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I think some of you were doing legends and not sure if anyone is doing Horseplay this coming weekend, but here's my review of "The Mighty Deerstalker" which happened last weekend in the Scottish Borders
The Mighty Deerstalker 2012
Starting and finishing in the grounds of Traquair House in the Tweed Valley the organisers had a wide choice of countryside for the evening’s shenanigans including some very LARGE hills, numerous stretches of river and lots of mud. Billed as 10k Adventure run, the 10k is somewhat misleading, with various GPS devices putting the event at somewhere closer to 10 miles and the MC for the evening actually telling the crowd this year it was 17 km!!!
Lining up at the start line, along with another 1619 idiots, in the spring twilight, I was glad to see that most people were donning their Tweed with pride and everyone was smiling, something that the course would strip them of very shortly, either the smiles or the tweed BUT very possibly both!
Personally I had decided to opt for very technical running gear and saved the kilt for apres course wear (in fact I’d been wearing the kilt since arriving at the venue 6hrs earlier). After more than a week of being sick, I just couldn’t see how me and fancy dress could both reasonably make it to the finish line and settled for no fancy dress and a finish instead – turns out that this was a very wise idea, although SealSkinz waterproof socks turned out to be a seriously bad idea… but more on that later.
The start was uphill for 70 - 100 yards to a straw wall, two? or was it three bales high? Anyway, a bit of a pile up ensued, but I got over it albeit a bit slow.
A jog downhill followed, which led us out of the estate onto a country road, with a brief detour back into what can only be described as a muddy field. Fortunately my keen vision spotted that in the middle of the track there were a lot of short people, no wait they’re not short they’re stuck up to their asses in mud! I managed to skirt around the bog and began my journey towards the first of the two hills – turns out later that my team mate, who finished in an impressive 2:08’ was one of the short people and lost a shoe delaying his time by around 5-10 mins and putting his entire race at risk had he not found it!
The trail headed skyward, zigzagging up Innerleithen XC mountain bike trail, with the gradient easing after a few hundred yards on to a forest road. Unfortunately for me, just as the gradient eased into something which might have been runable, the trail headed away from the road, straight up the hill.
I think this might have been the point I had an extreme coughing fit and my body finally let me know, that really had I asked for medical clearance to do this race, I would NOT have been granted it!
Anyway, not one for DNFs, I decided to compromise by agreeing with the “saner” part of my personality that I would WALK all the uphills and run whatever else I could - time was no longer important to me but finishing was.
Through the dense woodland, I slowly made my way on the trail which then seemed to double back and rejoin the road only about 100 yard further up. No sooner than that had happened, were we then back off the road, up a steep stony gully and heading upwards across a clear-felled moor.