A gifted triathlete and an expert skier emerged as the top Stirling students completing the University’s 2012 Dumyat Hill Race.
There was a record turnout of almost 400 runners tackling the 390m climb across 8km of tough terrain setting off from the campus at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.
Murray Strain of Hunter’s Bog Trotters won for the third successive year, setting an event record time of 32 minutes and 23 seconds in the process.
Triathlete Rory Downie, 22, was the first University of Stirling competitor to cross the finish line (38.09), while Sarah Young (47.45) swapped her skis for her running shoes as she led the Stirling women home.
Downie is part of the University’s International Sports Scholarship Programme and plans to graduate in the summer. He used the race as preparation for his professional debut at the end of May on the Off-Road Triathlon Series XTERRA Europe.
He said: “It was the first year I have done the Dumyat and I decided to give it a go as I have started racing off-road triathlons so off-road running comes in handy. I’ve just finished two weeks of solid racing, including the British Universities Triathlon, so I only decided in the afternoon that I was going to run it, really just for a bit of fun.
“It is a very runnable course and very handy to have the hills right on the University doorstep. I just went as hard as I could for as long as I could. I really enjoyed it as there is such a big field competing that there is always someone in front of you to chase and keep you motivated.”
Young, also 22, is studying Environmental Science and receives support from national sports scholarships Winning Students. She recently won the British National Championships relay representing the British Nordic Development Squad.
Downie was eight seconds ahead of David Eiser (38.17), a researcher in the Stirling Management School, with Stephen Winter (39.08), a Programmer and Analyst in the Business Systems, Development and Support Office, not far behind.
The event doubles as the Scottish Student Sport (SSS)Hill Running Championship and University of Edinburgh student Hector Haines, an orienteer and Winning Students-supported athlete, claimed the top men’s prize while Louise Hill-Stirling, from the University of Strathclyde won the women’s student category.
Race organiser Andrew Carroll, from the Sports Participation staff at the University of Stirling, said: “It’s nice to see such a diverse range of athletes taking part and performing so well. It was the 39th running of the Dumyat Hill Race and each year the field gets stronger and stronger, making for an excellent race for both competitors and spectators.”
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.