Another COVID tinged year, but no enthusiasm lost for this epic festive race on the back of Corstorphine Hill. It was the fifteenth year we have run it in this format (16 if you include the Summer 2005 prologue, of UP only) and we were treated to a very atmospheric chilly morning. Having woken late, 8:20 at the foot of the Edinburgh with a car to scrape and a few bags of flour to grab. I was very grateful to know we were to be ably supported by Moray Anderson and the mini A’s and stalwarts Graeme Reid and Chris Peggie. Add into the mix Sophie Collins, who by the way is our go to Instagram person – get in touch with your stories we were like a smoothly oiled machine. Or say he says.

Bumping into Mozza on setting up the course I was disappointed to hear he was shrewdly protecting his injured knee. Peer pressure and the, “if I am going down there anyways i might as well time myself” attitude resulted in our competitive numbers swelling to 18 all in. A fine number. Well represented across the club with a good sprinkling of debutants, it was racing time. Mozza set off with a humph, sigh / mighty roar.

The course is not prescriptive, but it is marked in the probable fastest way. A quick briefing to share that route and we started off chasing in 10s intervals. I always forget just how much effot the ~800m downhill route takes. You certainly have to keep on running.

Not having the warmth of the indoors again this year to get the results right, we struggled a little(lot) to try piece these together on damp paper up the hill so a few nods were given to those I quickly calculated the fastest. Loving a good Excel file I enjoyed seeing these results come alive at home. The downhill nod had been given to Jules Barrable who ran a fine 2:31, for reference the record stands at 2:19 since 2007. It was therefore thrilling to see one of our talented middle distance runners Ritchie Gardiner, put down a cracking marker on that at 2:24 to take the downhill win. First female on the down was Kirstin who only just missed adding another sub 3 minute time to her palamares, this year running 3:05 – rapid! Having previously mentioned the fully marked course it was relatively surprising to have Theo and Ewan (reigning champion – done this before) Brown, go off course at the first turn. They made for dispirited finishers as they trundled over the finish line eventually. Not injured though and I am sure they wont make that mistake again!

Enough rest not to get too cold and we were off back up the hill. I always enjoy getting to chase everyone up – often a futile exercise but on the switchback at the stairs you get a great view of those ahead and then its time to dig in and get yourself there. Sub 4:00 and you get yourself into an elite group on the all time rankings, pretty pleasing to have a “well rested” Ewan Brown 3:40 and Aaron Hoyle 3:50 battling it out for the win. James Dunn, will have to come back again having run, 4:00 exactly. Kirstin completed her clean sweep this year of up, down and overall running 5:06, for the up though Amy Crawford was close behind having a good run in 5:21. Kirstin’s overall time being 8:11.

Overall winner takes home the coveted, 200ct Diamond down’N’UP trophy. Who was it to be? There were 4 runners sub 7 minutes and it was incredibly close at the top. Aaron Hoyle taking 3rd step on the podium but an agonising 2s off the win. In another COVID safe, please keep your distance year it was therefore appropriate that for the first time ever we had joint winners crammed onto the top step, not since a Lindsays Cross Country Relays prizegiving photo has there been more of a squish. Broonie’s cracking uphill time was not enough to feature. Our overall winners this year were James Dunn and Ritchie Gardiner with 6:38.

Well done to everyone, thanks for supporting the event. And a special mention to Santa for brining the mince pies and Keith Ovenstone who definitely won the dressing up contest – going full white with a crash helmet!

Results are here for this year and past years including summary and records.

All the best for Christmas!

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