Saturday, 21 January 2012

Devil's Burdens Relay

Route on Garmin Connect | Overall results | Fastest legs

My 12th consecutive Devil's Burdens, and my first attempt at running since becoming a father 12 days ago.

The day started inauspiciously enough, leaving Glasgow at 8am in darkness and pouring rain, in a sleep-deprived haze. It wasn't until passing Cumbernauld that I suddenly realised I'd forgotten my hill running shoes. My mind raced through the options, but there was only 1 choice, and that was to bite the bullet and head back to Glasgow. Once back at the flat I realised that I had also forgotten my leggings, gloves, hat, whistle, compass and map. So it wasn't a wasted journey.

Setting out for the 2nd time at 8.45am, I was slightly more wide awake, and daylight had broken, so in fact the drive to Falkland was reasonable, and I made it in just under an hour, albeit just missing the start for the slower runners who went off at 9:30am.

Having an hour's separation between the 2 starts was a good idea, and seemed to reduce the pandemonium for the main start at 10:30am. I hadn't run for weeks, or done any sort of hill running for about 3 months, so I knew I'd be struggling to keep my team-mate Manny Gorman in my sights.

We set off at a fast but steady pace, in around 3rd / 4th position to the forest, but quickly started losing places on the climb up East Lomond.  It wasn't until we reached the open hillside that Manny finally took the lead and started leap-frogging the teams ahead. Bit by bit we clawed back 5 or 6 places, and topped out more or less with Cosmics and Moorfoots.

Slogging up the steep bit on East Lomond
On the descent down the other side I lost my balance and took a tumble, and around the gates Cosmics and Moorfoots took the lead, but they both overshot the correct path through the lime kilns which handed back the advantage.

Once on the short uphill road section, I could really feel the sleep-deprived fatigue and lack of training, which allowed Cosmics to jump past.  I tried to press on and keep up with Manny along past the reservoir, and was grateful that Manny waited and held open all the gates. Once into the final muddy firebreak, Moorfoots made one final effort to get past, but when we hit the uphill tarmac we put in a strong finish to drop them, and arrived in 8th place to hand over to Sam Alexander.

It took a few minutes to get my breath back before cadging a lift with Grim Orr back to Falkland, and a hasty departure for Glasgow.


Claire said...

Hi Chris, great photo of Devils Burdens Relay, may I use it and credit you in a top 10 Jan races round up for UKHillwalking website? I'm putting them in there to promote the race. Hope you can help out by allowing me to use this photo, it always looks better when there is an accompanying picture. Best wishes, Claire

Chris said...

Hi Claire, yes that would be fine about using the photo. I look forward to seeing your article on top 10 races in Jan. Best wishes, Chris