This was one of my first hill races from back in 2013, so I was looking forward to doing it again six years on. We met up at the Penicuik Centre at 12:00 to see how many cars we’d need. Since there was just five of us it was fine to all go in Sadie’s car and the drive only took about half an hour. There were some new arrangements for parking this year, so once we had sorted that out there was about a ten minute walk to the hill from registration, where there was a kit check.
The race starts at 2:00, so we had plenty of time. It was very muddy but my inov-8s were fine for it, it was my legs that felt like they didn’t have much in them as I tried to keep some momentum up the hill. The forecast was for quite bad rain, so we were very pleased that it held off till after the race. There’s quite a few false summits, but I knew it was a four mile race so wasn’t taken in by any of them. There was good visibility for most of the way but got quite misty at the top. As the fast runners started careering back down the hill, it’s important to keep a good eye on them as I clambered on the way up, to avoid any collisions at full speed as they come down. At one point a guy slipped in heavy mud after leaping down above me and only just managed to correct himself as he veered out of control towards me just to the side of a lot of rocks. With a sigh of relief I headed onward and was quite aware I was not going very fast and would not be getting a PB on this run.
There’s a big trig point at the top which you run around the back of, just a bit below the top. There was some fantastic views on the way down, but could only glance up for a second to avoid tripping on the rocks. It’s an easy craggy path all the way up, so no chance of taking a wrong turning. It was very muddy towards the bottom section of the hill and we splashed on towards the end.
We headed from the finish to where registration was and got a free cup of very nice soup which warmed me up before going up to see Des get his prize for first over 50 runner.
A great race which I’d highly recommend to anybody of all levels of hill running.
Des Crowe: 00:36:56
Adam Gray: 00:40:11
Sadie Kemp: 00:53:04
Mark Dawson: 01:00:28
Gilly Marshall: 01:01:53