It was a clear and bright day for the 2015 Devil’s Burden relay race. As expected for the time of year the temperature was around 1 degree. Under foot conditions were extremely testing on all four legs of the race; whether it was sheet ice that didn’t allow you to control the direction you were running in, with the odd pirouette that would have been applauded by Torvill and Dean! Ice covered foot deep water bogs that surprised you with a crack and a sudden foot ice bath. And of course the downhill sections that saw some competitors travelling at full speed before using the bum brake, which led to a knowing grown of the pain of carrying out such a manoeuvre from the array of spectators and competitors waiting at the stage changeovers.
Four teams from the Hawks entered the race, two of which had the early start time of 930am with the other two setting off at 1030am. Much expectation lay on the shoulders of the “A” team with a prediction by Des Crowe of a sixth place finish. Being able to field four teams of six runners was in itself a good achievement with first timers and seasoned hill runners coming together.
There was the usual in house rivalry that comes with a healthy competitive spirit; none more so than the rivalry between father and son, even though they were running in the same team on the same leg!
As is normal, so I’m led to believe, a few of the runners picked up scrapes, knocks, cuts and bruises. Luckily there were no serious injuries, just prides. It is the first time I have witnessed a runner doing, now I need to watch how I phrase this, “the dog rear end clean shuffle” over a three metre length of ice!!
All in all, it was a great day and everywhere you looked runners had a smile on their face. Who would have thought putting yourself through the pain and hurt, not to mention the danger, involved in hill racing would generate such enjoyment and togetherness. The feeling is hard to describe.
They say that you have to be a “different breed” to be a hill runner, never a truer word has been spoken. Tough as nails with a hint of crazy.
Well done to all who competed in the Devil’s Burden 2015.