The inaugural Trailfest Summer Solstice Series, supported by Ellis Brigham, finished last night with the third and final race. The runners were again treated to sunshine at Mugdock Country Park for a 15km course that was described as “surprising, challenging but great fun”.
On the evening of the longest day of the year, the longest race of the series was won by Calum Oates (again!). The women’s 15km race winner was Rachel Hunt.
The organisers also awarded prizes for the series. Calum, who won every race, took the men’s trophy while Sara Kent, who was third in the first race and second in the other two races, triumphed for the ladies.
She said: “I am delighted but very surprised. It was another tough race and I was happy to be second again tonight. I have not had a prize since I was a junior runner and I think that crazy high risk racing is the way forward.”
Calum said: “The race series was great and the routes have been quite exciting and challenging. The first two races I won unfortunately due to the misfortune of some faster runners who took some wrong turns, which isn’t how I’d like to have taken them, but in the final race none of the guys at the front got lost and I had to work hard for first place, which felt good and the right way to win.”
TrailFest 15km top 3 places
Calum Oates 1:06:55
Andrew Carr 1:07:16
David Chapman 1:12:24
Rachel Hunt 1:21:43 (13th overall)
Sara Kent 1:23:37
Nicola Dawson 1:25:10
TrailFest series top 3 places
The times were aded up for all three races.
Calum Oates 2:24:41
Andrew Carr 2:26:42
David Chapman 2:34:20
Sara Kent 2:59:09
Rachel Hunt 3:00:45
Nicol Dawson 3:01:27
The ladies: Battle for top three places
Nicola Dawson was third in the 15km race and third overall in the series. The final 1km featured an exciting sprint from the three women battling for podium positions.
Nicola said: “The 15k course started off the same as the 12k race until about 10k then it diverted. There was rough terrain, water obstacles, very undulating ground and lovely scenery.
“Then in the last 1k of the race there was a sprint between Sara, Rachel and myself. We were all pushing hard. Unfortunately for me I took a tumble – my shoe lace undid twice – and then I had a killer stitch. It was a really great race and the series was very enjoyable. I hope it returns next year.”
The TrailFest Summer Race Series
The series has comprised three races on consecutive Thursday evenings, all starting and finishing at the visitor centre at Mugdock Country Park. There races have grown in length over the weeks through 7km, 12km and 15km.
I took part in races one and two, but couldn’t be at the third race due to a prior work commitment. I was thrilled to take third place in the second race.
The races have followed some fantastic trails and they have all been very varied with many surprising and challenging sections. Competitors have found themselves winding crazily though woodland, climbing up and down numerous small hills, heading suddenly off track and then back on track and then through tall ferns, long grass and the odd bit of bog. I have loved the races more than any in many, many years.
Nicola added: “I have no idea how the organisers came up with the courses. Did they think: ‘Let’s find the hardest way possible to get from the start to the finish?’ But the races have been brilliant and I have really enjoyed the routes.”
She also gave praise to the volunteers. She said: “The helpers and marshalls were great with their cow bells, well prepared with midge nets and took loads of photos. It has been a great series and I hope it returns next year.”
Views from other runners
Alison Locke, who has run all three races, was new to trail events. She has done very well and she was 6th female overall. After the 15km race, she said: “I really enjoyed last night, despite it being the toughest race yet. There was beautiful low sunshine, which made it even easier to appreciate the scenery.
“I realised something during the race, too, that where we followed the previous course, I remembered every section clearly. This has never happened before.
“Despite having run some routes and races many times, I often find myself thinking: ‘I totally forgot about this stretch.’ But not so for the TrailFest races. Is this because you are forced to concentrate so hard on where you are going, or just because you’re running in such beautiful scenery? I don’t know, but all I am certain of is that I’ll be back if this series runs next year.
“The organisers did a brilliant job of laying the course, roping in enthusiastic marshalls and ensuring that we got a great goodie bag. I’m going to miss the brutal, brilliant trails next week (and my JawBrew beer as a reward!).”
While many people have competed in all three races, some have chosen to race in only one. Peter Hunter entered only the 15km. He said: “I enjoyed the chilled atmosphere at the start and the race course was varied and good fun. I think, like me, quite a few people got lost at various points but I still managed a strong finish and seventh place, which I am very pleased with.”
Iain Todd also took part in one race, the 15km. He said: “The first time I went to Mugdock park I got lost. The second time I went to Mugdock it rained. In fact, most of my trips to Mugdock have seen me either wet or lost.
“I was worried that after the best summer Scotland has had (in recent memory), not only would I jinx the race with rain but that I’d also get lost.
“Thankfully the weather was glorious. A warm summer night, which was perfect for trail running. The tracks were dry (mostly) and the course was superbly marked to prevent people getting lost.
“The race director offered a prize for anyone who took a selfie with a Highland cow but as hard as I looked I didn’t spot one although I seriously considered going off course to find one.
“The highlights of the race were the support crew who enthusiastically supported all the runners with cheers and cow bells. One volunteer even climbed a tree and hollered support at runners run below
“Lastly, the goodie bag gets a mention for supplying beer. That’s always a plus point.”
A few words from the organisers
The races are the brainchild of TrailFest Scotland founders Jo and Ryan. After last night’s race, Ryan wrote on Facebook: “It was a leap into the deep for us and was, at times, an extremely intense roller coaster of a ride, but we did it.
“We dreamt it, we planned it and we delivered it. And the best bit – people LOVED it! We are so incredibly humbled by the waves of positive vibes around these events.
“All was made possible by a truly awesome bunch of folks – you know who you are and I know who you are.
“Did someone say Winter Series?!”
In the meantime, check out TrailFest Scotland’s group and guided runs.