18th April 2010 – 9.5k 700m
The weather forecast for the inaugural Meall nan Tarmachan race was reasonable – sunshine and showers – so seemed a good use of a Sunday to go running in one of my favourite areas of the country. Arrival at the (permanently closed) Ben Lawers visitor centre indicated something different. Freezing cold, low cloud, snow on the hills, rain lower down. I felt quite nervous about the whole thing not having been out on the higher hills in driech conditions for a long while. Meeting up with a few familiar faces with the same concerns gave some reassurance. We would all be out in it together!
Sixty seven people set off at 11am up a well defined path and a great wee race unfolded. We headed up to the summit of M-n-T, on a pretty runnable track (well, for the front runners) negotiating some big snow patches nearer the summit. The weather settled and the field spread out; it actually became very enjoyable. The track continued along the top ridge towards Meall Garbh. The race route cut off down a wee gully from the col just before Meall Garbh summit and headed straight down to the track over some easy bog and grass (and hidden ditches) for a 3k run back to the finish. Definitely felt harder than its short category 9.5k and 700m.
Local boy Brian Brennan and myself were the Westies reps. Brian had a great, no pressure day out. I think he must have passed me about 10 times. He was supporting his friend Bill Henderson of Cosmics who was celebrating his 60th birthday so jogged back and forth keeping in touch with the birthday party. Bill and Brian ended up just ahead of me going along the track so it made me try hard to catch them – I might have done with another few miles of track – but I wasn’t going to get them in 3k. It will probably be the only time that I have managed to finish only 15 secs behind Mr. B.
The race was organised by Killin Outdoor Shop with the help of Steve Fallon and all proceeds went to Cancer Research. The Killin WI provided the post-race food. I’ve ever eaten so much fab home-baking, on top of soup, sandwiches and t/c. There was a very generous prize list and raffle; thanks to sponsors. I believe around Ã‚Â£1000 was raised for charity. All in all, a great race; I hope it continues. Thanks to the organisers. Results and photos on SHR web site.
PS. Thanks to Angela Mudge to for donating her 1st woman prize to the raffle – which I won!