It was almost a year to the day since the last Bannerman 5k Race round Dawsholm Park took place. Andy had taken all the merit league points on that occasion but wasn’t around to compete this time.

I arrived to witness a sea of blue against the green backdrop of the park, with the club hoodies out in force keeping the mighty Harriers warm.

The race was contested by Caroline, Chris H, Craig G, Craig W, James, Kenny, Linda, Margaret, Mick, Scott and myself. Mick’s brother Joe came along to witness the premier league action.

Chris had instilled me as favourite and allocated me backup timekeeping duties. I wasn’t quite so sure of my favourite status as my legs and body were feeling pretty tired as a result of my marathon training.

We lined up ready for the off and waiting for the “on your marks…”, we were startled into the race with a single shout of “GO” from Joe. Craig W led us down the first descent and we followed Chris’ superbly signposted route – flour works much better than stripy tape tied to a bush! Up round the first corner, I passed Craig and with no Andy to chase down or lurking behind me, I settled into a comfortable pace.

It may have been cold but at least the ground was dry, which meant we didn’t have to contend with any slippy paths… only some steep climbs, stairs, fast downhills, loose gravel, and dogs.

I had a glance over my shoulder at the top of the climbs and towards the end of the first lap. I saw that I had a bit of space between Craig and I, who was being followed by Scott and Craig G. I held onto my pace and extended my lead over the 2nd lap to finish in about 20:50, over a minute quicker than last year’s efforts and I didn’t feel like I was going to die on my second lap – a sure marker of progress!

Craig W was next to finish about a minute later, followed by Scott, Craig G then Mick. We settled down to cheer the rest of the Harriers over the final lap, bearing witness to an epic battle between Chris, James and Kenny. There wasn’t much of a gap as they passed the final gate then Chris pulled away, appearing to have an unassailable lead heading into the final straight. James was having none of it though and pulled out a sprint of Bolt proportions to get onto Chris’ shoulder. Feeling James breathing down his neck, Chris kicked hard and finished strongly, dashing James’ efforts. Linda was leading the ladies but had to be convinced she had another lap of the grasslands to complete before she could be crowned champion and was followed by Caroline and Margaret.

A cracking day at the office for the Harriers with improved times from last year for Scott, Chris, Kenny, Margaret and I. Thanks to Joe and the collective effort of others to record the times – captured perfectly in these scribblings.

The course has its own segment on Strava, should you want to undertake some not so secret training for next year.

Results and rough timings:

1. Kevin Campbell 20:50 (Mens Champion)
2. Craig White 21:03
3. Scott Coulter: 22:34
4. Craig Gilmour 23:55
5. Mick 24:55
6. Chris Hever 26:43
7. James Prior 26:44
8. Kenny Henderson 26:56
9. Linda Sinclair 28:17 (Ladies Champion)
10. Caroline Hever 28:45
11. Margaret Peebles 29:19

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