Copyright 2017 - Dundee Roadrunners

Kathleen Greene & Neil Grieve

Fit as a Butcher's Dog they used to say 

 

which is not surprising given the number of years spent pounding the streets of Dundee, a hill at every turn.  When we were not doing this we were in the highlands, skipping thru the heather, fighting off the midgies and always coming off worst;  taking part in hill or cross country races,  breathing thru every orifice available to man; wading through rivers; disappearing into bogs, oh the joy!  thats why we joined Dundee Roadrunners.

 

There were so many races/challenges over the years from the Highland Cross to the Sri Chimnoy Peace miles in Edinburgh, Cross Country Castles Series, too many to mention.  There were 

 

* Personal bests/personal disappointments

* Winning the Selkirk Half Marathon, thanks to Neil without whom I may have given up!

* Myself not quite beating 70 mins and Neil comfortably beating 60 mins for the Club 10 miles

 

The challenges never stopped coming, I can vividly remember before our regular Tuesday evening 3 hills training run, the announcement of an annual race in Llanwrtyd Wells,  called Man v Horse (22 miles).   That sounds great says she, even though the furthest she had run so far was a half marathon.   Full of gusto a DRR team consisting of myself, Neil, Peter Wilson, Neil Duthie and John Kirkland signed up for the challenge and were soon setting off for the 10 hour drive to Wales, tents and sleeping bags in the boot.  It was a long journey and we began to wish we were tucked up at home. Finally we arrived, just in time to register for the race, at the local pub (how convenient) and following a couple of beers the journey was a distant memory.  It was late by then and we proceeded to set up our homes for the weekend in the grounds of the local Rugby Club.  In the morning the previous day's excitement had turned to trepidation or dare I say fear on my part at the prospect of a gruelling 22 miles.   However, before the race we were to experience the toilet and showering facilities, and being a Rugby Club they did not cater for the fairer sex, but the DRR ìgentlemenî came to the rescue and guarded the door as the ladies enjoyed their shower.

 

The race is part of the annual Llanwrtyd Wells Beer Festival in Powys and is a famous chase across the hilldsides involving several horses and extremely optimistic human pursuers.  The race was after all the idea of two local hostelry owners on a beer-soaked evening over a decade previously and now over 600 people race across 22 miles of Welsh countryside vainly attempting to prove manís superiority over the horse.  A horse has been beaten before but only by pedal power.  Mountain bikers also take part in the race and it was one of the bikers who broke the equine dominance of the event a couple of years previously, claiming a £5000 reward.  The prize money increases by £1000 per year until such time as the man beats the horse.

 

Following the opening ceremony conducted by Screaming Lord Sutch, an intrepid DRR team set off, through muddy forests,  river crossings  risking life and limb alongside mountain bikers and snorting, thundering horses.  Shouts of ìBike on your rightî, ìHorse on your left, saw us slithering off the muddy track while trying to stay upright, must hang in there despite being covered in mud from head to toe, still have a river to cross and a 4000m hill to climb, oh what fun !   Not surprisingly the horse won the day but the team were only too happy to complete the race still upright and retired once again to the pub to celebrate our great achievement (and Peterís big 40).  By the time we staggered back to our tents and sleeping bags we were talking about our next challenge and Dundee Road Runners were to return the following year with another 4 or 5 in members in tow.    

 

'The 25th year of the race was to see a man finally beat the horse and claim a massive £25,000 prize.'

 

Another race which has special memories for us is the Great Wilderness Challenge (fondly referred to as the Great Willie Challenge), 25 miles through the hills from Dundonnel to Poolewe taking in magnificent scenery with river and bog crossings.  We decided one year that it would be a good idea to cycle back home after the race (mad or what).  As everyone else set off home in their warm, comfy cars we packed up our tent and belongings and set off on our bikes.  Our route home took in Torridon now referred to as Midgie Heaven.  We were literally inhaling the little beasties as we tried to erect our tent.  The next morning I looked like elephant woman having been bitten from head to toe.  Neil being the gentleman he is said I looked fine despite me having had a laugh at his expense before seeing my own reflection.  Nothing else for it though back on our bikes and we made our way to Kyle of Lochalsh to catch the ferry to Mallaig, then on to Fort William where we caught a train to Rannoch Station. Our cycle then took us round Loch Rannoch and on to Aberfeldy, Dunkeld, Perth and finally Kingoodie, home sweet home, PHEW !, feel exhausted just thinking about it now. 

 

 

Every race has its memories and a few that spring to mind include 

 

* Peter Saul and his dead fly warm up regime! Does anyone else remember this ?

* The Aberdeen 10 mile race with Muriel and Peter Hume, remember the roundabout Peter?

* Sandra Westgate flashing her sexy undies at the boys after the Glen Clova Half Marathon!

 

 

We were proud to be members of Dundee Road Runners and to wear the blue & white vests wherever we went.  We are also very grateful to all who worked so hard to make the Club such a success and who were a great inspiration and support to us and would like to pay tribute to two special people, who sadly are no longer with us, John Quinn who kept us well shod over the years and Errol Galloway in his capacity as Bus Convener who ensured there was transport available to whichever race happened to be taking place.     We made so many friends over the years, and many remain so even if we are not in touch very often these days.

 

Happy Days,

Kathleen Greene & Neil Grieve :) :)

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