The Mighty Deerstalker

Another weekend of fine running from the Hare and Hounds was had this week, with some jetting off to Antrim for Inter Countries XC and others staying closer to home for some muddy multi-terrain racing. In all cases, huge success was had.

Starting in chronological order, park run down in Cramond proved popular amongst H&H members, with three of our runners heading down there for the criminal 9am start.

Sam Woods was the first Harie home in a time of 15:51, 35seconds faster than his previous Park run PB and enough to take 2nd on the day. Calum Murray was next across the line, finishing in a time of 16:59, earning him 4th place in his first park run. Scott Wallace came in soon after Calum to bring the team home in 18:46 for 34th place.

With that flying start, It’s over to Antrim International XC where no less than three current EUH&H members where competing in the Home Countries XC, all representing Scotland. Mhairi MacLennan and Steph Pennycook both ran in the junior women’s race, finishing 5th and 13th respectively, helping Scotland to a 2nd place finish in the team race!

Michael Crawley was our 3rd athlete at the event, racing in the senior men’s race on his International debut. And a fine debut he made, coming in 18th and 1st Scot by a margin of 10 seconds.

We also had representation at the inaugural Ben Gullipen hill race in Callander, with John Yells finishing 9th in a time of 57:07

With the more serious racing out of the way, we head back over to the mainland and the Scottish Borders where no less than 13 intrepid Haries tackled the Mighty Deerstalker.

The organisers claim that the “10km” route is one of the hardest multi-terrain races the UK has to offer, taking you up near vertical scree slopes, down treacherous wooded mudslides, through ice-cold rivers and water hazards with obstacles such as balancing beams and crawling nets chucked in throughout the course. This is all compounded by the fact the race is done in the twilight hours of the day, meaning this challenging terrain is predominately done under torchlight. To make the event that little bit more challenging, the event organisers also encourage folk to do the race in fancy dress, a tradition that we wholeheartedly embrace. This year was no exception, as the following image demonstrates:

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Over to the race, in which we all started in the 1st wave at 5:45, meaning we could make the most of the remaining daylight. After a brief safety briefing from the organisers, the race was off, starting in the majestic grounds of Traquair and into a boggy field with the first water crossing. From here, the route climbed up a downhill bike track, except cutting through all the hairpin bends to make for a bit of a lung-busting hill. The views from the top however where stunning, looking across Innerleithen and the Tweed Valley. From here we descended down a rather treacherous stretch of mud through a pine forest that took us to the bottom of the valley, from which we had to ford a way across a river into the village itself.

After a small section of tarmac, it was back into the drink, for a 300-400m stretch of slippery river bed against a relatively strong current of barely above freezing water. Straight out of the water we started to ascend again, this time up a sheer hill face followed by a large section of scree. By this point it was properly dark, just in time for a slippery grass descent off the top of the hill on rather tired legs, yay. Slippy grass turned to steeper, slippy-er mud descents, so steep the race organisers had put out some abseiling ropes for people to get down safely! From here, the route took us back into Innerleithen and into fields that took us back to Traquair house. This didn’t mean we were home and dry though, with 2 or 3 waist deep water tunnels along the final stretch ensuring all participants could no longer feel their legs, let alone feet. Upon re-entering the Traquair estate, competitors where then met with the 3rd or 4th crawling net, followed by an artificial 45° soap covered slope which had to be scaled before crossing the line.

Despite this sounding like the potentially most hell-ish experience ever, it was incredibly fun, and that feeling appeared to be mutual between all those who took part. It also turns out that we are pretty good at these kind of gritty events, with the Haries taking a clean sweep in the overall standings as well as second woman and the majority of us finishing the top 100!

Results are as follows:

Name Time Position
Ben Stevenson 01:19:59 Male 1
Mark Purkis 01:22:11 Male 2
James Dunn 01:23:20 Male 3
Alex Luetchford 01:31:22 Male 9
Iwan Smith 01:35:11 Male 14
Charlotte Watson 01:37:05 Female 2
Duncan Tait 01:44:23 Male 35
Natacha Lazareff 01:48:57 Female 7
Sarah Douglas 01:55:27 Female 14
Hazel Murray 01:55:51 Female 15
Hannah Ritchie 01:59:26 Female 20
Christine Watson 02:02:55 Female 23
Mook Attanath 02:31:18 Female 83
Hannah Mason 03:11:22 Female 241
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Harie winners! (L to R: Ben in 1st, James in 3rd, and Mark in 2nd)

Top running guys!

Thanks again to Alex Luetchford for organising transport and to our drivers who offered their kind services to get us to and from the event.

We also had some folk racing on the Sunday.

Tim Gibney took part in the St.Patrick’s Festival 5km Road race in Dublin, completing the course in a nippy 16:55 to finish 39th.

I know the Alloa Half Marathon was also yesterday but couldn’t find anyone who ran it. If you did run yesterday, please let me know and I’ll add you into the results.

On that note, If you did a race this weekend that isn’t mentioned, please come forward, we want to know!

This week we have varsity XC on Wednesday 18th, so get signed up to that.

Our friends at Heriot Watt are also hosting round the grounds on the 22th March, so please sign up to that as well to help our fellow students out.

À Bientôt,

James