The Deerstalker is the first Rat race event of their calendar and after last year’s enjoyment was looking forward to going back and having another crack at it. This time Liam gets to play on the course and see what he thought of it. With me continually running outside all winter which is considerable more than this time last year I was aiming to do a good performance and enjoy the views.
It had been said that was snow on the ground a week before the event which got me worried would my trusty Sondico compression top be warm enough? I decided to purchase some cold gear clothing there are many brands floating about the OCR scene and with my body shape keeping on changing with my intensive CrossFit winter training I went with Under Armour woman’s cold gear compression roll neck top. It seems after the Dirty weekend I suffered with water and calf cramps I am now accustomed to wearing calf compression sleeves and these are perfect. At this moment in time I am using Skins branded ones. For the last two years of racing I have used a pair of New Balance Capri bottoms as dubbed “racing bottoms” which sadly no longer fit properly so This year I have a new pair of Capri bottoms from Karrimore in a Jemma friendly dark purple colour with a perfect zip pocket in the back for a gel too.
A first for this year we drove up to Innerleithen as a trio. As our friend Mark who likes to marshal decided he wanted to join us on a trip up north and was placed on the finish line. Liam was booked onto the 1st wave and me the 2nd wave so I got to see him off as such and cheer (nice to give myself the illusion I am going to chase and catch up). I got a different head torch this year from last year which in the night run tests seemed to do the job though on the packaging didn’t give me how many lumens bright it was (oh dear). As we I got started finding a pace we came to a field of sticky mud which I managed to almost lose my shoe last year. Doing a fast pace as best I could again the same thing happened again and trying to get my shoe back on in a sea of runners was hard going. Which meant at the river under the tunnel crossing I was at a back of a cue? With the stronger currents we were to go in twos and that cold water just hits you. No sooner as you get out back to running again and knew would need to warm back up again as the climb up would be a killer.
Going up the familiar hills was no easier than it was in 2015 but as the sun sets the torches came on. We were advised there were course changes from last year due to the forestry commission doing felling works.
One major difference this year was treated to halfway round a disco rave in the woods with lights, smoke and music which did bring a smile to my face. With time pressing on and the usual single file parts of the course started to notice my head torch wasn’t as bright as it once was and this didn’t come too apparent to till the scramble up the scree has started to find it hard to see where I was and finally got to the top i made a slow decent down as couldn’t see too far in front where to put my footing. This was fine as gave me chance to catch my breath and enjoy the spectacular views.
Coming to the end of the course we was treated to the sliding finish which most people seem to enjoy bar me don’t know what it is water and slides just don’t seem to hold that fun factor as once did in my younger years but was happy to finish yes slower than last year but with 2016 course feeling like the big brother course to 2015 course. Only downside this year is where is my Frontier Beer? As that’s a much better pint than Coors light sorry Van Damme it just is!
Liam's Mighty Deerstalker 2016 on Strava