On the 7th of May thirteen Hares and Hounds headed to Stirling to tackle our annual hill race and the last race of the Des Gilmore Cup. Accompanying the team were the president himself (Des) and the clubs temporary official photographer Oli Seglah, although after a strong performance a more permanent deal may be negotiated.
A wet and windy day had helped get the course to its muddy and boggy best. The race start of 7pm gave time for the weather to clear and we were greeted with perfect running conditions. A first hill race for many, the camp was buzzing with nervous excitement.
A large field of over 340 gathered on the start line and after a quick game of “who’s not wearing Inov8s?” (courtesy of Fiona), we were off. The first 400 yards involved a mad dash for position before the course narrowed from a wide road to a thin forest track and then an even thinner hole in a wall. The wooded section provided a goody bag of steep slippy climbs, burn crossings and some flatter sections. After clambering over a stile the course opened to the boggy, rocky, open moorland of the hill. The trail weaved its way to the summit, crossing hard packed ground, stodgy bog and plenty of boulders to keep you on your toes.
Turning at the summit runners were treated to a tear inducing head wind rendering eyes almost useless for the beginning of the descent. Those near the front enjoyed a game of “dodge the poor souls still battling up”, whilst those nearer the back played “stay out of the way of the out of control eejits”. The lucky people in the middle got to play both! The decent was over in an exhilarating, sometimes terrifying flash and before we knew it we were back on the tarmac road racing to the finish.
After battling it out across the course Alastair Thurlbeck had the legs to stretch ahead of Mark Sutherland on the final straight, finishing 16th in 38:36 with Mark close behind in 18th with 38:42. Simon Gardner made up the top 3 coming in at 40:27. Adam Stark with 44:15, Ben Mclellan with 48:00, Alistair Little with 49:18, Andrew Foggo with 50:29, Duncan Ng with 1:04:32 and Kin-Kwok Lai with 1:33:16 completed the men’s team with a strong presence throughout the field!
Ellie Waugh capped of her debut year with the club by coming in first for the woman in 56:58. Kirsten Somerville completed her first race after returning from injury in 1:03:03. Fiona Mcgruer made big inroads in her time from last year with 1.11.32 and Sara Cameron defied recent injuries with a 1.13.49.
A great showing from the Hares and Hounds during a stressful exam period! Well done everyone, until the next hill race…