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Monday, 22 March 2010

Mighty Deerstalker was muddy, mad but fun

What's wet, slippery, longer than average and dirty all over? The Mighty Deerstalker of course!

I have competed in the madcap Mighty Deerstalker 10k three times now. Twenty minutes into every race I have cursed the agony in my thighs, my mud-squelching trainers, my soaked, chaffing shorts and my bursting lungs. I have doubted my sanity.

But I have also found this unique adventure run that takes place on the beautiful Traquair estate in the Scottish Borders to be enormously rewarding. There is a fantastic atmosphere, the obstacles are bonkers but fun and I have totally loved the bizarre and extreme challenge.

At the end of every Deerstalker event I always have a massive smile on my face – and I just know I'll want to enter again next year.

The 2010 Mighty Deerstalker, which took place on Saturday evening in half light and then darkness, was even better (and crazier) than I can remember. The bogs were boggier, the obstacles were more slippery, the hills seemed steeper, the river crossings seemed longer and the scree seemed less firm. But the participants seem to be having more fun.

This time I had a grinning G-Force running with me (well, mostly slightly ahead!). This was his first go at the Mighty One and despite the scratches, scrapes, rubs and tiredness he crossed the finish line and immediately commented that he wanted to do it again - and faster - next year.

With some 2500 people lining up for the Mighty Deerstalker - and also the sister 5k Deerstalker race – this event just gets bigger every year. The first time I entered there were only 600 people in both races.

The after-race entertainment is also even more impressive as the years go by. The "Beerstalker" party tent was full of happy, but still mostly muddy, participants and a host of friends. Beer, bands and lots of banter. Perhaps I'm getting old, but I couldn't last the pace of the after-race event and had to pull out before the final stages.

Still, I had an excuse for my tiredness. I ran a faster time in the Mighty Deerstalker than ever before and scored a top 20 result in the female stag category. But my 1hr 50 mins was nowhere near as impressive as the first lady stag Mhairi Brown, 28, of Edinburgh, who came home in 1:34. Meanwhile the first male stag was local man Darin Dougal, 38, of Innerleithen, who finished in 1:21. Awesome stuff you fellow stags.

If this sounds like your kind of thing and you can't wait until next year why not check out another event being held at Balfron, Stirlingshire, in May? The Marie Curie Whole Hog Challenge 2010 promises six miles of mud, waterfalls, countryside trails and general madness. You'll also be raising money for a worthwhile charity. To find out more see here

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