The last in the summer series of Shropshire fell races heralded the move towards autumn. As the Long Mynd range came into view as we drove north, so we saw the hills shrouded in low cloud and sure enough, as we assembled at the start the drizzle began. Gary, knowing he had to beat me by 15 or so places for the series title set off at the front of the field (but behind Andy, who was up with the leading bunch) and hit the hill a good 50m in front of me, and when it came to walking as it got even steeper he was still some way ahead. By the top (and have a look at Andy’s agonised face to see how demanding it was – photos of Tom, Gary and me weren’t published [too distressing?]), I was in front but not commandingly so, with a run down beyond, before the climb above Callow Hollow, and another descent, where Gary could well fly past me. By now the drizzle had left us all plastered, with shorts and tops clinging to our bodies. The run down along Callow Hollow to the last climb up to the summit of the Callow was hasardous, as the drizzle on eyelashes further complicated the avoidance of slippery rocks and places where the narrow path was giving way. Once we cleared the lower slopes, the route was more open and I was able to pass some who were beginning to struggle, arriving at the top with a gaggle of three over 60s (one of whom was Keith Richards – a Rolling Stone?), a ‘youngster’ and myself. The run down to the finish began well over grass and heather, but once onto the steep path with loose stones I was less sure of my grip and lost time to the more nimble, and more reckless.
The race was won by Daniel Connolly in 26.17, one of three under 23s in the top 5. Andy, holding off three other runners, finished 7th (29.22), and was probably half way home by the time we three old codgers crossed the line. I was 73rd (42.13) (1st over 70, and 1st in series), Gary was 84th (44.39) and Tom 99th (48.10), with 115 finishers.