Over 400 runners with attitude turned up at Mugdock Park, Milngavie near Glasgow for the Saab Salomon Turbo X on Saturday. Dry and sunny weather on the days up to the event and on the morning of the race came as a relief to entrants who knew that organisers had prepared a fiendish course. Turbo X is billed as the maddest, muddiest run of the Saab Salomon Trail Running Series and the Mugdock route didn't disappoint providing 10 miles of undulating terrain, lengthy spells through very swampy ground plus specially prepared all-mud sections.
There was a great atmosphere as runners set off in warm sunshine, surprising given the poor weather in Scotland throughout August and early September. The early stages were run at a slow pace for runners caught in the middle of the field, probably a blessing given the challenges ahead. Over the next 1, 2 or 3 hours - depending on your ability runners faced a natural assault course of water, sand, marsh and muck. And then things got really tough in the Saab X Zone - a 1.5 mile section of extreme terrain which included a 30 yard slog through a canal of mud up to your waist. If you lost your footing, the only hope was to pray - well, you were on your knees anyway - that some kind spirited fellow competitor would take pity and haul you back on to your feet.
The Saab Salomon Turbo X is a superb test of stamina, agility and perseverance but there's also a great sense of camaraderie, which gets you through the tough times. And there were a few as you scrambled up a steep section of rough terrain or tried to keep your footing as you upped the pace on the downhill sections.
Congratulations to Nick Swinburn who won the race in 1:03:55 and who was the only runner to get through the Saab X Zone in less then 12 minutes; Scott Fraser was second in 1:04:46. First woman was Natalie White (1:20:47) and Emma Birnie was runner-up (1:27:23). The final finishers completed in 3:39:34.
Full results at www.racetimingsystems.com
A full report of the Saab Salomon Turbo X from publisher Terry Brennan will appear in SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE (Winter edition)