I’m not that competitive, so what I generally look for in a race is a nice route taking in some gentle climbs, new hills, and a distance that means I can justify stopping for lunch halfway through.

Chapelgill is not this.

It claims to be the steepest hill race in Britain, and it’s essentially one, max effort hill rep. It’s a distance of 2.4k and climb of 420m (I don’t know what that is in Imperial units, but that’s fine because we stopped using those in the 70s).

Regardless, I got carried away by the hype and found myself on the startline. This is the first time Westies have organised the race (thanks Don!) and there was a good number of yellow vests on show, on a cracking sunny March afternoon.

Part of the fun of this race is the slim margins at play. The first half of the climb is pathless, so careful choice of route could easily see you win a few places. I ask Don for the best line here and he assures me straight up and avoid the heather is the way to go.

 

 

We set off, and sure enough the first half of the ascent is a bit of a free-for-all. Once things settle down I end up in the chase group. 3 burley men sprinted off ahead, and then there’s me and 3 others jockeying for position on the way up. There’s no need for pacing – just keep going as fast as your lungs will let you. Buoyed by the marshals’ cheers at the top it’s a turn round and then as fast downhill as you dare. I lose a couple of places to folk with more nerves than me, but make up some time with a sprint finish.

I can heartily recommend this one for future years – great vibes, good scenery (if you have time to look), and one hard effort, then you’re done.

 

1. Andrew Cox Moorfoot Runners 22:18
2. Brian Marshall Haddington Running Club 23:01
3. Daniel Lavin Moorfoot Runners 23:08

6. Malcolm Wilson Westerlands CCC 25:57
12. Don Reid Westerlands CCC 28:47
13. Kate Jenkins (1st F) Gala Harriers 28:51
14. Steffen Gorgas Westerlands CCC 30:15
15. Murdo MacLeod Westerlands CCC 31:19
16. Rona Myatt (2nd F) Westerlands CCC 31:55
18. Lisa Blackley (3rd F) UA 33:05

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