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Bet you’re up for the Dumyat Challenge?

A popular Stirling hill race which started as a bet and now doubles as the Scottish Championship event is under starter’s orders for the 38th running.

The scenic Dumyat Hill Race takes place on Wednesday (4 May) at the University of Stirling, attracting runners from all over Scotland.

First created when a university psychologist laid a £1 bet claiming the return trip from the Gannochy Pavilion to the top of the Dumyat was impossible in less than an hour, the challenging route comprises a 390 metre climb (1,280 feet) over an 8km (five mile) distance.

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.

A record turnout of almost 300 runners took on the testing challenge last year, with the men’s event won by Murray Strain, pictured, of Hunters Bog Trotters who led the field home in 33 minutes and 47 seconds.

University of Glasgow student Jessica Martin took the women’s title in a balanced 42 minutes and 42 seconds, while Stephen Winter, a Programmer and Analyst, was the first University of Stirling runner to cross the finish line.

Angela Mudge, a Stirling graduate, holds the women’s record of 36m 46s set in 2007 and the men’s record, posted by Stirling student Iain Donnan, stands at an incredible 32m 52s.

Graduate Fitness Officer Stacey Coffin helped to develop a training programme for runners ahead of this year’s event and knows the challenge they face if they hope to topple those times.

She said: “I walked the route with some colleagues from the sports participation team, keeping a good pace and it took us almost two hours, so I am shocked that someone has managed to complete it in 32 minutes. It looks like a really physical challenge and the training programme had plenty of exercises to strengthen the leg muscles.

“This will be my first experience of the Dumyat race and I can’t wait to see so many people taking on this fun challenge. It was a stunning day when we went up the route and I had my camera out taking pictures of the view from the top. Whether people want to give it a go or just watch, I’m sure everyone will have a great experience.”

Prizes are available across a number of categories, including awards for the University’s first male and female runner. The race will also double as the Scottish Universities Hill Running Championship.

The 38th Dumyat Hill Race starts at 7pm on Wednesday 4 May 2011. Entries will be taken in the University of Stirling Sports Centre from 5.45pm-6.45pm on the evening of the race. Public entries cost £4 and £3 for students.

Full race details and training advice is available at:
www.sportingexcellence.stir.ac.uk/take-part/intra-mural-sport

Historical note: Dumyat is pronounced dum-eye-at, being a contraction of Dun Myat, ie the fortress of the Maeatae, a Pictish group. The remains of the fort are near the summit.

Image of Murray Strain courtesy of Chris Upson and image from the starting line courtesy of Gail Niven

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