Caerketton Downhill 6th Sep 2017

After spectating the last 2 years I finally plucked up the courage to try this race. Downhill is not my strong point so I thought I should face my demons and give it a go. I was very glad I did as it was great fun and I even won a prize (second FV40, OK there were only 2 running but I will take that! :-)). It was Daniel’s first time doing the race too and he also enjoyed it.

Runners are set off from the top of Caerketton at 15 second intervals and its a manic dash to the bottom of the hill. At the finish prizes are raffled off, you can win anything from a bottle of wine to a packet of teabags. Most fun! 🙂

7= Michael Greens MS 06:08
32 Chris Downie M50 07:23
44 Daniel Greens MS 08:52
46 Sadie Kemp F40 09:26

Bill’s grandchildren from Fife AC did extremely well!
10 Struan Bennet MJ 06:11
35= Ailsa Bennet FJ 07:51

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Ben Nevis 2017

Richard Askwith’s book, “Feet in the Clouds: a study of fell-running and obsession” has a chapter on the Ben Nevis hill race and finishes off with a statement that one is not a hill runner until you have run the Ben race. This has been mildly frustrating for me as fieldwork has clashed with this race date for most of the last decade. Last year was the first time I could have run it and I did not get in. My grovelling over e-mail got rather pathetic. They would not budge.

So – 2017 – I was super organised, got my registration in as early as possible and along with Stuart, Gillian, Alan, Mark, Sadie and of course Chris (27th time!!) we all met up last Saturday lunchtime at Claggan Park Rugby Pitch on a warm bright sunny day with building apprehension and excitement.

Ben Nevis race profile

For those who don’t know, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK and therefore every Tom, Dick and Harriet wants to do it – hence the difficulty in getting a place. The race, from sea level to the summit, is 14kms long with a hefty 1345m ascent and descent. What makes it doubly tough is that is a highly technical rocky gnarly course with very little of that nice soft peaty mud that we are spoilt with in the Borders region.

http://scottishhillracing.co.uk/RaceDetails.aspx?RaceID=RA-0098

There are essentially four sections to The Ben – see map.

The Ben route

The first kilometre is on road – fast going out and can be cruelly slow coming back. I initially took my time on this hoping that it would leave some strength for later. Once Stuart was out of sight in the throng of the many runners, I settled into a comfortable jog and tried to keep my eyes on the track at my feet with a periodic look-around to see the glory of Glen Nevis unfold as we climbed. There was no chance to look around on the descent!

As we left the road, the climb started, initially gently, but by the 3rd km, the steep ascent begins. The path at this point has been modified extensively to reduce erosion which means that the whole track is like a large unforgiving cobbled path with periodic “steps up”. These are not always small steps and as you climb, you think that running down it would be a nightmare. Once the race route tracks round into Red Burn valley, we left the main tourist track and deviated up a now quite badly eroded track to cut out a large corner of the main tourist track south of Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe. After the large blocks of the previous section, this was a nice change and there were some short sections of nice runnable track.

After crossing the Red Burn (about the half way point – with shouts of encouragement from Billy), the climb notches up a gear. While the tourist track zig-zags up to the summit plateau, the race route goes straight up through a tortuous blocky scree. Richard Askwith describes this section much better than I; “……….scrambling up a slimy scree slope steeper than a London Underground escalator, …….. – and trying to ignore the fact that, the harder I thrust myself upward, the faster the stones crumble and slide beneath me. The heap of sharp-edged rocks stretches upwards. Though my legs are already limp, I know that, compared with the bone-threatening descent to come, I’m still on the easy bit.”

It is indeed a tough section – steep, loose and you cannot help thinking, “how the hell am I going to RUN down this”. I simply focussed on putting one step in front of the other, trying not to lose any places while ensuring I consumed a gel and a muesli bar while drinking plenty of electrolyte so I would have the energy for the descent. Near the top of the scramble/scree section, Finlay Wild flew down past us – way ahead of the next fastest runner. He was obviously on track for winning the Ben race for an 8th time in a row.

On reaching the broad summit plateau, there is still about half a kilometre before the turn around at the actual summit. The tourist track is a knobbly blocky track at this point – not fun to run on at all, especially with my right foot still sore from Dollar and so this was probably my slowest section. It was at this point that I saw Stuart coming towards me. I shouted encouragement but as he came up to me, he stopped, grabbed his thighs and screamed at me “CRAAAAAMMMMPPPPP!” and then stumbled off down the track. To my utter shame, my sympathy was very short lived and I mostly thought, “Oooh – I might catch him”.

