Saturday marked the first instalment of the East League, one of several trips we’ll be taking to Stirling’s place over the year. It was great to have a strong turnout of Haries, with freshers who are either brave, or no one told them it’s a gruelling course, and some of our orienteering friends joining the party.
The ladies were out first, with Louise emerging from the first hill as part of a leading group that only broke up towards the end of the 6km. She finished in a stunning time of 22.02 to take fourth lady home. Georgie continued her fine form to take 11th, followed swiftly by Amanda in 16th, grabbing the ladies second place on the day. Just round the corner, Beth, Franko and Sophie had a close fought battle throughout, separated by just 14 seconds at the line. Lise can’t stay away from Stirling, that’s two races in the space of four days. Happily, we’ll be back in just over a month to smash the Scottish Uni Champs. I didn’t get a chance to ask them, but I’ll assume Leda, Lizzie and Emily all had the best day ever. I know Becky had a blast because she wrote it on facebook, and Caroline had the energy not only to smile but wave on the way passed. She must be relieved to be out of that black and gold vest. Rachel finished off the ladies’ work for the day, but none of these fine achievements could come anywhere near that of pulling off such an epic start line photo. The boys are thinking about a human pyramid next time.
The men kicked off with the orienteers trying to put some distance between themselves and Butchart from the start. That pace was fierce. The biggest talking point though was Scott making the perfectly reasonable decision to race for hometown Falkirk, as we can’t compete in all of league’s fixtures. But that didn’t stop Bryson leading the boos from the crowd, nor me having a go at him now. Scott clearly hasn’t learnt anything from Judas, Lord Saruman or that Bond villain played by Sean Bean. His treachery saw him not only held off by Lawler, who ran a great race to 12th, but also get a massive, painful blister on his heel. The scythe of justice spares no one, Scott, you bastard.
Ewan came in next, closely followed by Elisha making a cracking debut, in 22nd and 24th. Alexander and Ali didn’t need maps for this one, but their experience on the hills certainly helped. Can someone have a word about those headbands though? JT held off a late Purkis charge, which Matty generously decided not to partake in. Henry was making his long awaited return, and afterwards said that he needs to get the ‘dirty miles’ in. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I don’t think it’s sexual. Tad and Calum brought our day’s racing to an end, in what I must add was a great atmosphere made by our wonderful ladies and dedicated support team.
There was one last bit of drama when Elisha came pretty close to missing the train home as he struggled to pick ingredients for the perfect crisp sandwich. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves to the utmost.