- 52 runners turned up for the Chapelgill Hill Race on Saturday and conditions could hardly have been better. Straight up and down with over 400m of ascent in 2.6k this race lives up to it’s billing as the shortest and steepest hill race in the UK. Most of my splits on the steep races would see my climb taking twice as long as my descent so the fact that on this race my split is around 3 to 1 says it all really. This also means it must give more pain per mile than any race, a fact that had deterred any of my training companions from coming along but I was joined by Alan Coltman who had obviously forgotten how painful this was as he hadn’t run it for a while. By the end it looked like the memories were flooding back.
- Before the main event though the kids had their turn in the Congrie Conga and both Calum and Eilidh had been looking forward to this having had a great time two years ago. Having won the full Conga last time Calum opted for the Half Conga and despite being under the weather recently came storming back down the hill to win in a new record of 4:10 pushing Eilidh down into 2nd place in a personal best of 5:50. Tracey also got involved being appointed in the role of international muddy knee judge, a great event for the kids.
The main debate before the senior race seemed to be what line to take on the climb, given that all options are equally brutal, straight up seemed the best option to me and as I was in a somewhat elevated position, in more ways than one, when the various groups came back together this didn’t appear to be a bad choice. By the time we turned at the cairn I was still sitting in 6th place but had a number of runners not far behind so have to admit I never bothered looking up and soaking in the views but am assured they were pretty magnificent on such a clear day. As the descent steepened I managed to reel in the 5th place runner but could soon here the first lady, Carnethy’s Charlotte Morgan, pushing hard behind me and getting in front about half way down. Gradually the gap stretched and I knew my legs had little more to offer so was relieved that there was nobody else challenging and was delighted to cross the line in 6th place in 24:31. The race was won by Shettleston’s Matt Sullivan in 21:12 while Alan came in 48th in 37:18 saying he came down better than he went up, he was not the only one and despite his protests at the start I see he’s been promoted to an M50 for this one. Despite the legs feeling numb almost immediately on stopping this really was a great day and lots of smiling faces crossed the line with very positive comments from all I spoke to afterwards. All for just £2, great stuff.