Monday, 16 March 2015

The Deerstalker Old Stag Report

The Deerstalker is certainly a bit of a departure from the average romp over hill and glen. Mike, Colin and I were in the first of 3 waves to breenge forth on the dash around the 17Kish course - claimed as 10K... and... aye..that'll be right! The first half took runners knee-deep through mud and river and then a steep climb up over forest paths and on to a main forestry track before another climb to the middle section of Kite Wood. My calves and I were not on speaking terms at this point and only stopped burning as I hit the long downhill section that eventually led to an enormous cargo net (to prevent people spilling on to the B709) I managed to pass a good number on the decent - those and more- who had taken advantage of my scorched calves on the previous hill. Crossing the road and attempting a short short cut - Karma kicked in and I joined the mulch and branches - face first! Onward and through the second of the water crossing then along Leithen Crescent, where you are directed into Leithen Water for a further soaking. Spectators on the bridge cheered waders - and dippers even more! I took a chest-deep dip before exiting for the numb-legged slog up past Pirn Wood and the scramble to the base of 'Scree Mountain'.

The scree was attacked (probably more like 'approached' - but it is an adventure race!) with much grunting with many a bush and boulder cursed on the way to the summit. Another treacherous downhill and another opportunity to make up a few places. Zig-zagging through the wood to be met with a criss-crossing of ropes down a steep slope and then along the slippery sides of Leithen Water.

Out onto the main street again and the spectators lift the flagging flesh. The end is around a mile and half away. Through a field and back  to the bridge over the Tweed - then twice through the water - just because they can! Cramp is grabbing the backs of the thighs at this point and I find myself following a chap in a British Military Fitness T Shirt. He strays off course and collapses - He's OK and I rejoin the course. Back in the grounds of Traquair House and a scramble under the final cargo net, rope climb alongside another competitor, launch myself off the six-foot platform (it is a race after all) and sprint to the finish line - 94th and happy with it. Soaked and cooling rapidly, I grab my 'free' half pint and and head for the car with Mike - who has very kindly waited on me getting to the line.

Not sure if I would run it again...It is pricey and swimming in Leithen Water in March is verging on lunacy , but it is nearby and the support from marshals, locals and other runners was great.
linky thing

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