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Carsphairn Hill Race 2016

06/06/2016

On the first Saturday of June each year the Galloway village of Carsphairn holds its annual sheep show.  

As part of the show the show has held a hill race for many years.  Up until last year it was primarily locals and youngsters that ran the race (or the juniors race). Last year the race came to the attention of a handful of Dumfries and Galloway's seasoned fell runners, including DRC's Craig Malcolmson. This year, fellow DRC members Adam Dickie and Vicky Hart decided to join Craig and a handful of other runners to take part in the low-key event.  Whilst the race is small, it is a counter for the Dumfries and Galloway Hill Championship Series. 


The race starts in a field on the edge of the village, and runners race along to the end of the field, climb over two fences, run along a rocky banking before a short spell on a farm track leads them onto the hill itself.  At this point runners can take any route this wish up to the summit of the Craig of Knockgray (or the half-way post for the juniors).  For many hill races you can find little paths or sheep trods to follow to work your way up, but there was no such luxury in this race - boggy sections, bracken and rushes all hampered the runners.  The heat and humidity added to the challenge of the 2.5 mile race.


The trickiest part of the race was the turnaround at the summit, and both Adam and Vicky ended up slightly off-course.  Adam reached the summit in second place but as a result of his extra mileage he came home in 5th position overall in a time of 27:20.  Craig was able to make the most of Adam's error and after a strong climb he stormed his way back down the hill to finish in 2nd overall in 25:01. Vicky was the only senior lady taking part in the race, and after also making a navigational error after the summit, came home in 32:08.


Everyone involved enjoyed the friendly low-key nature of the event, and hopefully a few more DRC runners and other local clubs will get involved next year to make it even more fun.

Vicky Hart

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