Hillbillies take over the forest with second duathlon

The Galloway Hillbillies hosted a fabulous turnout at the second Hillbilly Duathlon at Kirroughtree at the weekend.

Ladies individual, first, Sofia Christiansen in a time of 1:59:26, second, Rowan Armstrong, third Jude Murdoch.
Ladies individual, first, Sofia Christiansen in a time of 1:59:26, second, Rowan Armstrong, third Jude Murdoch.

To add to an impressive tally of 67 juniors around 160 seniors took part across the weekend.

On Saturday, the junior 8-11 age group were first off at 11am, facing a short 500m loop of the events field followed by a 3km mountain bike loop.

Competition for first in the male solos was very tight this year, with Thomas Fell just pipping Ben McMullen to take the title and a new course record of 13:48 mins.

Ladies individual, first, Sofia Christiansen in a time of 1:59:26, second, Rowan Armstrong, third Jude Murdoch.

Run discipline records were broken in the male and female categories, with Adam McBain and Natalya Gibson flying around the route in 2:51 and 2:50. Team records for male, female and mixed pairs were all broken this year with fastest pair going to Adam McBain and James Moffat in a time of 14:48.

The junior 12-15 age group faced a tough course consisting of a 3 km run followed by an 8km mountain bike. Running as part of a male team, Iain Rae pulled off a good lead, recording a course record of 12:29 to set team mate Bradley Cowan up for his own record breaking 23:44 around the bike segment. The course record now sits at 36:13. In the individuals, Louis Moore secured a win in a new course record of 41:20 and in the female individuals, Rosie Sinden retained her title from last year and set a new course record in a remarkable 52:09.

On the Sunday, the claxon for the senior duathlon went off at 11am and Bruce McKenzie rallied the spectators and team mates in encouraging the large field of over 100 runners on their way around the challenging 10 km forest trail. A slight mis-hap with a marshal tape sent runners a further half mile which made the run extra gruelling this year!

Never the less, the field were on their way with some very fast runners quickly setting a good pace. David Sloan was first runner back to transition in an outstanding 44:22 quickly followed by Andrew Houston and Alan Baxter. First lady back to transition was Rowan Armstrong in 49:37. A quick change-over to the mountain bike and competitors were off again, climbing towards the angler’s car park upon the 7 stanes red route.

Increased felling activity during the last few months has opened up the landscape and spectators were able to see riders at many parts of the course this year. First biker home was Bruce McCleary in 49:28. Hot on his heels was Santa Cruz rider Rob Friel, who set the fastest bike time of the day with 49:15 mins to take first mixed pair with Caroline Vance. In the females, Breakpad rider Sofia Christiansen set the third fastest individual bike time of the day with her 01:02:08 effort taking her to first female individual in 01:59:26. Michael Pluckrose maintained his title from last year, winning the vet category and also securing the fastest individual of the day in 01:43:08.

Prize giving was a busy affair with senior, vet and super vet categories up for grabs in the individual and pair categories. Among the winners were Rennell and Steven Brennan who set new individual course records in the vet ladies (02:09:34) and super vet male (01:50:57). Eunice Alexander set a female super vet individual record in 02:33:37.

Sofia Christiansen set a new female bike course record with her superb 01:02:08 time. In the teams, Alan Baxter and Will Voce set a new course record in the male vets in a time of 01:39:13. Emmanuelle Prieu and Jack Donald, Gordon Thomson and Kenny Livingston and Susan and Ian Beattie, all set new course records in the vet and super vet team categories.

Rowan Armstrong said: “We have been delighted with the amount of positive feedback received and would like to pay particular thanks to the many local sponsors who made the event possible – many of whom competed themselves and popped along during the weekend to offer support.

Special thanks must go to the marshals who gave up a lot of their time to mark out the course prior to the event and position themselves at stations along the race routes on Saturday and Sunday to support and direct competitors.

“Their assistance to Raynet and First Aid also allowed the hillbilly team to compete on Sunday! We had some great commentary by Bruce McKenzie throughout the weekend which really helped motivate the runners and riders in transition and out on the course.

“Our event partners Churchill Catering and The Breakpad provided first-class food provisions and mechanical support throughout the weekend.

“We would also like to thank Rowan Glen and Newton Stewart Co-op for the bounty of yoghurts, drinks and bananas we were able to offer competitors and Kirkcowan Cycles, MPG Cycles and Laggan Outdoor for the exceptional quality of prizes donated for the Junior and Senior Duathlon. The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Forestry Commission Scotland, to which we look forward to working with again come our second event in September – the [email protected] – please see our fantastic new website www.gallowayhillbillies.org for more details.

“If you would like to take up mountain biking, please get in touch with the Galloway hillbillies through our facebook pages ‘Galloway Hillbillies’ or ‘Kirroughtree Hillbilly Duathlon’. We meet weekly at Kirroughtree Visitor Centre, Palnure on a Tuesday night from 7.30 pm and often at weekends. If you can’t make the [email protected], the Galloway Hillbillies look forward to welcoming you next year when the Kirroughtree Hillbilly Duathlon will return in May.”