I reached the sunny, but cool, summit in 1hr 27 mins which I am pretty happy about, although, for context, Finlay finished the whole race in 1:31:37!!! On the turnaround I took it easy over the initial summit track although one could not go too quickly as you had to not only dodge runners coming up but also the 100s of tourists who were walking up/down as well. It was a very busy summit!

However, once the descent down the scree started, the manic madness started that would not let up until I hit the road at the bottom. Loose scree is actually much easy to run on than unresisting knobbly blocks. I wont say that this initial steep descent was fun, but I went much quicker than I thought I would and with other runners constantly breathing down your neck (literally), I only vaguely saw/heard the other Harriers going up. It was all a blur really and adrenaline levels were probably very high as I seemed to fly down with my arms whirling like a windmill to keep balance as my feet, with semi-control, flitted from one loose cluster or rocks to another. Before I knew it, I had crossed the Red Burn and was traversing round to the blocky tourist track. Ironically, this section is the only bit where there was a muddy track and most of us were slipping all over the place.

To my utter surprise, the blocky tourist track was not that bad although the temperature rose to uncomfortable levels as we descended and it was rather hot in the valley. Going down this section was a lot easier than the trudge up – more of a matter of skipping across the large cobbles – although this would however be quite slimy if the conditions had been wet. In my probably slightly unwise reckless descent I passed several runners on this section and somehow did not trip. It would not be pretty if someone went head over heels here.

As the gradient lessened, I realised I was coming towards the road. Everyone says that this is where many runners come unstuck as their legs cramp up as soon as they hit the tarmac. It was now uncomfortably warm and we were all sweating quite profusely. I had been sucking on electrolyte the whole way and as I started on the road for the final km, my legs seemed thankfully to be OK. I was not fast – never am on tarmac – but I managed to keep a reasonable pace with no muscle twinges.

I crossed the finish line in 2 hrs 18 mins – not feeling too broken at all. The atmosphere was fabulous with runner’s names being called out over the tannoy and everyone standing and sitting around enjoying the mid-afternoon sun. Stuart had come in around 2:08 and was on the ground groaning and whinging about old age. The rest of the Harriers came in over the next hour (Chris and Sadie being very close!) with Mark just coming in under the 3:15 cut-off.

This was my 140th SHR race and according to Richard Askwith, I am now a fell runner. What a relief! I can finally relax!

 

Of the 489 finishers, the Harriers results were:

106th: 2:08:44: Stuart Sanderson [FASTEST FIREMAN PRIZE!!!]

172nd: 2:18:30: Rob Wilson

339th: 2:42:58: Gill Cairns

441st: 3:06:33: Alan Thornburrow

446th: 3:08:06: Chris Downie

447th: 3:08:22: Sadie Kemp

461st: 3:14:46: Mark Dawson

Loads of piccies on the internet – here are a few

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Glencoe Trail Marathon 2017

Glencoe Trail Marathon Race Report (Not the Easy Glencoe Marathon)

Well that was an Experience. Do something that scares you once in a while they said!!!

In my case it’s sign up for the wrong race and realise you are running in some of the biggest scariest mountains I’ve ever been on. The only munro i had ever been up was Ben Nevis Tourist Route.

Up to a week before i was thinking about not even turning up, but running a recce of the Two Brewries with Gilly Marshal and Allan Dunbar the week before I though how much harder can this be (oh how I was wrong ha ha)

Michael my Race support team and Molly the mountain Labrador stayed up at the start at the Glencoe Ski and Midge centre the night before the race in the campervan.

Race day was absaloutly lovely, clear skies, no wind, the perfect weather for bighting beasties and running in the hills. I think if the weather had been any different i would have definitely pulled out.

The race briefing was very short and to the point, I think somtimes that is best as if it goes on, people loose interest, start chatting and miss the real valid points.

