Devilla Forest Trail 15k
Shery and Johnny had run here last year (with Yana opting for the 5k). They and Michael F had voted for this as a PRC championship race not only because of the incredible amounts of beer given away at the end, but also because of the great course.
It was a splendid nomination for the club to support as it wasn't too taxing while being interesting and having a couple of challenging moments. Just under 9.5 miles it is mostly on hard pack trails through forest. It was sufficiently twisty and turny I would have trouble finding the route round again without the arrows and marshals pointing the way.
well marked, well marshalled
While warming up I checked out this but it did what it says on the tin.
I had studied the route the night before and thought I would know when I saw each of the 3 reservoirs at what point we were. Several folk were surprised at the mention of 3 reservoirs and you could be forgiven for missing at least 2 of them. So I was glad to be wearing the Garmin which let me know how many miles remaining.
Look Ma I've been drinking Red Bull.
We started from Tulliallan Castle grounds using the Police College facilities/changing rooms. Quickly we went onto the forest trails and I seem to remember a bit more climbing than the contour lines of the map suggested. Rab W (Musselburgh) took an early lead with Craig L in second and a group following with Johnny myself 2 Dunbars and a Musselburgh in the mix. We passed the familiar figure of Bob Marshall crouched by the side of the trail taking photos. I'm afraid to say the Red Bull made me show-boat, obscuring Stuart Hay and another. I hadn't remembered Johnny wearing a skirt though.
Next was the trickiest part. Wetter than last year we ran zig zag through trees with swampy knee-deep splosh and black mud waiting to trip and fell the unwary. Those in road shoes suffered more. Stuart H was just ahead and I thought Johnny and I might overhaul him but he did a reasonable job of it and I failed to catch him for the remainder.
Knees damaged by road shoes.
Team PRC (minus Yana.)
Then there was some tarmac I think then more trails. A bit of a climb then nice long descents on paths that would be scenic if they weren't awash with wheezing old dudes in shorts. Ian of Dunbar had got past and I swapped places a couple of times with Willie of Musselburgh. I “let” them run most of the course ahead of me then caught them both briefly before “letting” them all dash for the line. Ian gave Stuart the heads up that Willie was gunning for him which saw both of them showing fine finishing form with Ian in hot pursuit while I (after checking over my shoulder for Michael F) had insufficient in the tank for any last minute nonsense. I had seen Michael near the potentially dangerous 2 plank bridge. (Thanks marshal Baza for the caution.) As you climb away from the bridge you get a view to your left of the field 150 yards behind. Since Michael had caught up this distance at Coillesdene training the other Wednesday forcing me to run faster than is healthy, I had no doubt he would be figuring in the latter stages. It helped keep me focussed. However a fall early on had taken the wind out of Michael's sails and it was only the potential for team glory that kept him keeping on.
Ian and Stuart
Willie and Rab
We finished and were faced with the hardest part of the day – removing the chip timing devices. While there were plastic loop type things the recommended method was through laces which meant cold fingers struggling with filthy muddy laces.
A couple of photos then off for good hot showers and the most generous prize giving ever. Not only 1st~5th for both genders but v40, v50 first 5 in both m+f cats then v60s and v70s and a team prize. 2 bottles of beer to every winner plus a generous voucher for Sweatshop. (And I forgot to mention a table of freebie health/sports bars / water / Mars Bars. The team prize was 4 person mixed and I'm delighted to say was won by Johnny, myself, Michael and Yana. Yana won first lady. Johnny was third. I got first v50. Shery was (fourth lady? and) 1st v40, Fiona was 4th v40, Emily was 5th senior.
Top race and well done to Carnegie for making it happen like a well oiled machine from parking through marshalling to hot showers and LOADS of prizes and BEERS. I will be back next year for sure.
Bob Marshall's excellent photos
Carnegie website and results.
Stuart Hay's blog.
And lastly the most important bit HARVESTOUN Beer website featuring their delicious Beer Schiehallion which is 4.8% and its fab and really tasty and I'm drinking some now - ooooh that's better.
ps Nearly forgot:
Last year while Shery was going round the course a deer, spooked from all the runners going past, bolted across the trail and jumped right over Shery's head. She says she felt it brush past her hair as it flew over. The bloke directly behind expressed his surprise after the race and reckoned she was super lucky to avoid any kind of injury.