Chapter 116 – Boots Thump Cobbles

“Three, two, one. Go!”

We charge along the cobbles of Berkeley Street, akin to three prized bulls hurtling through Pamplona’s narrow streets towards ‘Plaza de Toros’. 

James Hogg and Moses McNeil’s pace is astonishing through Franklin Terrace and turning onto Dumbarton Road. Frustratingly they chatter, while I save every breath for my blood coursing through my arteries and veins. 

Strategy matters, tactics are everything, and youthful energy is often over-exerted in the first half of any race. The Gairloch boys are within fifty yards of shouting distance, as I remind them to run around the West of Scotland Cricket Ground and loop around Hamilton Crescent.

Our next venue is the Royal Botanical Gardens entered via Windsor Terrace, past the Hot-House and exiting via the curling pond onto Great Western Road. The chatter has silenced, as the Gairloch boys realise my Queens Park stamina is proving up to the test.

I think back through the map, which I used to devise my race plan: if my legs feel good at Lansdowne Church, then it is time to kick. This magnificent church looms to my left, as we turn onto Park Road. I glance right and left, smile to my younger competitors, summon all remaining energy and sprint towards West End Park. 

I know the finishing line is close enough.

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