The Mighty Deerstalker

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day and, despite the fact I was going to be racing in the evening, I just couldn't drive past Glentress and not stop for a quick ride. I promised myself I'd just have a quick ride round the blue route but it was so much fun I couldn't resist going and doing the last bit over again. They build the trails really well there and have added loads of fun stuff over the last year. Lots of technical steps to get you thinking (and practicing!) and lots of fun downhill sweepy stuff where you're off the ground effortlessly. I'm finally learning to jump (woohoo!).

Ate some sandwiches then off to Traquair house for the Mighty Deerstalker race. I had a bit of spare time and offered to marshall at the 5k race which mainly involved stopping traffic (the power of the fluorescent vest) and shouting encouragement. The course was pretty tough so people were still coming through 1.5-2hr into it. Usually with mud up to their chests, big smiles and in some cases some very bizarre outfits (batman, tutus, wigs, antlers and mustaches all featured).

After I'd finished marshalling it was back to race HQ to get changed and catch up with lots of friends. The adventure racing community is normally quite small (and perfectly formed!) but the Deerstalker this year attracted around 1500 people. Who'd have thought there's so many crazy psychos in the world?

The race started at 5.30pm on what was one of the most glorious evenings of the year so far. A mad sprint over some haystacks was followed by a dip in a smelly bog then a brutal 'run' uphill, next to the Innerleithen bike trails. On reaching the top we had some balance beams to walk along, lots of downhill running on the trails (bermy, sweepy, fun and steep), a disco in the woods (flashing lights and rave music) and then wading through a river for 10 min. Then it was another calf-burning climb on scree to the top of a second hill with some awesome running downhill on the grass. I managed to overtake loads of people on this stretch which is really great for morale - overtaking whilst putting in no effort and having fun is definitely a good thing. Normally when I run with 'proper' hill runners I envy their mountain goat approach as they come fleeing down the mountainside. I must be learning!

Several rivers, steep descents and muddy paths later, I came back into Traquair house gardens in the pitch black. Not sure why I didn't realise I had my head torch on upside down - just kept asking myself why they'd design something that only lights up the sky rather than the path in front. Hmmm. Had to crawl under a cargo net (not easy with a backpack on) and came in on 2hr6. The longest (and most fun) 10km I've ever done!

Didn't manage to stay awake for much of the party but I'm told it was good. Was great to see so many people enjoying getting muddy and catching up with friends. The costumes were amazing (maybe I should have done a better trawl of the charity shops) and I'll look forward to it next year. Was fun to marshall as well but much more tiring than you think it should be. I think I should have tried to set off a bit faster or at least started nearer the front rather than the middle. I'm just so used to thinking I'm a middle of the pack racer who completes rather than competes but, given that I spent most of the race chatting, I obviously wasn't trying hard enough! I'm hoping that will change in time for the Heb and I'll find my 'go faster' buttons...

Had a very short bike ride at Glentress on the Sunday, just to make the most of it but was nice to get a shower when I got home. Camping in Scotland in March is never toasty and the lovely clear skye, although giving us stunning views during the race, meant it was freezing at night. Went to AM's for a lovely dinner. Poor Neil was ill so I had to 'make' myself eat his dinner too :)


trio said…
Sounds a fab race!
Elizabeth A said…
Definitely one of the best and completely worth doing

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