IT WAS a great night for new does and stags at the weekend’s annual Mighty Deerstalker event at Traquair.
Coming home first for the ladies – and at the grand age of 47 – was first-time Deerstalker 10km runner Aly Raw.
The keen fell-runner from West Yorkshire stayed ahead of the herd of deer to cross the finish line of the notoriously eccentric race in 1 hour 34 minutes and 27 seconds.
Raw, a runner with Bingley Harriers, said: “I entered this event on a whim and I’m thrilled to have won.
“It’s a brilliant race and amazing fun. This is one of the best events I’ve ever taken part in.”
Second for the ladies and just nine seconds behind was Claire Gordon, of the Edinburgh-based Hunter’s Bog Trotters (HBT) running club.
Meanwhile, the first stag home in a superb time of 1 hour 16 minutes and 53 seconds was Donald Naylor, also a newbie Mighty Deerstalker entrant and a member of HBT.
In second place for the stags (men aged 18-50) was Stevie Cairns, also of HBT, in a time of 1hr 19 mins and 39 seconds.
The fifth Mighty Deerstalker event, which follows a hilly and obstacle-strewn course across the Traquair House estate and local countryside, attracted a record-breaking number of entrants. Almost 2,300 stags and does took part in both the 5km and 10km adventure runs on Saturday afternoon and evening.
First stag in the 5km event was Iain Stewart in 48.12. First doe was Lothian Running Club runner Edel Mooney in 51.50.
Many of the participants were dressed in Deerstalker-themed outfits, including full Tweeds, antlers and deerstalker hats. More loosely-themed were the moose herd and four pink rabbits.
This is the fourth time that I have run the 10km event, which started at 5.45pm, and every year it seems more bonkers and exhausting.
The hills always seem steeper than I can recall; the water crossings seem longer and much colder.
The obstacles are surely trickier, while the descents appear to get tougher as each year passes.
Yet the atmosphere has become ever more friendly and the fun continues to amaze me.
After an extremely tiring one hour and 44 minutes I finally crawled across the finish line.
Surprisingly, this was a personal best time for the event and I finished eighth doe.
Will I be back again next year? Of course! Like so many entrants the whacky event has become an annual ritual.
To read Fiona’s blog, go to www.fionaoutdoors.co.uk