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  • Jo Houghton

A trip north of the border

By Jenn Barlow

As thousands of runners and their families headed south for the annual London marathon, a small contingent, (the Shuttleworths, Barlows and Miss Jones) were heading north of the border to take part in the annual Arran 10k race. Arran, a small island off the west coast of Scotland, lovingly known as Scotland in miniature is relatively flat apart from its one mountain...Goat fell so no hidden hills to climb or so me and Barbara thought. The run organised by Arran runners has been going for years and with only 107 runners signed up for the race we did wonder what the “competition” would be like. No road closures, no chip timing and no gun start, just a man counting down 1, 2, 3, and we were off, a small hilly loop passing the local Annandale church and then off down the main road before turning right to follow the bay for the next 5k. Running along the road with a canopy of trees and the smell of wild garlic was a treasure and then as we came out of the canopy the fabulous salty smell of the sea and a gorgeous view of the bay to our right. Onwards and upwards...yes upwards all the way to the water station at 6k then a turn around and back the way we came only this time down hill all the way. The front runners were looking strong as they passed us on their way down the hill shouting words of encouragement along the way, it wasn’t long before Duncan (looking in fine form) passed me and Barbara shouting his own words of encouragement...followed closely by Sheila who was also looking in fine form.

At 9k we turned back onto the main road and headed for the finish hoping against everything that we didn’t have to run the hilly loop again, we watched the runners in front intently to see if they went to the right or left at the junction...hooray they went to the left and with a final push Barbara and I headed to the finish, coming over the line together to the cheers of all the runners who had finished and were waiting for the presentations and of course Duncan & Sheila.

Still to come was John who, when we passed him was looking strong and in good spirits, waiting on the bend just before the finish we could see him coming still going and looking in good spirits, a small contingent of runners and locals had also gathered and cheered along with us as John came passed ,it was an emotional few minutes as I watched John running towards me to finish the first race in over 12 months, I was so proud of what he had achieved.

There was one runner still out in the field but with people wanting to get off to catch the ferry to the mainland the awards presentation commenced. And the winner of the male vet 60 category goes to...Duncan Shuttleworth, huge cheers and whistles from his supporters who were delighted with Duncan’s success, and of course a huge hug from Barbara.

Sheila also had a fabulous race coming home in 47.17, well done Sheila.

The presentation paused whilst everyone cheered the final runner...a fabulous gesture from all concerned such a lovely supportive atmosphere.

What a fabulous day, only as we headed for the ferry did the sun disappear and the raindrops start to fall. All in all a fabulous day with lovely people and a race that I will definitely be running again.


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