University of Stirling student Iain Donnan hopes his Dumyat Hill Race record will prove too much of an uphill struggle to break.
The popular annual race attracts top hill runners and keen amateurs, all tackling the five mile, 390m climb from the University campus to the top of the Dumyat and back.
This year, its 39th running, is under starter’s orders at 7pm on Wednesday 9 May and incorporates the Scottish Universities Championship.
Donnan – a gifted mountain runner - won’t be there to better the impressive time of 32 minutes and 52 seconds he set in 2007, but the former Sports Coaching student is keen to see his record remain.
“I’ve only actually competed in the Dumyat race once, but I must have gone up there about 50 times that one year just for fun,” said the 26-year-old, originally from Livingston and currently based in Stockholm.
“Some of my professors were talking about the race and convinced me to do it. There was a bit of pressure as they knew I was a mountain runner, but I put most of the pressure on myself to do well.
“Unfortunately I won’t make it this year, but I’m sure I will make it back for another go and I’m confident I could go even faster. I’m surprised the record has lasted this long to be honest. It would be nice to see it continue, but there are a few experienced Dumyat runners who know how to tackle the course so I expect it will go.”
One such runner is Murray Strain, of Hunter’s Bog Trotters, who has won the race two years running and in 2011, was just 15 seconds shy of Donnan’s record.
Former World Mountain Running Champion Angela Mudge, a sports masseuse at the University, took the women’s title in 2011 and is also the women’s record holder with a time of 36 minutes and 36 seconds.
As well as the main race, this year’s event includes a picture perfect competition, with prizes for the best race photo snapped by spectators.
And Donnan, who started mountain running aged 12 and has since won four British Championships and competed at two World Junior Championships, believes the view is one not to be missed.
He added: “I have spoken to some people at Stirling who have never been up the Dumyat, which is a shame. Even if folk don’t want to run it, it’s definitely worth walking up and watching the race is a great way to do it. Stirling is a great city and if you want to see it at its best then you have to go up the Dumyat.”
Full race details, training advice and picture perfect competition information is available at: www.stir.ac.uk/dumyat
The Dumyat Hill Race was first created when a University of Stirling psychologist laid a £1 bet claiming the return trip from the University’s Gannochy Pavilion to the top of the Dumyat was impossible in less than an hour. On Graduation Day 1972 the £1 was lost by three minutes and, following the first ‘official race’ in 1973, it has been held annually in May ever since attracting around 300 runners.
Dumyat is pronounced dum-eye-at, being a contraction of Dun Myat, which was a fortress of the Pictish group the Maeatae. The remains of the Dun Myat fort are near the summit.