Upon arriving at Inverness Leisure Centre’s main gym hall, which by then was crowded with Santas of all ages, shapes and sizes, I registered and was handed my number. I could not have been happier with the lot.
The race itself was fun, even though, one may argue, it was declared not a race, but a fun run. Not having competed in anything for a while I chose to race nevertheless. 400+ Santas were escorted to the start and 1pm on the dot we were off. I’d say 10% of contestants threw themselves right in it. I made sure I got close to the top bulk quickly and ran behind for the first 2km. Then I stepped it up and got in line with the guys in the lead. Who were around twelve to fourteen, running at top speed.
It would have been doable to overtake one speedie wee man (I doubt I could have outrun the other one), but I didn’t want to snatch the triumph and he was impressively fast. Instead I ran at close distance, resisted the temptation to say “I won’t run past ya!” when he looked back. The last 500m of the course was a tartan track with a big blow-up gate at the finishing line. Making the most of it, in (no longer) juvenile carelessness I gasped “So, are you up for a final sprint then?” Answering “sure” the fellow redcoat two decades my junior took off, I kept up for a bit but let myself fall behind on the final 100m.
Getting a prize for being the first adult almost didn’t feel like getting the consolation prize, it was a fun run after all and fun was had. Along with a medal there were of course proud kisses from the fanclub (aka the family) and wee T was only mildly disappointed that two young boys beat me to it.
As we walked homeward through town I was stunned by yet another prodigy performance. There are always buskers out on the streets, but mostly playing bagpipes, the fiddle and sometimes accoustic guitar, so I didn’t associate what came to my ears with a live performance at first. A small amplifier blasted the notes of Cliff Burton’s signature solo “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” into the cold winter air, the guy nailing the better part of it was 14, 15 at the most. I dropped my jaw, and some coins into his case and let him know that I strongly approve of his choice of song. Had my faith in youth needed to be restored, this Sunday afternoon would have done the trick.