Going Hillbilly Today.
5th March 2017. Dalmellington, Ayrshire.
I have signed up for some trail running to keep me from gaining my weight in pizzas over the offseason in cyclocross. I think a lot of people stick to racing bikes, be it MTB enduros or slicks and race on the road. For Clare and me we are going to the hills. Racing in some hill runs and cross country events. Hillbilly 10km race is to be our baptism of fire with the running folk.
During sign in, they have a slideshow of the course playing on a big tv. There was also a large map on the wall showing the terrain. Both these were a great help, as it meant we could see how the course would pan out today. These two things were new for me at races, it was an excellent idea. The slide show would be a good idea at cross races, showing the course features, if it could somehow be rigged up.
After the race briefing, we head down to the start line just outside the gatehouse. The race begins after the hooter at 11 O’clock, and 138 runners are off at all different speeds. I managed to get quite close to the front before the start, with a fast pace I soon move up the groups and roughly am about 20/30 position as we run along the canal side. Think we run approximately 3km before the road turns up, with the gradient going up it also begins to turn rougher underfoot.
The first hill of the run is up and along a farm type road then makes way to a muddy path with some good amount of muddy puddles to splash through. This is more of the terrain I have been running on and more enjoyable than the first 3km along the flat tarmac. Splatter my way to the top of the hill, and now it’s time to not fall on my arse as I hit the descent. I always thought this would be the easy bit of hill running, it’s not! I am too busy concentrating on not standing on ankle breakers of rocks and dodging the mud to think about how fast to run going down.
No rest at the bottom of the hill, as soon as I get down there the next hill begins. Head back up the hill, more of a nature trail path we follow winding all the way to the top. Great encouragement from the local army cadets marshalling the course. What goes up must come down. Descend down a very potholed access road past some stables (lift to the finishing line on the back of a horse could be good).
Last km now. Cross the road and clip the kerb, sending me sliding on my knees along the grass. The guy behind me overtakes while stifling a laugh. I get back up from the mud and begin the chase along the nature trail. I can hear the cheers as the front runners take the line. I know I am close now as I see the bridge over the canal, round the bend and I am on the home straight. Try to get my tired legs up for a sprint for the last few hundred metres to cross the line.
My 10k race is complete. Collect my little finishers medal and down some much-needed glasses of water. I crossed the line in 47 minutes, coming in at 33rd position out of 138 participants. Clare crossed the line in 61 minutes and in 91st place. A great run in 10 layers of running tops!
Bring on some more Hills.