Race day – shortened to ~16.5 km – north of peak was deep snow drifts – see map.
Including “detour”: 17.3km
Well, this was a race for all you cross-country runners. A nice mix of woodland tracks and forest roads with a short final technical ascent and descent. More climbing (640m) than descent (550m) however!!
The race started at the Dunkeld Hilton – where I am sure a more organised person would go into the Spa afterwards. Start conditions was glorious sunshine and spring weather – conditions were cooler on top!
The route steadily climbed through a network of tracks for the first 3.5 kms and then levelled off until ca. km 8. Above ~250m, the tracks were in snow, so much of the race was a little hard going although it helped not being first as the snow was well compacted. The ascent of the first few kms really sucked the energy out of me so by km 9, I was finding it really tough to keep the next person in sight. The course was quite convoluted (although well marked) and although I had a map, I thought it best to follow the Carnethy runner in front of me. This has served me well in the past. Well, the lemming approach to running did not work this time and around 10kms, I came around the corner to find a whole huddle of runners debating where they had gone wrong. Bugger! So we all backtracked to find the turn off for the final ascent (which was quite obvious!!). Overall, we only ran about an extra kilometre (see map above), but our places and times undoubtedly suffered. There is a moral to all of this I am sure!!
The descent off Deuchary Hill was a steep snowy rocky mess and was a lot of fun. As my knees are behaving at the moment, I actually passed quite a few people on this section – I guess most of them had “passed” us when we took our little detour. Once back down on the main track, the last 6 kms was a mad sprint along a forest road. My legs are just not designed for this type of running anymore and this really drained me and frustratingly, I lost a couple of places. I guess I should do more Tuesday night training!!
Anyway, I crossed the line in 1:45:54. Probably 5 minutes longer due to the “detour” than it should have been. The style of race meant that my pace (6.08 min/km) was substantially quicker than similar races (e.g. Dollar (7.03), Lomonds (7.11) etc) so it was a great race to force me to run that little bit quicker than normal. I am however a tad achy today :-).