Saturday, 31 July 2010

Dollar Hill Race 2010

Managing narrowly to avoid a deer on the road up to Dollar, I arrived in good time for the Dollar Hill Race. I hadn't ran in the Ochils before and was looking forward to a busy afternoon.
This year a counter for the Scottish and British championships it was sure to attract those from far and wide and sure enough there were cars stuffed into every available corner and crevice with folk doing the back seat shuffle with their gear, pins and bumbags.

The setting in a picturesque and rarefied atmosphere of Dollar Academy was excellent and after pulling on the Hawks vest and meeting a couple of clubmates, I warmed up half heartedly on the cricket pitch, knowing that with 3500ft and 9.4 miles of climbing ahead, I would soon be quite warm enough thank you.

I had put on my garmin and heart rate monitor for a change and was interested to see it shoot up from 60 to 175 bbm once around 200 of us took off up the tarmac road for half a mile before climbing into the woods. From then on it settled down and I focused on the 100 or so runners ahead.

It was like a maze of ants in the woods with a carnival of coloured vests weaving their way up the wooded glen via a number of paths and tracks. I recognised a Moorfoot and a Bellahouston runner but no-one else in the immediate vicinity as we all jockeyed for position. The vista then opened out onto the main climb which took us up and up over thick reedy grass and sedge. I had decided to take the first quarter easy and fell into line at the pace of the runner in front as congestion ahead meant you either left the path or followed the crowd.
After a long slog which involved some handwork and scrambling , we were up in the clouds and the clag came in.

It was cool and I started to make some progress, passing 5 or 6 along the green spongy paths. I dared to look at the garmin again when I felt we had done 4 or 5 miles and to my horror it read only 2.9 miles. At 5 miles I reached for my gel. My jerky efforts to open it meant it burst open and half the contents exploded onto my face and hands and vest. I took what was left as I caught Ali Raw (Bingley) and said 'hi', probably with gunge dripping down my face like something from 'Ghostbusters'.

There was one last almost runnable hill before the descent began and I was going well now, mopping up another 6 or 7 runners on the downhill. I saw the Moorfoot runner ahead and managed to get past him. It was quite a technical descent in places and required determined concentration. Meanwhile the gel had dried on the side of my face rendering my grimace a permanent feature.
Just before the top of the wood, I was passed by a long striding Lomond but stayed with him passing 4 in a desperate chase through the narrow paths in the wood. When we emerged at the bottom with half a mile to go I had no more go-juice and the 4 who I had passed in the woods passed me immediately as I trudged in a mashed state over the tarmac to the finish.
Had the craic with a few before high tailing it south. Time 1:32:24 for 83rd place. 250 ran. Dundee Hawkhill finished 11th team of 65. Quite respectable really.
(Results on the Scottish Hill Running site soon. )

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