Ruff Dugger Race Review - May 2016

Race Overview

Ruff Dugger is a trail / mud / obstacle run that you can take part in with or without your dog and it is Scotland’s leading obstacle run for runners with their dogs. This venue for the race was in Innerleithen on the scenic grounds of the Traquair Estate.

Pictures available at: http://kennygirvan.zenfolio.com/ruffdugger2

Race Video: Coming Soon

Arrival & Registration

Although I knew about Ruff Dugger and had talked to their team a few times, I had never ran any of their races before. I was already registered for Bing Blazer when the May race was announced, but as they were both in the EH postcode I decided I should do both. It wasn’t until I was about to leave the Bing Blazer event village that I actually looked at the address for Ruff Dugger, immediately realising that Innerleithen was quite a trek from my current West Lothian location.

Just over an hour drive later, I arrived in the Traquair Estate and was directed into their large (and free) parking area. There were a few merchandise tents (dog focussed) as well as the registration tent. Despite only registering on the day, the process was quick and smooth and within minutes I was registered and had my start time. We received a goody bag with drink, snack, various leaflets and some dog snacks. Being a non-dog owner I passed these to a fellow runner.

The kids’ waves were just getting ready to head out as I headed back to the car to get ready.

The Course

Unlike most races, Ruff Dugger was an evening race, with the adult waves commencing from 18.00 onwards. Partly to separate the dogs, but also to help avoid bottle necks, each individual or team had a staggered start allowing a clear run down towards the picturesque Traquair House.

I was very conscious at that start that almost all runners had a four legged friend, and that I actually may have been the only non-dog runner there – which it turned out I was. However, as the event started it was great fun to watch the runners, and their dogs, set off down the track.

I got called forward, one of the last to go given my last minute registration, and with a quick countdown I was off. The start was a very quick downhill run. The easy start was brilliant, particularly since my legs hadn’t had a chance to recover from my earlier event.

The downhill run was followed by a trail path leading into a field run.  This then lead into a lengthy water run, at times over knee height, followed immediately by a short but extremely muddy section – much muddier than I had expected. Out of the mud and over a fence I continued down the course, which was extremely well marked out and easy to follow. The course continued through fields, muddy trails, woodland paths with plenty of natural obstacles and a few river crossings.

The course then headed into the gardens of the estate, and as we passed the front of Traquair House I was directed into Scotland's largest hedged Maze – a definite highlight of the race. Whilst there was a route mapped through the maze, it was quite a surreal experience. No idea how long the maze lasted, constantly twisting and turning, and hearing other people, but with no idea how close they were in relation to the circuit.

Out of the maze and not far to go. The course headed back off road, navigating through more muddy trails and winding woodland paths to the finish line.

Summary

The course was a really good trail run with natural terrain challenges and plenty of mud, much more than expected. And despite not having a dog I still had a brilliant time. Ruff Dugger is not just for Dugs!

If you are a dog owner – then definitely try one of these events.

If not, then you should definitely still consider trying it, and I would love to hear what other OCR (non-dog) runners think of it.