“What a good doo” – The race was a great success this year with 43 people competing for the coveted prizes; weather conditions were good with water flow in the river moderate!
I was not going to run this year but as Bob Webbs (Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC) representative on campus I thought I had better turn out, Bob was keen for me to do the run as he was indisposed, no doubt when he hears about the fun we had he will compete next year come what may! - I found out that Jonathan Cowens is an accomplished marathon runner but when he found out about the course and the competition he refused a free entry, he will need to work on his fitness for this year to be in with a chance!
I have been preparing for the race for over a week, I only missed half of Tom Karas (forestry lecturer) fitness session on Monday evening and never went near the pub at all last weekend, all things considered I reasoned I must be near my peak (not sure what peak – but I must be near it) and as well prepared as I could be.
I lined up on the grid and wondered what I was doing there, everyone was doing stretches and limbering up, It looked good so I thought I had better do the same – This was when I realised that the mind might be fit but the body was lagging somewhat behind, Alison Halliday then gave me a raffle ticket but did not ask for money, by this point it was too late, I had unwittingly signed on for the race!
Before I knew what happened someone shouted go (I was listening for the gun) and I was almost swept off my feet as everyone rushed off to the first marker, this was it, I had no alternative but to run, had I stopped I would have been crushed underfoot – I found myself past the first marker looking for the big bush that a previous Principal who shall remain nameless used to hide behind until the first runners came into sight on their way back, I am pretty sure Andrew Treadaway (forestry lecturer) has cut it down so I could not cheat.
The next hazard was the mud at the riverbank gate (I was sure I had tied my right trainer on properly - but obviously not) – by the time I had sorted this out I had lost time and a few more places, the next hazard was the river which was to be crossed, with much encouragement from the banking I staggered across, slipping and sliding on the riverbed – By the time I navigated my way across the river Rob Paterson (engineering lecturer) was a spec on the horizon (at one time I had considered offering to be pacemaker for Rob – the lost trainer kiboshed that – sorry Rob you could have won had I been able to help you)
I staggered on to the fish farm seriously considering giving up, Fergal Downes (fish farm manager) was on hand marshalling and managed to convince me that there was a pub at the top of the hill so I thought I should make a special effort, I ran on by the fish farm cottage doing the best I could to encourage students who passed me to “walk” – as usual they did not listen and left me in their wake, I found myself at the bottom of the hill and reasoned that now was a good time to walk, I could not believe it when Tom Karas whipped past me on the hill – Thinking about the pub at the top I thought I should stick with Tom who is a seasoned sportsman, if anyone could get me up the hill Tom could – we lost 5 minutes looking for the pub, I must have mistaken Fergal’s directions!!
Tom and I sprinted? Down the hill managing to overtake a few students (Rob – Getting them to wear boots and boiler suits was a good move) It was only when I got to the road that I realised I had made a mistake running with Tom as he stopped me cheating by using a shortcut through the nettles, as I was running down to the fish farm I must have been getting tired and delirious and was looking for somewhere to stop when Stevie McKillop (fisheries lecturer) asked me for my raffle ticket, when I handed it to him I am sure he said I was winning, so I thought “I cannot give up now” and staggered on to the riverbank, into the river where I managed to put my foot in a hole and fall over a stone at the same time (please do not worry as the bruising will fade by the weekend) – what spurred me on was the cheering and laughter?? from the bank after my graceful river crossing.
Heading back along the walled garden I worked out that if I got my body angle right by leaning forward my legs would follow – I was doing fine at my own pace when I heard the footsteps behind me, you have guessed it – Tom Karas again! - Thanks Tom I could have hurt myself if I had fell on my face, Tom and I sprinted?? to the finish managing to overtake some students along the way – At this point I was disappointed as I realised that I had not won, there were too many relaxed competitors who had been finished for a while ( Lindsey Ferguson had not even broken sweat – amazing!) Stevie must have been kidding me about winning!
The winning time was 18 minutes, I finished in 25 minutes, if you consider the time lost putting my trainer back on and the five minutes lost looking for the pub I was definitely “on the money” and just to show I am not a bad loser I will say no more if Fraser shares his winnings with me – I also suspect marshal's were closing gates for me and opening them for others, we need to watch this next year, as I say I am not a bad loser!!
Sincere thanks to all staff who participated and those who encouraged their students to take part, it was great fun (really?) – Special thanks to Alison, Tom and Pearl for the extra effort they put in, the Barony race is a great tradition and it is fantastic to see staff and students enjoying themselves so much, I would also like to thank Karen for presenting the prizes, after approximately 15 minutes from race conclusion I was able to speak again, Rob led the charge for the staff coming in 3rd, if I had my act together either Rob or I would have won!!
I am aware that staff are already training hard for next years event spending endless hours in the gym, I cannot reveal who (Laura and Sheila) but would encourage you all to get involved, the fancy dress and the effort the students made this year won them a well deserved prize.
Thank you – and well done all!
By: Drew Easton - Dean of Barony Campus & Senior Tutor