Five DRRs headed to Fort William this weekend for the 3rd race in the Scottish Hill Runners Championship, Meall an t-Suidhe, organised by Locharber AC. It's a short out-and-back race - only 4.7km - but quite steep (420m out of 440m in 1.2km - 34.4% gradient), and sufficiently brutal to be quite good fun - there's no pretence that most of it is runnable! It was also the Scottish counter for the British Champs so there were some of the best hill runners from elsewhere in the UK too.
The women's race set off at 12noon with a short heavy shower. After a lap around the playing field it was along a track, and a short way across a bog. At 1km in the real climbing began, with everyone power hiking up. The leading women were on their way down well before I got close to the top. I managed to overtake a few people on the ascent but as we dropped off the summit they flew past. On the descent bum sliding was a favoured method travel by a lot of participants! Eventually the gradient lessened and it was time to persuade the legs that this was supposed to be running for the final 1km back along the track and round the field.
After everyone had finished there was the women's prize giving - the race was won by Nichola Jackson from Keswick AC, equaling Angela Mudge's 1999 record in a time if 33:44.
The men and non-binary race started at 2pm. There was already quite a spread as they left the field! After watching them set off we wandered over to the end of the track and already there were people on the descent flying down the hill! The men's race was won by Finlay Wild from Lochaber AC in a time of 27:58, 10s off the 1999 record.
There was an excellent spread of sandwiches and cakes, and nice warm (if you got in early enough ) showers, and as always with hill racing a really friendly, welcoming atmosphere! There was even a participation slate coaster!
The next race in the SHR Champs is Beinn Rinnes on 29 July - still spaces if you fancy it!
67 Fíona Ní Cheannabháin 51:38 69 Fiona Callaghan 53:45 71 Amy Gilligan 55:45
108 Dominic Williams 40:40 129 Dominic Hughes 46:13