Cademuir Rollercoaster hill race report by Theo Carter

I was looking forward to racing again, having not raced a real race since March when I ran a 10k PB. I had kept my training up during lockdown and also participated in some virtual elevation challenges, so I felt race ready.

I had known about the race for a few months before the lockdown, where it was meant to be the qualifying race for the Junior Athletes World Championships but because of Covid-19 it got cancelled which meant that the race was just for the competition.

I didn’t know much about the race beforehand except that it was just over 3km and was a 180-meter climb and the U18 race was at 14:00, nor had I been to the course before to recce it. I looked at the online entries to see who else was racing and recognised a few names from previous races and from Strava.

Race day. I arrived, did a 3k warm up, including going halfway up the first climb.

We lined up at 13:55 and the race marshals checked that we had with us a whistle and waterproof jacket.

Race kit check all suitably distanced apart

My aim for the race was to finish in the front half of the field of runners. The plan was not to go off too fast at the beginning, but slowly pick up the pace towards the middle of the climb.

The long whistle blows and off we go. Like I had imagined, a rapid start. I found myself starting three runners from the back going into the first hill and my heart rate was sky high. The field stuck together for a third of the climb and the runners started to space out a bit as the race progressed. Some competitors started to walk and that’s where I managed to pass a few of them.

The climb was long and when you got to the top there were rolling hills where you could really pick up the pace, the surface was mainly grass and rocks which I didn’t find that technically challenging.

Coming into the finish

After reaching the top of the climb the race had really separated with the front runners already looping back round to the home straight. The descent was fast as the grass made for a comfy landing under foot, so you could really just let your legs go until the finish line. I came in 12th with a time of 17 mins 05 seconds not the best performance but pleased to get a race in the bag. The top three finishers were Samuel Griffin (Aberdeen AAC), Struan Bennet (Fife AC) and Harry Henriksen (Lasswade AC). In the U18 girls race the top three finishers were Sarah Coutts (Fife AC), Bridget Harley (Team East Lothian) and Isla Hedley (Fife AC). There was also a U15 boys and girls race.

This course was a good one for first time hill racers because of the terrain not being too technical and the distance being short, therefore fast. Hopefully this will be the first of many post lockdown races. Fantastic to be out racing again in the hills post lockdown. I’m raring to go but it’s a shame that the season is already coming to an end.

Full results of all the races are on ScottishAthletics website here

Thanks to Neil Renton for images

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