The horn sounded and the race began. I was towards the front of the crowd, and we surged between two traffic cones where the timing mats were placed. For the first time, the Dundee Templeton race was chipped.
It was a cold morning. I wore my Saucony shoes, and the same clothes as I'd worn for the Run of the Mill race: wool socks, running shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, light gloves, and a head band. It was sunny, and there was frost on the ground.
The first mile was largely downhill and came in at 6:27. The race is almost entirely on country roads, with a short stretch through the woods to the finish line.
I wanted to try and keep up with A., a friend from my local running club. He's generally a much faster runner than me, but I was hoping to push a little today.
Two came in 7:36. I fell in with a woman who was doing the race for the first time. I warned her to save something for the upcoming hills.
Three had a climb, and came in at around 7:40. Although it was cold, I was starting to sweat.
Mile four included a substatial climb. I shortened my stride, and tried not to lift my legs too much. It came in at 8:50.
The route levelled out a bit, and I tried to pick up the pace. I wanted to see if I could catch A., who hadn't been in view since mile 2.
I passed one runner, then another. There was a runner in a green shirt ahead of me, but he was passing people as well, and I couldn't make any ground on him.
Five came in at 6:52. Miles six and seven had long downhills, and came in at 6:42 and 6:44, respectively. I passed two more runners here.
Mile eight was flat, and slightly into the wind. I missed my split here, and after the climb back to the woods in mile nine. I passed two people who were walking in these last two miles.
The route went through the pine trees, but there was a slight uphill. I passed on last runner with 800 meters to go. With 400 meters left, I began sprinting.
I crossed the line in 1:11:34. I was 38th out 235 runners. I never did catch A.
The days are short now, and the sun is low. The larch tree in our backyard (back garden) is bright yellow, but losing its needles quickly.