The Pairc Trust 5 Miler, Fun Run and Birthday Party
Things didn't start off too brightly - half an hour before the race started the Registration Team had only registered themselves! Thankfully there was a late surge and in the end 25 started the 5 miler and 17 the fun run - quite respectable for a first event.
The race started just east of the Ravenspoint Centre in Cearsiadair and wound its way up and down through South Lochs to Gravir School. My old legs felt there was an emphasis on the UP but to be fair there was just as much down - what there wasn't much of was flat! There was a lovely off-road trail round the bay between Gearraidh Bhaird and Cabharstadh - really scenic but definitely UP! From there to the race rolled its way to the finish. The one and half miles of the Fun Run route were the last miles of the five mile race and essentially downhill.
Straight from the gun Roddy Gillies and Jamie Sulliven took off and began to distance themselves from the field and by the time I began the descent to the bay on the off-road section they were already half way up the other side (memo to self - do some training before your next race!) with Ruairi Maciver and Philip in pursuit. And that's about it as far as the race to win goes - I never saw them again but looking at the results it's clear that Roddy proved too strong for Jamie and won fairly comfortably.
But what's this? This papparazi photo clearly shows Roddy arriving at the finish line in a pirate ship - if I was Jamie I'd ask for a steward's enquiry!
As for me, I watched Spike, Hamish and Jon Day slowly disappear into the distance and was enjoying a solo run to the finish when I saw them running back up the hill towards me! It turned out that they had ran by the turn-off for the school and did a wee tour of Gravir before heading back up to the finish at the school - the extra 500m the ran didn't stop them finishing in front of me though! The ladies race was won by Julie Macintosh - apparently her first ever win which explains the exuberant reaction when she heard the result.
Now what would be a nice way to celebrate your birthday - get a few friends together and have a nice wee chat? That would suit most 75 year olds and that is exactly what Ethel McNally did too - but with a difference! Her wee chat started in Cearsiadair and ended five miles later at the finish line in Gravir! Adrienne, Janetta, Jayne and Jane (on a bike) ran alongside Ethel and they even managed to set a new five mile pb - not measured in minutes per mile but words per mile!
Adrienne had arranged another surprise for Ethel - after the prizegiving ceremony Ethel was presented with an amazing cake (baked by Karina Murray), a card and gift. We've seen tears in the eyes of Olympians at the sound of the National Anthem and its fair to say that Ethel found the Happy Birthday ceremony just as moving!
As for the Fun Run, brother's Alasdair and Murdo Angus Kennedy romped away from the rest of the field while Rosie Sulliven managed to go one better than her brother had managed in the 5 mile race by winning the girls fun run. But the fun didn't end with the race - what with face painting, quad bike rides and a pirate ship what more could you ask for - a barbeque and goody bags? Well they were there too! As for the adults, a bottle of malt for all finishers certainly added to their fun.
Ethel and friends obviously hadn't enough chat on the run because they ended up back at the Ravenspoint cafe for coffee, cake and a bit more craic. All in all a cracking day and one for the diary next year. Well done Norrie and all those who helped you put on a superb event.