Highland Boundary Races

A short-lived blizzard on the way down for some
Most of Sunday's race was run in sunshine
Derek Jablonski of Lomonds  overtook Joan Wilson on the way down
Race 1: Tay Dash
Friday 6 March

The initial race in the Highland Boundary Races commenced at the Hermitage, near Inver, Dunkeld last Friday night with 35 people taking part. I led out the race on my mountian bike followed closely by Andrew Symonds and Robbie Simpson, with head torches beaming and reflecting among the giant douglas firs surrounding the Hermitage. The roaring waterfall drowned out the runners and I was caught at the steps by some very fleet-footed runners thundering down the track in the dark. They were away before I could catch them and down to Inver along the river Braan. The lights shone in the underpass below the A9 and everyone passed the first marshall and off they dashed along the path to Birnam and the fishing hut before the muddy field, a line of torches in the dark. The ploughed field seem to catch most people out and separated the field until Andy Symonds stormed home in 25:03 just 16 seconds ahead of the new prodigy Robbie Simpson (still only 17 years old). They were closely followed by Ross McLennan, last year's overall winner, and then a small gap to the next runners, Will Hensman and Adam Ward, but it was difficult to tell who was who in the dark. The finish at the end of the park was luminated by all sorts of fancy lights to show people the way home. Tea and drinks were the order of the day back at the Birnam Guest House, the venue for the weekend. The leading ladies came in 38:36 with Alison Pollard holding off the group behind her.

Race 2: Birnam Hill
Saturday 7 March
A record entry and excellent field with 61 on a clear sunny day greeted the runners. The leading group of 4 shot off and remained well ahead of the rest. Prasad Prasad last year's winner showed everyone a clean pair of heels leaving everyone for dead although valiantly chased by Brian Marshall, Robbie Simpson and Andy Symonds. Prasad was just clear at the top and extended his lead on the swift descent followed by Andy. The vets race hotted up on the descent with Des Crowe having an excellent climb passing Adam Ward half way up and pulling away. Catriona Buchanan showed her downhill skills passing quite a few of the senior men on the tricky descent, these youngsters have no fear! At the finish Prasad was clear from Andy in second and Robbie in third with Brian first and Des holding off Adrian Davis for first vet40 in 5th place. Catriona held first place comfortably with Joan WIlson coming through strongly for second and first female vet 40. Andy held the overall lead from Robbie and Alison prevailed to hold her lead in the three race series. The soup and cakes at the end went down very well and a few beers later that night made it an excellent day.

Race 3: Deuchary Hill Canter
Sunday 8th March

Jacqui Higgingbottom found the benefit from lots of XCs - winning the ladies race
Joan Wilson leads Derek Jablonski at the top of Deuchary
The early morning storm and snow flurries did not bear well but the sunshine shone through and we took a decision to go ahead. A good field of 46 set off from the Hilton Hotel in Dunkeld around Craig a Barns, a lovely wooded route climbing gradually on a narrow path far above the River Tay. The excellent running was at times interpsresed with a little snow but it thawed quickly in the spring sunshine as Andy Symonds led the way followed by me valiantly tryign to keep up before the inevitable steep hill. The birds were calling loudly as we passed the rocking stone and the first marshall, then on to Rotmell Wood where the race opens out and the first views of Deuchary hill are glimpsed. The initial climb up to Deuchary hill was wet and steep on an old track where we passed the early starters, the intrepid Ann Lister and her female colleagues. This eventually gave way to a steep heathery climb well above the tree line. Excellent views of Loch Ordie and Beinn A Ghlo from here and Grahame marshalling at the summit. The descent with Will Hensman was fast and furious and we felt the wind in our faces for the first time as he tucked in behoind me. I surged but couldn't drop him. However he fell off the pace a little later on the rough track down to the Mill dam and we stepped up the pace to the finish past the Glack and down to Cally car park. It truly is a lovely race with a bit of everything in it. Andy pressed home his advantage and won the race comfortably with Will pipping me in second. Jacqui Higginbottom ran well to win the ladies from Joan Wilson and Ursula Bass.
Andy Symonds being trailed by non-competing Robbie Simpson. Behind, Iain McManus heads up Deuchary Hill as the leaders race down.
Will Hensman, Adam Ward and Adrian Davis head for Deuchary Hill
Adrian Davis leading Will Hensman off Deuchary Hill
The Overall title went to Andy Symonds with Will in second and Adam Ward in third with Laurie Anderson of Fife AC first Vet 40 and Davie Duncan first vet 50. The ladies did really well and Alison Pollard held on to win overall with Ann Lister and the other West Coasters coming home just behind her in fine fettle. We all enjoyed Gina's great cream of mushroom soup and the cakes went down really well. There were only about 12 people who eventually braved the three races but hopefully more next year. The last run is as serious as you wish to take it but it's a lovely scenic Sunday run!
Until next year.


Photos: Alan Young and Anne Nimmo


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