The race started at 8.30 and off to a quick start down hill from the ski centre towards Kings House Hotel on to The West Highland Way heading towards the bottom of the Devil Staircase (the way I thought i was going to be running) This was check point one, just before the first big climb past the most photographed house in Scotland, The Lagangarbh Mountain Climbers Hut and up a pass on to Buachaille Etive Mor, at this point I really though What have I done. But no turning back i carried on with another runner who also thought a mountain marathon may be a bit much, but after a 40 minute climb I was rewarded with some of the most amazing views. Then a few ups and downs through Stob Na Doire, Stob Coire Altruim, Stob Coire Raineach down a horrendous bum sliding bog filled valley to check point two in Glen Etive at about 12 miles in 4 hours met by Michael and Molly who gave me the nudge to dig in and carry on along with a girl Marina from Clydsdale Harriers and back up the valley around the other side of Stob Dubh thankfully not having to go along a heart stopping ridge but down another bum sliding decsent back towards check point 1 which was also check point 3 (7hrs 15 minutes). At this point i thought i was on the final home straight, back on the military road along the west highland way towards the Midge Centre, how wrong was I. Just a few hundred meters from the finish line check point 4  we were directed back on to the West Highland way heading South for what I thought was going to be a small loop of a mile or so, but little did i realise the marathon was over 28 miles long. On my own a bit round this part, i phoned Mike in a panic as i thought i had taken a wrong turning and thought i was going to end up in Inveroran, but Mike re assured me I was going the right way but the course was measured incorrectly and i was on the right route but still had two miles to go.

At last Climb to the turn off towards the top of the Glencoe Midge Centre chair lift through another muddy bog then down the side of the chair lift to what must be the worst and scariest hillside decsent ive ever done.

Finaly home 10Hrs 5 mins, 2559 meters of climbing, 28 miles +++++, 24th out of 28, with 12 DNF, pretty mediocre medal, no goodie bag, no food and a pretty crap T Shirt, but still had a great day. Will I do it again………………….???

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Ochils 2000s Long Classic Hill Race 2017

I ‘enjoyed’ this race so much last year that I thought that I would try
it again – and as this would be my 4th Long classic of the year, the pressure
would be off to complete the Series requirement. Although the forecast was
quite good, it had been raining quite a lot during the previous week and we
were warned that it was rather soggy underfoot. We weren’t to be disappointed!

The race route goes from half way up Glen Devon (3 miles past the Yetts o
Muckhart) up and over most of the Ochils bumps, down to Menstrie, back up
Dumyat and finally descending back down to Stirling University in Bridge of
Allan. At almost 21 miles, it’s quite a trek.

Registration at the Sports Centre at Stirling University was all very
organised and we were handed out envelopes with our electronic orienteering
doofers and even a map inside a waterproof case! Two coach loads of about
65 runners set off at 10:45 towards Dollar for the start at 12:00. Without
Rob for company, I was more nervous than usual, but was soon chatting to
other apprehensive runners. There seemed to be a lot of new faces – people
who had experienced the race before were sensible enough to go for the
‘easier’ options when competing in the Series.

It was sunny and warm at the start so a running vest was sufficient. Of
course, I had forgotten the suncream. I quite like the long races starts as
nobody feels the need to warm up much and there is no sprint! The route starts
off in woodland and forest up a nice track and then onto a hill trail. It
didn’t seem too soggy at first – this must be the dry side. The climb up to
the first checkpoint at Innerdownie (611m) is very steady and not too steep,
and was almost a pleasure! .

It was great to be now up on the ridge and the views were opening up to the
south. The path was still very good, wet but firm enough for fast running
along the ridge to checkpoints 2 and 3 (Whitewisp Hill at 643m and Tarmangie
Hill at 645m). I like these electronic thingies – much easier than those
fiddly stampy things. Then the drop down to the Burn of Sorrow and the steep
climb up to Kings Seat Hill (648m). My competitive nature was now kicking in
and I was probably going slightly too fast. Walter was in front of me and
seemed to be going well.

Another drop down and less steep climb up to Andrew Gannet Hill at 670m and
Checkpoint 5. The next three checkpoints are on the highest part of the
Ochils Ridge: The Law (638m), Ben Cleuch (721m) and Ben Buck (679m).
Although not so much up and down, the ground was quite wet and becoming
harder work. Again I was trying to keep up with another couple of runners
who were probably going above my pace.

Another zig-zag south to Ben Ever at 622m and then the dreaded leg north-
west to Blairdennon Hill (631m). I can remember it being hard last year,
but this time it was harder and definitely wetter. I gave up trying to
skirt around the green slimy pits and ended up just splodging through them.
I had just successfully negotiated one of these and decided that this was
the new way to tackle the beasts, when on a lump of dry-looking heather, I
disappeared down a huge hole up to my crotch. It was rather a ‘sooky’ hole
and I had a brief vision of becoming ‘Bog man Dunc’ dug up fully preserved
in a couple of hundred years time.

