Microclimate (noun) The climate of a very small or restricted area, especially when this differs from the climate of the surrounding area.
We’d been looking forward to the RunMhor Hidden Glen 10K for a while. It’s put on by the same folk that do the Killin 10K that we loved last year so great things were expected.
The race is part of the frankly for-the-insane RunMhor trilogy, 10K, then a half, then a full marathon. Wouldn’t catch us anywhere near that though.
As we drove up from Edinburgh the weather gods looked down upon us favourably. Coming through Callander the sun was shining and the skies were blue.
Now, I refer you to that definition you passed at the top of the page. Basically it means you can, for example, have brilliant sunshine in one place (for example, Callander) and pissing rain a few miles away (for example, Balquhidder).
Yeah, guess where we were heading.
We joined the line of traffic wending its way along the single track road towards the Monachyle Mhor Hotel. We were running a little late though, having squeezed in a cheeky parkrun at Plean on the way up. We made it to the car park with plenty time to spare, well if you consider 5 minutes to be plenty. As we headed up towards the start there was a real buzz in the air. And rain, there was a lot of rain in the air too.
The seemingly everywhere Dougie Robertson was the M.C. for the day, doing his usual sterling job of getting everyone geed up for the run. As the start time approached we made our way towards the back of the throng. The runners were let go in groups so as to not completely clog up the local roads and ensure the field was spread out nicely from the start.
The first part of the route is an “undulating” out and back along a tarmac road that goes for about 1 Km then turns back and takes you back over the start line. With hindsight we would have hit this bit harder and saved a bit of time here because things were about to get steeper, muddier and trail-ey-er.
You see, that’s where the climb starts. Now lots of races have a climb but this was something we’d never tried racing up before. OK, it was a steepish forest track which is fine. It’s just the fact that today it was a narrow strip of mud separating two small but definitely there rivers.
This wasn’t so much running uphill as running upstream. Yeah, running, we’d love to say we ran all the way up but, well, we didn’t. We stopped to take a couple of photos of water, lots of water and wonder who the hell thought this was a good idea.
We had wondered why the times from previous years had been a bit slow for a 10K.
Now we knew.
We ran / walked/ splashed our way up about 4Km of this before the strains of a cat being strangled let us know we were almost at the turning point. The piper awaited us at the top of the hill where hardy volunteers were handing out water and energy drinks.
The uphill drag had been a slog, but the feeling of achievement at the top was why we were there. The downhill bit, all the way back to the start, was an altogether different beast. The rain meant that us glasses wearers were given two choices. Keep the specs on and not be able to see where we were going, or take them off and, well, not be able to see where we were going. The 4Km down to the finish was therefor a mixture of ill advised exuberance tempered with well advised fear of breaking an ankle. In the dry it would have been a lot less fun!. There’s something refreshing about running through a puddle not knowing A) How deep it was and B) what big rocks lurked in it.
And then there were the people trying not to get wet. Seriously. Picking a way through that didn’t get their nice trainers dirty or damp. Apologies to anyone who got splashed as we barrelled down the direct route. Once we reached the top we couldn’t actually get any wetter.
It was grand to see the finish line, with compere Dougie name checking everyone as they came up the straight. Over the line, medals collected we headed into the barn for our free beer (well, not for the driver) and a cup of coffee. There was a proper party atmosphere too with everyone talking about how wet it was, how cold it was, and how they were DEFINITELY coming back next year.
You see, it should have been miserable and horrible and nasty and in a way it as all of those things. It was also absolutely brilliant. Chatting to fellow runners on the long walk / jog up the hill then comparing notes on who was the wettest at the finish. In the end the time didn’t matter as we’d all had a great time.
Just as well it didn’t matter. Without the frequent photo stops one of us would have made it back in less than an hour. As it was that arbitrary target was missed by 55 seconds. Oh well, there’s always next year.
And you remember that Trilogy thing we mentioned earlier? Well one of us has ABSOLUTELY NOT emailed the organisers to see if they can get signed up for it this year. I suspect they’ll do the Half and Full marathon anyway so the really cool interlocking three part medal would just be a bonus.
Berlin marathon training runs with a medal, be rude not to !!
The other one of us thinks he’s mad.