Alan Elder and Andy Cox took part in this year’s Birnam Hill Race. The race is 4.1miles with 1200 feet of climb. It is pretty much 2 miles up and 2 back down again.
Registration is carried out by Race Organiser, Adrian Davis, in the garden of The Birnam Guest House. Pleasingly informal – as registration should be!
Both novices at this one, Andy suggested a ‘wee reccie’ to get a look at the hill. Three quarters of the way up the initial steep climb and the hill is still not visible. By this point, Andy’s heart rate has raised by 3 bpm and I am wishing there was an oxygen kit nearby. Time to descend and get to the start line.
After a quick headcount, runners are off and make their way up the initial 2 mile climb. It just gets steeper and steeper. Andy is off among the front runners. I manage to run a reasonable portion of the climb but it is soon time to knee-pump. A further quarter mile or so of calf shredding steepness and the hill levels out - leading over King’s Seat and eventually peaking at a craggy outcrop above the ruins of Rohallion Castle .
|Heart rate around 205|
After a painful climb and places dropped, the next 2 miles are sheer delight. A fantastic one and a half mile downhill thrash, on firm farm roads, followed by flats and some minor undulations. I manage to pick up 20+ places from the crags to the finish- making up for a poor climb!
All in all, this is a great short run. Brutal climb but a really enjoyable second half to compensate!
(Pics courtesy of Fishy Gordon)
Coxy had a good outing and was 10th out of 113 runners and I was further down the field in 63rd – but hey…a PB!
We skipped the fish supper in favour of tea, cake and a toastie!
First lad Iain MacCorquodale
First Lass Mary Lye
I tackled the Deuchary Hill Canter the day after The Birnam Hill Race (The Dunkeld Double?)
The race is over 12 miles with 2300 feet of climb and to add to the pot, Adrian, RO, describes the condition as the wettest he has ever seen – due to melting snow.
Logistics are tricky and we are encouraged to car-share to the start. I hook up with Daniel, Iain and Mike from Falkland Trail Runners and we drive off to the start at Dunkeld House.
It’s a tad smirry at the start but not looking too bad between the clouds. We are given the off and are soon heading uphill. It’s a slight climb out of the estate and we are soon dodging our way through rhododendrons and then out on to a fantastic and runnable forest path that hugs the hillside. A few more forest paths through Rotmell Wood and Deuchary Hill is soon in sight.
It's mushy all the way to the top with broad patches of snow to tackle. I ‘compete’ with another runner to get to the top first. He gets there just before me – so the downhill chase is on. He knows some good lines, which I follow and am on his shoulder for a kilometre or so. I keep the pressure on and soon he pulls over and it becomes quickly evident that he had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Maybe pushed too hard on the uphill? Onward….
There are a couple of minor climbs but the majority of the second half is flat or downhill – with the last section on road – with a weird little twist through more rhododendrons before being ejected to the finish line.
I had a target of 2 hours for this run and was happy to get round in 1.57.
A good spread of soup, rolls and tray bakes back at Race HQ in Birnam Guest House garden.
Again – this was a really enjoyable run and one I would look to do again.
First Lad John Yells
First Lass Jill Stephen
(James Britton had a good couple of days at the office and was 3rd at Birnam and 2nd at Deuchary – top outcome on the double!)