Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Heart of The Park Challenge - 13th July '08

Not done any climbing whatsoever since last week. RB is on holiday and we've been busy with other stuff. I did however have a race on Sunday, between 12-13km.

This was the Heart of The Park Challenge in Braemar as part of the Junior Highland Games and involved hills, mud and water, brilliant fun!

The weather was perfect for it, if just a little on the hot side. Race kicked off at 12pm and took the runners out of Braemar Memorial Park, and up through trees, through a gate and up a hill to the Morrone Indicator point. I found this bit tough, I hate hills so soon on a run or race and I felt a bit dizzy and wanted to quit. But I believe wanting to quit is normal in every race that one does!

Next was a downhill section, great, I love the downhills and managed to overtake a few folk here. Then I can't remember the exact order of things but we had to run through a caravan park and through the River Claunie, which was about knee deep. Then we had to run round a field, onto and across the A93, Glenshee to Braemar road. Into a wooded area, up hill and into Coire Feragie. This was the highlight of the race! Bogs, deep, muddy bogs! There were 6 flags placed in the bogs and you had to touch each flags or were disqualified. Wardens all around to make sure there was no cheating! The bogs varied from knee deep to thigh deep and I nearly fell over backwards in the thigh deep one and had to use my arms to brace myself, ending up with legs AND arms caked in mud!
Another up hill section which was tough, due to being weighted down with all the mud, where I was over taken by some of the folk that I had managed to overtake previously. Then a gentle undulating section around Creag Choinnich and downhill off the path, through the woods itself, navigating fallen branches and tree trunks!
Then down onto the Ballater to Braemar section of the A93 and a slog past the Shell garage as you approach Braemar, off the road and down by the River Dee, across a wooden bridge and then a short run along the riverside. Then you had to cross the Dee itself and this section of the river was about waist deep on me and totally baltic! My legs were numb, my knees were numb and my feet were numb! Then another path alongside the river where I managed to overtake another 2 folk, and up onto a landy track, through another boggy section and through the river Dee again! Again about waist deep on me! A steep scramble up the river embankment saw me put my mountain skills to good use and overtake another runner but then there was another hill! I had no energy for hills at this point and slowed to a fast walk, letting the girl I had overtaken, overtake me, but the couple I had overtaken before the river crossing still hadn't caught up yet. Managed to trot up and over the brow of the hill, then along a track, back into the park and a home run through the park and back to the start, hurrah!
Not sure of my placing yet, but the winning female time was 58mins and my time was 80mins, so quite chuffed with that.

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