I’ve been meaning to run Traprain for many years. I grew up in East Linton, and to my shame have never even climbed it – though I’ve walked that river path to Hailes Castle more times than I’d liked to think. Keith Burns of Carnethy is my best friend’s dad, and has been trying to persuade me to do it for years too, so his face was a picture when I finally showed up on Saturday, adorned in Penicuik Harrier vest, looking like I meant business! And I did – after all, Traprain is not for the faint-hearted and I was glad for those Harrier hill sessions I managed to pack in over the past two weeks! Had a great chat with fellow Harrier Chris Downie at the start line, who has done the race many times and gave me some pointers.
And what a day we got for it. East Linton Gala Day (of which the race is part of) is either scorching hot or tipping it down with rain (I should know, I’ve been going to them since I was Gala Queen in *mutters under breath*… 1988). And it was a scorcher indeed. About 20C with no wind. The race was at 3pm so it was still pretty hot as we set off – all 108 of us – a record entry for the race. There were a fair bunch of club runners there, mostly Carnethy and Hunters Bog Trotters. I set off at a steady pace, knowing I’d need to preserve energy for the sheer clamber up the Law. The river path was as dry as a bone and the dust from it got kicked everywhere. I was glad to get into the river at the crossing, which was mercifully low due to the run of good weather. A steep climb up the opposite bank led to a slow, steady incline up farm tracks and fields to the bottom of the Law. I was flagging a fair bit by this point, but grabbed the ropes that led up the far side of the quarry fence and dragged me and my soggy, heavy trainers up that hill! At the top I spied Bob Marshall and cracked the biggest smile I could muster despite barely being able to breathe, then took it steady till my heart dropped from my mouth back into my chest. I legged it down hill (I love down hill!) and broke out onto the road with as much power as I could, passing a few runners at last. The return along the river proved my sticking point and I got stuck behind a few runners as I tried hard to pass them on the narrow track (I really need to work on my passing etiquette, I’m way too polite!).
The heat had proved to much for one runner, however, who was pegged out on the river bank, with a Carnethy runner in attendance. The runner in front of me asked if he needed help but he said it was in hand, so I guiltily ran onwards. I heard later that he was OK but had a bad case of dehydration and needed treatment.
Coming out of the river path I tried to give it some welly, as I knew there was a Carnethy lass behind me who was trying to catch me up (she’d been on my tail since the top of the Law). The crowds from the Gala were much needed encouragement and I ran up School Road towards the finish looking for my friends and family who’d come to cheer me on. Just as I spotted my kids, Carnethy lass sprinted past me and finished a few seconds in front! Oh well, I had a great race and we patted each other on the back and congratulated each other.
I grabbed a much needed beer from the beer tent and pondered my time: 52:48 for a 6 mile hill race. Very happy with that. Keith Burns himself says I’d have beaten him by a minute if he’d been running! Now if I can just work on that passing etiquette for next year…
Chris finished in 58:34, which he says is a bit slower than his Traprain PB but still a great effort in that heat!
Full results here: http://www.carnethy.com/ri_results/traprain/tr_2013.htm