The ever-popular University of Stirling Dumyat Hill Race – which was borne from a bet – saw more than 320 runners don their trainers last night.
In 1972, a student won a £1 bet with a psychology lecturer after proving the return trip from the University Sports Centre to the top of the Dumyat was achievable in less than an hour, setting a time of 57 minutes.
Today, the record for the 390m climb across 8km of tough terrain stands at an incredible 32 minutes and 23 seconds, set by Murray Strain. Former World Mountain Running Champion Angela Mudge, a sports masseuse at the University, is the women’s record holder with a time of 36 minutes and 36 seconds.
And while neither of those records fell in the 41st running of the race last night, runners young and old braved the muddy underfoot conditions with deft skill.
The Dumyat shield went to 24-year-old Tom Martyn in a time of 35 minutes and 17 seconds, bettering his third place finish last year. The University of Edinburgh Physics PhD student said: “It was good to win, I certainly wasn’t expecting to. The conditions were tough and it was a little slippy on the way down so I had to go a little slower.
“It’s a nice race to do, it marks the start of the hill running season and it’s nice to compete on the University campus with lots of other students.”
In the women’s race, Christina Rankin, from Kilbarchan, prevailed in a time of 41 minutes and 43 seconds.
First Stirling runner across the finish line was Economics Research Fellow Dave Eiser (38.35). “It was really good fun,” said Eiser, racing Dumyat for the sixth consecutive year. “As always it’s a really well organised race.
“It was actually the slowest time I’ve done just about and I’m sure a few students who weren’t racing today could have run a faster time, but I’m not complaining. I do a fair bit of training in my lunch breaks. It’s just a brilliant race and it’s on my doorstep so it would seem silly not to do it.”
Hot on his heels was his training colleague Stephen Winter (38.45), a Programmer and Analyst in the Business Systems, Development and Support Office, whilst Iain Gilmore (39.47) was the first Stirling student across the line.
The second year Biology and Conservation Management student followed in his elder brother Andrew’s footsteps, Andrew having finished first student in 2013.
The 19-year-old said: “I’ve run it four times now, twice as a student here and twice with my brother when he started studying at Stirling. We always go for training runs up Dumyat together and there’s a bit of rivalry there, but he normally beats me in races. He’s been busy with work and had a few injuries so decided not to do it this year.
“It is a hobby, but I do take it quite seriously. I’ve been going running every day for about four years now. I really enjoy it and try to do as best I can. Dumyat is one of my favourite races -it’s nice and short which suits me and obviously living and studying at Stirling, I really like it.”
The Race also doubles as the Scottish Student Sport (SSS)Hill Running Championship, with the men’s prize going to University of Dundee student Ryan Stewart (37.07) and the women’s prize won by University of Edinburgh’s Georgia Tudley (42.21).
For some, the competition came a distant second to enjoying the experience and raising funds for charity, including Rona Morrison, Emma Cuthill and Amy Hanlin, painted purple, orange and red respectively. The trio, all members of the women’s basketball team, were running for Asthma UK and Yorkhill Children's Charity dressed as characters from the Space Jam movie.
Full results and race photos by Bob Dale Photography and Zoe Birkbeck are available to view now at: www.stir.ac.uk/dumyat