Last year I spent a great weekend participating in the Annan Festival of running. This event consists of 4 races run over different distances and terrains over 3 days. On Friday evening, there is a mile track race followed, after a short break, by a 3.75mile cross-country race. Saturday morning brings a handicapped <6-mile road race and the festival finishes on Sunday morning with a short sharp hill race. Everyone's time is age-sex graded,so making the competition wide-open, with everybody pushing right to the line in every event.
The runners before their mile race
This year, I wasn't able to take part in the festival but I went along to help the organisers, and what better way to spend a sunny Friday evening than cheering/encouraging/timing your clubmates, friends and rivals on the track?! I was then inspired to run my own lonely timed mile while the others were away caking themselves in mud on the cross-country run.
One of the best things about the weekend is the banter and atmosphere........and another is the food provided after the hill run on Sunday. I missed seeing everybody finish racing up and down Hind Hill, but made it to Moffat in time to see the presentations - as the Festival was won overall by the awesome 75yr old Jim Buchanan for the 8th time - and to eat up all the leftover food and cake!!!
The highlight of the weekend was yet to come, as Moffat was also holding Scotland's first ever sheep racing competition that very day. Could you think of a better way of banishing the Post-Olympic Blues? We headed down to the High Street (along with about 3500 other people) to watch the races being held to celebrate Moffat's heritage of sheep farming and the woolen industry.
The Moffat Races!
There were several heats as the sheep (complete with custom-made knitted jockeys) raced down the high street, before the winners went head-to-head in a grand final at the end of the afternoon. Before placing your £1 bet, you could see the sheep in an enclosure by the start, but unfortunately for our friendly sheepstake, my "Lady Ba-Ba" lost out in a sprint finish to both "Sheepshank" and "Sheepshape" (I just hope the losers didn't end up near the stalls selling lamb chops!!).
The day proved so popular that there was talk of making it an annual event, and even of extending it over 2 days, though whether the reigning champion Lingonberry will return to defend her title is unknown!!