Saturday, 3 May 2008

Supporting Millies (3)

The race (1)

In the last few days before the race, further volunteers to be support staff for the race came forward. The line-up for the start was Margo McKenzie, for her loving husband Jim, Steph, and Geraldine(now known as the "A team" and pictured below) , Anne Robertson for Jim Robertson, myself for Alison,Patricia and Christine. At Drymen we would be joined by Club Chairman Chris and his wife Christine who would look after Ali and Trish who planned to run together whilst I would stay with Christine. Should I feel the need to do any running, then I would leave my car at Inverarnan and, leaving Christine’s stuff with Chris and Christine, pick it up upon our return journey.

That was the theory, but some of the runner’s pre – race nerves were starting to show. There had been some talk of doing the race as a relay team, but as it turned out, everyone who entered managed to toe the line at the start, buoyed up with many good wishes on the club website and the many, many, miles of preparation behind them.

As I said beforehand, Steph and Jim Robertson were old hands at this game, Geraldine and Jim McKenzie were more than capable of good runs, as seen by their preparation marathons where Jim broke the 4 hour barrier at Dumfries and Geraldine had a ball at London running 4.35. (She had planned to run with her brother Tommy and was in the pen appropriate to his predicted time. The marathon was only a “training run”!)

Alison, Trish and Christine were really pushing the bounds of their capability but had prepared as well as any other runner taking part. Hours and hours of training each week supervised by, accompanied by and, yes, sometimes bullied by, JR. All capable, but, probably dreading the Loch Lomondside stretch between Inversnaid and Beinn Glas more than most, they were determined to do their best.

Alarms rang all over the Vale of Leven and Dumbarton about 3.30am on Saturday 26th April 2008. Our D-Day had arrived and no turning back.

Texting “Taxi for Dawson” to ensure she was up, I picked up a very nervous Christine at 4.45. Alison next, then Trish. Hugh out to see her off (nice of him, maybe he thought she was going away for a fortnight) she was accompanied by a bread board, yes, a breadboard full of food. (Now I saw why he thought it was a fortnight) Some serious re-packing of the boot required. And off we went, reaching Milngavie to firstly, visit the Tesco toilet then meet up with the others for registration, photos and last minute preparations. We also met Brian Garry, who had done some training runs with JR and who was to run the first stage with Jim and Geraldine, his wife Lesley and lovely kids. Jim Drummond paid a visit with some last minute advice. (Treated with disdain as usual)

At 6am the 119 starters were off and running, into Milngavie town centre, Mugdock Park and all points north and west. I had gone off into the park to take some photos (that were dreadful due to low light and poor technique!) and came back to find one poor chap still getting changed in the car park. Turned out he had slept in and started 25 minutes late. Christine was really to feel good when he overtook her! Other than that and a few officials in the station building, the car park was deserted, so I got on my way and drove to the Beech tree Inn on the Aberfoyle Road.Whilst en-route the heavens opened. Poor me! I was going to get wet just supporting!

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