Being a Grand Prix Race, the Harriers were out in force.
10 Harriers and 3 “friends”: Kevin Anderson, Duncan Ball, Chris Downie, Tim Darlow, Tim Doyle, Kirsty Loudon, Sarah MacKechnie, Susie Maxwell, Carl Proctor, Stuart Sanderson, Janice Smith, Andrea Wilson, Rob Wilson.
The Dollar Hill race is a great mid-distance fell run. At 15kms (960m), it provides a nice challenge without completely wrecking you for days or even weeks afterwards. The weather was sunny, hot in the valley, with a stiff nicely cool south-westerly wind up in the hills.
The route starts on the small road just north of the Dollar Academy with an initial 500m sprint. For those wanting a good place, it is important to stay up front at this point as the zig-zag stepped path up through the Glen provides little opportunity for overtaking. I am not sure about the others, but Duncan, Sarah and I were well upfront at this initial stage in the race. On leaving the Glen, the path rises gradually (Tim and Stuart passed me around this point) and then contours a little until the route crosses the “Burn of Sorrow” – a well apt name in my mind for the ascent to come. The climb up to Saddle Hill and Whitewisp Hill seems never ending and is hellish. Probably one of the steepest ascents on any race – esp. the final stage up Saddle Hill. Going on all fours is likely a good technique here although I am sure Sarah was powering up in her usual gravity defying way. However, from Whitewisp Hill the route becomes highly runnable and some might say a “joy”. It always takes my legs a good half kilometre to recover from the steep ascent and I did feel a little wobbly at this point. However, at about the half way point, sometime after Tarmangie Hill, I looked behind to see Carl hot on my heels. I could not see Duncan, Sarah or Stuart ahead so the race was on to stay ahead of the Captain! I felt pretty good going up Andrew Gannel and on the final climb up to King’s Seat a quick look back told me that Carl had slipped back a little. All I needed was to keep the pressure up. From Kings Seat Hill, there is only way to go – down! For over 3 kilometres. Being drugged to my eyeballs with ibuprofen, I did not feel the grating and creaking of my knees or the snapping of my tendons as I plunged downwards trying to keep ahead of the runners behind. This is a long fast descent and by Bank Hill your shaking thigh muscles just want it to stop. Unfortunately, you plunge back into the Glen and have to negotiate the zig-zags and steps again. On hitting the road, my legs often cramp up. This year, they behaved, but that last 500 metres along the road seems the longest of the race. I crossed the line in 01:43:29 – not my best, but not my worst either, so no complaints.
Time and places (from 112 runners)
14th: 01:35:09: Duncan Ball – 2nd super-vet (yes – he has red underwear)
21st: 01:38:51: Tim Darlow
23rd: 01:39:25: Sarah MacKechnie – 1st woman!
31st: 01:41:34: Stuart Sanderson (or is it Samperso?) – sprained left ankle on final descent – he milked it well while stuffing his face with cake
37th: 01:43:29: Rob Wilson – ach – 3rd woman again!
41st: 01:45:27: Carl Proctor
67th: 01:54:15: Kevin Anderson
73rd: 01:56:55: Tim Doyle
86th: 02:03:53: Andrea Wilson (PB by over 6 minutes!!!)
89th: 02:06:34: Chris Downie
103rd: 02:15:28: Susie Maxwell
107th: 02:22:12: Janice Smith
111th: 03:00:35: Kirsty Loudon (not last :-))
Photos in the gallery :
[picasa width=”600″ height=”450″ bgcolor=”#000000″ autoplay=”1″ showcaption=”1″ user=”penicuikharriers” album=”es_DollarHillRace”]
So, what does this all mean for the GrandPrix. Well – results at this time are:
1st: Duncan – no one can touch this whippet!
3rd: Mike – but only 3 races ran. For me to stay second, I would have to beat Mike at Caerketton 🙁 – or get rid of him somehow :-).
1st equal: Susie and Andrea. Andrea only has 3 races under her belt so Susie is going to have to injure Andrea somehow to retain 1st place.
3rd: Sadie – who also has a chance to win if she gets 10 points at Caerketton.
SO – it is all still close. Last GP race – Caerketton. August 14th (not 7th).