. Gerry and Cullen put in a creditable performance on their debut, completing the 5k course in 20mins 6secs, which placed them 2nd in the Male 40+ (based on Gerry’s age, not Cullen’s) category.

Ian Logan headed to the village of Buchlyvie for a 10k event organised by a bunch of enthusiastic locals. The course is an out and back route that takes advantage of the old railway track to provide traffic free conditions for much of the run. Whilst free of cars, the track is usually a little on the muddy side with most runners preferring to describe the route as multi terrain rather than a traditional road race. Despite the mud, the atmosphere always makes this an enjoyable race and the 2015 edition proved no exception to this. Ian’s time of 37:42 meant that he started 2015 with a top ten finish.