|2006 Road Race Report|
For the second year in a row, the entry for Lasswade Athletics Club’s ten mile road race rose to a record level of just over 400. With races all over Scotland being cancelled at the weekend, including the Scottish Masters’ Cross Country Championship at Forres, many undoubtedly thought the Lasswade 10 race would also be a casualty of the snow. However, they did not allow for the tenacity of Colin Sheal (Race Organiser) and his intrepid team of helpers, Willie Gordon (course set-up) Dave Finlayson (results) and Drew Elliott who slaved away all day Saturday. With further help from John Brash, Ian Andersons and Brian Murray, on the morning of the race, the course was in tip top condition with the snow capped Pentlands making a picturesque backdrop. So by noon Sunday the sun even shone brightly for the 360 plus runners who turned up to contest the 23rd running of the Midlothian event which, despite a cool westerly breeze, was run in conditions perfect for road racing.
Right from the start on the Rosewell Road, four runners made a determined and fast start to try and dominate the race. Led by Moray Anderson (Corstorphine) and including Paul Arcari (unattached), Eric Riddle (Penicuik Harriers) and Andrew Little (Shettleston Harriers), these four continued to increase their lead down into Roslin Glen, where, just before the hairpin bend, at Powdermill Gate, first Anderson, then Arcari, stepped up a gear coming up the hill towards Roslin. By the time they were halfway along the back road past Oatslie towards Auchendinny at the three mile mark, they had opened a 40 metre lead on Riddle and Little, who continued with their own private tussle. Anderson again kicked strongly as the two turned down the hill into Auchendinny, but Arcari was equal to this and immediately responded and dug in behind the leader. At the same time behind them, Eric Riddle made a break from Andrew Little and opened up a fifteen metre gap, which he consolidated by doubling it in the next two miles to Auchendinny Mains Farm. Meantime, at the front, the cat and mouse game continued with Anderson testing the resolve of his fellow athlete by pushing hard on every slight incline to gauge the response and check for any sign of weakness or resolve. However, both runners still looked fresh as they turned back eastward towards Rosslynlee Hospital just after five miles and, with the breeze now on their back and a predominantly downhill five miles in front, the race to win stepped up and the pace increased significantly. At this point, Anderson took a five metre advantage but by the six mile mark at Firth Mains Farm they were virtually together again.
The first water station at 6½ miles saw the first real space of daylight between the first two. As the Anderson raced past the water point, Arcari hesitated long enough to grab a cup of water and sip a mouthful on the run, not long, but enough for the Corstorphine athlete, who, sensing the moment, put on a quick burst of speed to open the distance between himself and his opponent to forty metres – at this stage a significant distance. Showing great presence of mind, Anderson again kicked as he went briefly out of sight at the sharp right-hand turn at the seven mile mark and by the time Arcari was aware of this, his tormentor was fifty metres ahead and still running strongly. Despite this setback, Arcari reacted well and, although never again looking likely to close the gap, nevertheless tried hard as the pair raced down through Rosewell, but with half a mile to go he had to admit defeat in the run in to the recreation centre at Poltonhall, where he finished in a fast time (54:05), behind an excellent winner, Moray Anderson, whose winning time of 53:28 was one of the fastest recorded for the event.
Penicuik Harrier, Eric Riddle, continued his steady progress over Andrew Little of Shettleston Harriers to finish a good third. For the home club, Daryl Philip (11th) and Ben Mitchell (12th) were best, with the latter running particularly strongly in the second half of the race and turning a deficit of one minute at the halfway stage to only nine seconds at the finish, with Neil Rutherford (27th) third for the home club. First female runner was Fiona Mathieson (Falkirk Victoria Harriers), twenty-first overall, with a time of 61:20, from Megan Clark (41st) of Hunters Bog Trotters. Best for Lasswade in the women’s race was Wilma Kerr (128th), with a time of 73:09, while Johanne Turnbull was one minute and twenty seconds behind her. Carnethy won both men’s and women’s team prizes.
The athletes were extremely complimentary about the condition of the course in general and the efforts of the Midlothian club’s organisers who provided all round support for the runners, which included a “terrific feed” at the end. A typical expressed by one was, “……great scenery – a couple of hard hills but a good run viewed from the back of field. Sandwiches, home baking and a nice medal make this event a wee gem, it shouldn’t be missed.” Supported once again by BUPA Murrayfield Hospital Edinburgh and Midlothian Council, the presentations were made by Councillor Bob Jenkins who voiced his admiration for the athletes and his continuing support for athletics in Midlothian.
Want to aim for something – don’t miss next years’ event, scheduled for the first Sunday in March 2007 – BE THERE!!!