The 4.8km Batch Bash course (with nearly 1000 ft of ascent) was the driest I’ve ever known it. As we set off along the lane, runners’ feet were throwing up dust, adding to our already dry mouths. Once again a parked car caused an early bottle-neck, and from then to part way up the first scramble it was single file. From the top of the first climb we could already see the leaders, who’d made a much quicker getaway, snaking up the opposite hillside. The stream at the bottom (the Batch) was a pitiful trickle; then we climbed diagonally up a narrow path till we gradually slowed to a walk as the climb took its toll. What in previous years had been boggy quagmires, were this time mere soft patches to traverse, still though requiring some caution. Then we ran up to and around the golf course, steeply down on a narrow path where it’s hard to keep from sliding down the slope, finally a wide grassy run before we hit the last steep climb, which Nigel D might have called a grass-pulling slope, except there was only gorse and no grass. From the top it was basically a longish downhill to the finish, via a tricky steep drop onto the footpath leading to the valley floor. It’s this section where I keep expecting to hear the sound of flying feet as Gary speeds past, but not so this year. In 2016 he beat me by 14 seconds, last year it was 4 seconds, and this year I managed to stay ahead, finishing in 39.11 (5 seconds faster than 2016 and 2017), with Gary on 41.19. Unsurprisingly (really?) we were again the oldest two competitors. The race was won by Daniel Connolly in 25.42, leading home the first three runners who were all under 23.