Inter-counties fell running, and race 1 in the British Mountain Running Challenge series which is one of my targets this year.
I thought a medal was a good target - challenging but attainable.
Andy Douglas went flying off at the start, and I was in the chasing group up the first climb. I had a plan which I stuck to, which was basically to not get into the red until the last part of the last climb. Already at the top of the first climb, Andy, Max Nicholls and myself had a bit of a gap, and we were all fairly close (5s between each). This stayed around the first loop, and coming down into the arena run through. My back started to stiffen up again on the rapid descent, as I was hoping it wouldn't.
Max put in a huge effort on the next climb to almost get on Andy, but he had underestimated the remaining climbs, and I stuck to my plan - keeping about the same distance from Andy, but gradually reeling in Max.
The last real climb was short and steep, and I knew there was only fast running after that, so I put in a real burst to get past Max (who was really slowing) and hopefully crush his spirit! I was pretty worried about my back on the last section, so I was hoping to avoid a sprint finish. I also got pretty close up behind Andy again, only about 10s at the start of the descent.
The last 2km was mostly gradual downhill on a smooth-ish grassy path, and for the first km I felt like I was gaining on Andy, but then he seemed to kick into another gear and pulled away a bit again. With 600m to go it kicked up again with a small climb, and I knew I wasn't go to catch Andy, but I had to put in some effort to make sure I didn't give Max a sniff.
Very happy with 2nd place, and happy not to be too far behind Andy. Hard to say how close to his best form he is at the moment, but at least I think he had to work for the victory.
The mighty Scotland Central unfortunately failed to field a full team with a late drop-out, but at least we had 2 individual medals with Catriona getting a bronze too.