Trans Sidlaw Challenge (Jul 2021)

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Trans Sidlaw Challenge mass attempt 2021

Way back in 2014 before virtual racing was cool Niall came up with the DMC trans Sidlaw challenge. The aim, to see who could traverse the peaks of Craigowl, Balkello and Auchterhouse hill fastest and if this was quicker on foot or by bike. 2014, 2015 and 2016 all saw mass attempts at this challenge. Then the club seemed to forget about the challenge. Even 2020 with it’s lockdowns and travel restrictions didn’t generate any new attempts. As 2021 dawned and the 5-mile travel limit stretched on a few attempts were made. Allan was first out the block claiming a new record with a clear lead over previous times before the Strava police discovered he hadn’t read the rules properly and had not touched the trig point on Craigowl. There may have also been some aborted attempts by nameless secretive club members at this time. Allan didn’t take his disqualification to heart and returned and ran the route again including the trig point with a 3 minutes faster time proving his running prowess. His new record of 36:21 meant that runners had finally managed to beat cyclists and smashed my (Dom) previous running record of 43 minutes.

Having other running targets at that point it had to wait until summer before I responded to try and retake my record. Given the significant time improvement I decided to improve my odds by organising a mass attempt at the challenge so there were people to push me on. So, on 7th July 10 of us lined up to take on the challenge, 7 from the expanding DMC running division plus 3 friends from DRR. We met at the finish for an easy jog to the start which has rather more limited parking, however problems soon became apparent. Cow shaped problems. There were two herds of cattle guarding the bottom of the approach road where the run starts. Rather than creating the first DMC cattle run we decided the better option was to start higher up the access road. After a quick briefing and count down we set off, thankfully the calves in the field decided not the join us running up the hill.

Going up Craigowl the direct approach proved more popular amongst the leaders but others did take the longer gentler climb round the back. Iain got to the summit of Craigowl first showing some fight for DMC to hold off the running club members but Anwen was not far behind and soon caught him and continued ahead into the distance. The ordering of runners was more or less maintained from this point to the finish. My superior descending was not sufficient to overcome Iain’s superior climbing speed. Berenice and Heinke were waiting in the woods to cheer people on to the finish.

A fun run was had by all with some enjoying a taste of competitive running others just enjoying a nice evening out on the hills. Allan’s record survived the night as the shorter course meant our times were not comparable to previous times. Meaning the race is still open, can anyone beat Allan’s time to claim a new DMC record?

Results of mass attempt on the cow shortened course:

6=Andrew B40:41
10Andrew H49:19
  • Report by Dominic Williams