Almost 250 runners made their way through the mud and over the hills in Sunday's Crieff 10k. Hunters Bog Trotter and Cross Country Running Champion Murray Strain won the Famous Grouse sponsored annual event, with Lothian's Mountain Runner Edel Mooney winning the Women's Race.
It had rained all night in Crieff and there were intermittent showers in the morning but as the runners lined up at 11am for the start of the Famous Grouse 10k Race the rain abated and stayed off for the most of the event.
The cool conditions were such a refreshing change for Scottish runners who have had to endure record high temperatures over the last few weeks. However the race was far from easy, starting in the Perthshire town's Dallerie Park the course heads out over the River Earn and up Turretbank Road before climbing up through the woods and over the 350m Laggan Hill. With conditions underfoot being heavy, the first three kilometres uphill sapped the strength from many runners who struggled to keep running. The level and downhill sections were not much easier as the heavy rain had made the paths muddy. Runners had to negotiate their way through the woods avoiding the many pitfalls provided by the narrow path, slippery stones, puddles and hanging tree branches before a sharp left took them back briefly onto terra firma, then along country paths and the old railway line towards Lady Mary's Walk. Here the path widened but runners had to watch their footing as they crossed a wet wooden bridge before making their way up the last hill of the course and back towards Turretbank Road. With just less than one kilometre to go runners ran down to their right and back over the River Earn Bridge, where they were met by supporters and marshals directing them through a narrow gate back into Dallerie Park. However the race was far from over and runners had to dig deep into their energy reserves to get them across half a kilometre of heavy going grass before they crossed the Finish Line and received their well deserved goody bag, containing a miniature of Famous Grouse whisky and a matching baseball cap.
Runners were later rewarded with an excellent spread of home baking, sandwiches, teas, coffees and soft drinks.
Murray Strain of Hunters Bog Trotters(HBT) won the race in a time of 34:59; last year's winner and course record holder Robert Gilroy of Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers was second in 36:42, with Tony Jackson of Perth Road Runners taking third place in 37:18. Speaking to SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE Race Winner Murray Strain said: "It was a very good race, very tough but also very enjoyable."
Lothian's Edel Mooney won the Women's Race in a time of 38:39, followed by HBT's Megan Mowbray earning second place in 41:50 and Garscube's Alison Winship in third place with a time of 42:15. Women's Race Winner Edel Moody told SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE: "It's the first time I've ran this race, it wasn't easy but I loved it. I'll definitely be back next year."
Unattached Pat Harker closed the race in a time of 1:17:25
One small complaint was the lack of safety pins at registration, with some competitors being advised to remember their race number and shout it out as they crossed the finish line. Although the Race Director did promise that there would be a public execution of the person responsible for safety pins after the race!