> 2008 race reports
14/06/08 Durisdeer - from John Duff

The normal field of 25 was swelled tenfold by runners making the trek to the Lowther Hills in Dumfries for this British Championship race.  The race was an AM – 10.5 miles with 3,800 ft of climbing, and was surprisingly accessible being just off the M74.  The 2 road crossings allowed for a pre-race recce on the drive in.  Conditions were superb for running – blue skies, not too hot, and a cool breeze on the tops.   The Lowther Hills are similar to the Howgills - steep sided grassy hills with rounded tops.

There must have been a good number of Hunters Bog Trotters at the race, as the cries of HBT! at the start carried on around the whole course.  NFR old-boy Morgan Donnelly led the charge on the first climb.  I followed the masses on a lower level traverse but was no nearer to Morgan when we rejoined the path (surprise surprise).  After the first climb to Black Hill there was a very steep descent to the first road crossing. 

Paths and trods led around Steygail to a col.  Here I was trying (and failing) to keep up with Alison Raw (Bingley) until a short-cut following a local allowed me to sneak in front.  At the next road crossing the pre-race recce came in handy, and I found a good line up to the Lavern Burn.  A long tussocky climb on a rough trod led to the steep ascent of Well Hill.  This section would have been tricky in the mist, but luckily the clouds were high and visibility was A1.

A glorious high level run led back to Black Hill for the final fast descent.  The sting in the tail was a 50 metre run uphill to the finish.  Afterwards the tea and cakes in the church hall made for a very convivial ending.  This was a very enjoyable race and well worth the trip.

Rob Jebb won, Morgan Donnelly was second, and Angela Mudge won the ladies’ race.  I might have made a placing in the ladies’ race, but there the glory ends.

John Duff


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