Sunday, 28 September 2014

Two Breweries hill race, 27th September 2014

What a great idea.  A race from one brewery to another over some beautiful Scottish Border countryside, on a cracking September day.  I reiterate the word 'idea'.  Doing it should be regarded as bonkers.

This was selected as one of the Northumberland Fell Runners championship races and was located in an area which I hadn't visited before.  The hills were akin to the Cheviots.  Rolling, grassy, heathery and deceptively gentle looking.

The drive up took a good two and a half hours.  With little traffic on the roads, Emma Bain and I made good progress and arrived with plenty time to spare to get sorted and hop on the bus to transport us to the start at Traquair house.  It was a lovely setting complete with a marquee tent, it felt like we were gate crashing a wedding.  We hung around for a while before the start having a chinwag, good crack with the NFR's.  The kit check was rather regimental but good to see the rules being enforced.

The first couple of miles were a chance to stretch the legs before the first climb up Birkscairn.  The legs were heavy already, probably from last week's race at Thropton and no let up in training during the week.  Stupid mistake.  

Nice hillage - Cheviot-esque
The views were spectacular and I felt privile
ged to be running in such a place.  The first descent to Glensax was a killer on the quads, seemed steeper than the descent off the Cheviot.  My three week old blister reared its ugly head and began to irritate. The next two ascents and descents were a bit of a blur and by the time we reached to foot of Trahenna I was well and truly jiggered.  I clawed my way up, literally!  There were screams heard from runners ahead, I could sympathise if I wasn't in as much agony as them.

Last road section was quite nippy, although legs were like jelly.  I managed to cross the line on 3:30.  Emma Bain was the star of the day finishing in 3:34.  She's in fine form and strong! I got the points needed to secure the NFR champs so I'm well pleased. Time to ease off the gas before the British Fell relays, feeling goosed.

The catering was top notch at the village hall.  Soup, salad, cakes and all the beer you could want!  Good crack with JT, Paul et al.  Also with the men's V70 winner, legend!  There were some saying it was tougher than Borrowdale, I'd probably agree with that.  Having a climb so steep just two miles from the finish is cruel.

A brutal race but in a lovely place.  It really did kick my arse.  I will return.... one year! 

Well done to all NFR!

Team NFR

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