The Mighty One
Mr Outdoors and I headed to Traquair near Peebles on Saturday to take part in the truly bonkers Mighty Deerstalker 10k-ish race. You have to do this to believe it but suffice to say I’ve not had as many running laughs in a long time. From 600 entrants at the inaugural event in 2007 (including a shorter 5k event called the Deerstalker) to 1500 runners this year, The Mighty Deerstalker has become a must-do run on the Scottish events calendar. The fact that many people also run in deerstalker-themed fancy dress simply adds to the bizarre nature of ths race. I spotted one guy wearing a stag’s head thong, while others were in Tweed suits, plus fours or kilts.
The Mighty Deerstlker really is like nothing else and combines an off-road (waymarked trail) run with numerous natural and manmade obstacles such as deep river crossings, a 500ft scree slope, tree trunk walks and tunnels. Oh, and although you start the race at 5.30pm in the light, at some point you find yourself running in the dark with only a headtorch to light your way. While Mr Outdoors guffawed loudly and cruelly at the sight of my very large and expensive orienteering headtorch at the start of the race by the time darkness had descended he had only admiration for the amount of light it gives out (at this point he did seem suddenly quite contented to trot along behind me making full use of my headtorch to light HIS way!).
The event, from the straw bale wall and the muddy pond crossing at the start, to the 2km haul to the top of the forest and the kamikaze stampeed back down again, to the 10 min river walk, to the enormous scree slope climb, to the final deep-water tunnel and the horrendously heavy cargo net in the last 10 metres, took Mr and Mrs Outdoors almost 2hrs. The winning man was back home in an awesome 1hr 10mins. The top lady finished in 1hr 32mins. Thus for 10k, read at least 15k!
And the best overheard quote of the night was this from a woman as she crossed the finish line: “That was like the worst 3 hours of my life. It was hell. It was a nightmare. But it was totally brilliant, too.”