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Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay Race - Alison Gelly

Organised by Strathearn Harriers, this 4-leg relay race is dedicated to Simon Wake, a member of the club who sadly died of pancreatic cancer, and all proceeds are donated to the Tayside Health Fund to help advance treatment of this disease.

The race is run up and around the hills on both sides of Glen Lednock, with a total distance of 42km and elevation of 2110m. The organisers welcomed us to 'our little patch of loveliness here in Strathearn' and indeed it was.

Dom and Amy had done this race before and suggested it to DRR as a possible alternative to the Devils Burdens. They said it was great fun, and enough of us believed them to complete three DRR teams, so 12 intrepid runners headed off to Comrie.

Legs 1 and 4 are mostly run on trail, and the route is marked. Legs 2 and 3 are classed as hill runs and cover some rough terrain with pathless sections, and are not marked, other than one section to direct across some featureless moorland.

The weather on the day was hot and sunny. A bit too hot for ideal running conditions, but perfect for supporting and waiting for other team members to come in. The scenery was fantastic, and we felt lucky to be out there enjoying it.

After seeing the leg 1 runners off at the start we made our way to the various starts of our own legs. John McIntosh was my team's leg 1 runner. He had a good run and handed over to me with quite a few still to go.

I ran leg 2, which started up a fairly steep grassy path through ferns. It joined a land rover track for a short distance, then went along a narrow heathery path up to my first checkpoint at the top of Crappich Hill.

From there the path was less distinct, and absent in places, but it was easy to see which direction to take in the good visibility. Down through a boggy bit - I do love a bit of squelchy bog - and up a steep rise, then a nice run along the ridge to my next

checkpoint, where the marshal directed us over a fence and down a steep, tussocky downhill to join a path at the bottom which took us to the road and up to the handover to leg 3.

Legs 3 and 4 have mass starts for those whose teammates are not back in time. I had been protecting my injured knee and been very cautious on the down and had fully expected to be still somewhere up on the hill when they set off. I was delighted to surprise Keith by getting in 5 mins before the mass start.

Keith ran leg 3, which had the most climbing in it. The temperature was rising, and the sun was very hot, making it hard going. There was a compensatory downhill, then a nice undulating trail run back to the leg 4 handover. The main hazard were some cows which had thwarted our attempts to recce the route a few weeks ago, but on race day they'd lost interest in the runners and were well away from the path.

Our leg 4 runner was Martin, who went with the mass start. His route took him back to the start point of the race, via a couple of hills and a side diversion to a monument.

After the race there was a BBQ and lots of very delicious cakes - always a bonus!

I really enjoyed this race. It was a fantastic day out in a beautiful part of the countryside. I would definitely do it again next year and would encourage anyone to give it a go. It was very friendly and there is no time pressure with the mass starts.

A big thank you to Dom and Amy for bringing it to our attention and organising the teams.

DRR teams:

Women's senior: Amy Gilligan Fíona Canavan Anwen Darlington Fiona Callaghan

The women's team had a great result and came in 3rd F team, 23/39 overall, in a time of 04:49

Men's senior: Graham Rena Matt Hooper Dominic Williams Adam Reid

Position 35/39 in 05:35

Men's Vets: John McIntosh Alison Gelly Keith Gelly Martin Rollo

Position 38/39 in 05:44

Overall results:

Men's winners: Carnethy HRC Vets 03:28 Deeside Men's 03:29 Westie Men's 03:35

Women's winners: Strathearn Harriers 04:36 HBT Senior 04:41 DRR Senior 04:49

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