Armed with the obligatory head torch and trail shoes I arrived under clearing skies at the Forth Inn in Aberfoyle to register for the race’s 7.15pm start. Was really looking forward to the 1st run of the series after Duncan introduced myself and Margaret to it last year. Margaret arrived at the start line with plenty of time to spare unlike last year after road closures caused a travel headache. We wished each other good luck and headed off with the throng of over 130 runners.
Thankfully the rain had stopped but the course was pretty muddy and tricky in places. You start from Dounans and its a steep climb into the forest towards the Go Ape site. I was grateful for having
a decent head torch to show me the way as we navigated through rocky, tree root ridden paths. Was with a little group of runners for quite a while, which is always good to keep your pace consistent. One lady, who sped past me, started walking on the uphills, then I overtook her, when it flattened out she would speed past me, this happened on a number of occasions. My mission was to get past her! But after enjoying the relatively easy landrover style forestry track it was time to turn into the woods up a relentlessly steep muddy path. I remembered it being horrendous last year but it was far worse this year after weeks of heavy rain. I was slipping and sliding all over the place, so much for my trail shoes! Topped out and almost lost the group in front of me as the mist had descended around the trees. Did eventually catch them as the course meandered through the pines and eventually opened out to give views down the valley with glimpses of the moon. Was also pretty rewarding to see how high we had climbed.
It was downhill all the way with a fun descent through a golf course. Did have a mild panic here as I thought the marshal said “there is a landslide at the bottom” what I soon realised was that he had said, “there is a LANTERN at the bottom!” I was gaining on my rival runner but she got away again as things levelled out. Then all of a sudden I could hear the crowd cheering and the end was suddenly in sight. Was delighted at knocking three minutes of last year’s time. Margaret arrived looking fresh after some strong running.
Special mention to the organisers of this race as remarkably you can’t get lost due to lots of marshals and high visibility tape hanging from trees to guide you.
1st male – Robert Russell of Central AC – 32.54
1st female – Catriona Buchanan – Ochils – 36:44
Linda Sinclair – 51:52
Margaret Peebles – 54:45