So here I am once more, in the playground of the nervous starts*

This time last year I was lining up for the start of the Great North Run. I would have been very surprised if you had told me then that it would be a year before my next race, but that’s the way my cookie crumbled. The Murieston 6k Trail Race is the polar opposite of the Great North Run; but other than swapping 50,000 people for 50, roads for trail and razzmatazz for cameraderie, it was business as usual.

I was nervous. Not because I hadn’t run a race for a year, but because I made the mistake of checking the results of the 2014 event and deduced that this was a runners race, not a fun run. I checked the times and compared my best ever Parkrun, set last time out, in my heyday of Spring last year. Coming last was going to be a result. I had visions of a posse of runners heading off into the distance as I toddled along behind them like Tyrion Lannister on a pony following the Knights into battle (other dwarves are available).

Summer, which had been absent without leave for most of the year, was making a belated attempt to kiss and make up with Scotland. I went with short sleeves and shorts, and decided on using Brooks Cascadia trail shoes rather than road shoes. As it turned out road shoes would have been fine; the race follows well formed paths with a few steps, and in this weather it was bone dry and grippy.

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Clearly word had got around that this is a nice little race as numbers were well up on last year – 53 to be exact. Club vests dominated, with significant turnouts from Lothian and our hosts, Corstorphine, interspersed with a few homeless folks like me. After a brief delay to allow some folks to negotiate some well concealed roadworks and find the start at Livingston Cricket Club, we gathered on the road for a short briefing which mostly consisted of clarifying the distance (5.8k rather than 6k), apologising for the lack of mud and confirmation that the boardwalk section was not going to be slippy this year. I took up position at the back, and off we went.

After a short passage along the road we cut right, and entered Murieston Water trail. Despite my attempts to press hard I found myself near the back as the group began to string out. I swapped positions a couple of times with a guy in a West Lothian triathlon tee shirt as we made a slight decent to the path alongside a river. My Garmin beeped excitedly to tell me I was sub 8 for the first mile.

Mile 1 – 7:38

The route continued on alongside the river with a few bridges and steps to negotiate. There was a short boardwalk section with bouncy planks covered in chicken wire. I bounced along. It would have been wiser to run in the grass path alongside, and in the wet I imagine there would be no option. All directions were clearly marked in flour and the marshalling was impeccable with plenty of encouragement. I convinced myself that it was a short run and kept pushing.

Mile 2 – 7:48
Mile 3 – 8:08

My lungs were starting to complain as we made the short uphill at Robin’s way and turned back into the woods. By this time I was running on my own; a group of three runners was slowly pulling away about 100m ahead of me and I couldn’t see anyone close behind. A couple of twists and turns later and the road to the cricket ground popped into view. I heard the unwelcome sounds of a runner catching up with me and used all I had left in the tank, but he caught and passed me in the final straight (bastard;)).

I chatted for a while with Stephen Todd who came in 5th, and waited for the presentations (prosecco for the ladies and craft beer for the guys). No medals this time, but with a £8 entry fee nobody was complaining. All in all a great little race and the perfect way to get back into it.

Official Results Here

Time 28:51
Position 39 / 53 (74%)
Category 9 / 13

* apologies to any Marillion fans

  1. JuliaL49 says:

    Well done and welcome back!
    This seems like a very nice little race. Trails but no mud seems like a good way to ease into cross-country season

    • mockjogger says:

      Thanks Julia, and nicely done at the Highland Perthshire mara. I must look up some cross country events. It’s back on the road for me next – the Great Scottish Run half mara.

  2. StephenT says:

    Nice to chat to you, hope to see you soon at another one. Nicely set-up race and a nice friendly bunch of guys too. Good luck with your races