Get Dirty in the Dark
Some events are more – for want of a better expression, out there, than others and The Mighty Deerstalker at Traquair House, Innerleithen definitely falls into this category. The event is part of the Notorious Night Runs series, one of four organized rambles of 5, or 10k round a hilly course that promises ‘regular wettings,’ and obstacles named “The Rack,’ ‘The Scree’ and ‘The Tunnel.’’ All designed in the organiser’s own words to ‘push you to the edge.’
As the name suggests, the main 10k takes place in the gory dark, and participants are encouraged to dress up in accordance with the theme of each event – for the Mighty Deerstalker this naturally means deerstalker hats, tweeds, stag horns and kilts. Competitors are also strongly advised to wear a head torch – advice given, we imagine, not just so runners can negotiate their way in the dark, but also so they can appreciate the antics of their fellow competitors as they slip and slide round the course in gleeful eccentricity.
After ‘Stags’ and ‘Does’ have made their way, in a landslide of mud splattered tweed across the finish line, they are herded merrily into the legendary after party – from deerstalker to ‘beerstalker’ – where the tomfoolery continues late into the night in an endorphin fuelled festival of live music, good local grub and perhaps, an ale or two.
This year’s Mighty Deerstalker took place on 17th March and we wondered exactly what sort of person the event attracted?
Eagle-eyed, A Hume customers may recognise the face of competitor 3619 – our very own A Hume model, and Borders GP, Dr James Millar, peering out of the dark, sporting victory mud smears and his regulation head torch.
Here’s what he had to say about taking part in the Mighty Deerstalker;
“From the start at dusk to the finish in the dark with the frost coming down, it was 3.5 hours of various kinds of mud. I did not know there could be so many kinds of mud; slippy, rough, dry, sticky, and more. This was combined with steep climbs, steep declines, wet rivers, dry rivers and mountainous scree.’
‘All that said, having successfully finished there is a huge sense of achievement and relief. Finally, I did not know how beneficial it actually is to wear tweed on such a adventure, I initially thought it just part of the gimmick but it was so practical and warm to wear.”