At last, after more arduous slogging up to Blairdennon I bleeped in at
Checkpoint 10. Three more to go! Left turn back south and we just had to
follow the fence for another soggy two miles all the way to Colsnaur Hill
(553m). At this point I didn’t feel too bad and was keeping up a steady
pace. The path down towards Menstrie was actually quite good and ends up
on a rough farm track half way down. The track unfortunately has massive
bends in it and the temptation to cut the corners is very great. I attempted
this twice and both times regretted it and ended up staggering through
very lumpy ground which triggered the first twinges of cramp.

At the bottom the sun was fully out and it was boiling hot. After saying Hi
to the marshalls, I jogged to the foot of Dumyat and started up the steep
path. What is this, why aren’t my legs working? The last hill was a mere
418m but I could see that it was going to be horrible. Although I had been
drinking gallons of carbo-drink and electrolyte, I had definitely hit the
wall and was just suddenly completely knackered! Half way up it was so hot
and I was going so slowly that I actually sat down for a minute to catch
my breath and pretended to enjoy the view!

I eventually crawled up to the summit and wobbily started the last descent
back down to Bridge of Allan. Probably my slowest descent ever off a hill as
the legs weren’t doing anything useful and were cramping up every couple of
minutes. I passed one runner who had actually stopped on the path. I asked
if he had cramp but the response was not really decipherable. Maybe I wasn’t
that bad! At last the cool wood and I managed to sort of jog to the finish.
Phew that was tough.

Compared to last year it was a miserable time 4:14:18, but I blame the
soggy ground and the heat. And looking at other peoples’ times, several
were also 10 to 20 minutes slower this year (except Walter – what’s he on?!).
Never mind, it’s all useful experience. On the plus side, the Breweries
will probably be a piece of cake!

Duncan.

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Posted in Race Reports | 7 Comments

Baddinsgill Round Sunday, 27 August 2017


A great local race with a friendly atmosphere and lots of good communication prior to the race through their webpage and Facebook event. This was a slightly altered route due to the presence of livestock, we missed out ‘King Seat’. Other than that the route was the same as previous years. There were hills interspersed with boggy sections which were at times knee deep. There was also some pathless sections over heathery ground which were tiring and challenging navigationally. For the most part the route follows the outer edge of the Baddinsgill estate and so staying close to the fence will keep you right most of the time.

Name- Category -Time -Position -Category Position- Gender Position

Des Crown MV50 1:39:25 7 1 7
Stuart Sanderson MV50 1:41:29 9 2 9
Rob Wilson MV40 1:48:15 15 2 15
Michael Greens M 1:51:34 16 10 16
Gregor Gorjanc M 2:03:22 27 14 26
Gillian Cairns FV40 2:05:46 31 1 3
Sadie Kemp FV40 2:12:03 36 4 6
Jan Dawson FV40 2:13:13 37 5 7
Andrea Wilson FV40 2:15:53 40 6 9
Gilly Marshall FV40 2:33:48 45 7 10

Full results here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1FyYv6P2X9h5AUeRyvp54BR9YqsF3FcEhnIyXYh80wLc/edit#gid=1768500890

Prizes for Des, Stuart, Rob and Gillian. Beer galore at the Gordon Arms!
Thanks to Graeame Reid for the action shots.
Relive: https://www.relive.cc/view/1154763607
Race Info: http://www.caac.org.uk/content/1013583

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Lomonds of Fife Hill Race 20-Aug-2017

A change to the previous route meant there was a section of tarmac at the beginning and end of the race and instead of contouring the hill we went along the top on a rough track. Although some didn’t enjoy the route as much as the old one it was still a fantastic race and the views as lovely as ever with the purple heather in all it’s glory.

18 Stuart Sanderson M50 1:38:32
36 Rob Wilson M40 1:47:50
46 Michael Greens M 1:52:00
55 Gillian Cairns F40 1:57:03 (first lady)
58 Kenny Cairns M 1:58:00
60 Gregor Gorjanc M 1:58:33
89 Sadie Kemp F40 2:10:57
93 Juliane Friedrich F 2:11:31
100 Chris Downie M50 2:16:11

Full results here: http://www.scottishhillracing.co.uk/RaceResults.aspx?RaceID=RA-0196&RaceYear=2017

Many thanks to ‘Fishygordon’s run pics’ for the action shots.

Congratulations to Gillian on another prize winning performance.

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Posted in Race Reports | 5 Comments

West Linton Running Festival Half 2017

In aid of : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/morvenspage
Fundraising for Cystinosis Foundation UK

Results:
Sadie Kemp 01:52:04
Mark Dawson 01:57:47
Alan Thornburrow 02:09:40
Chris Burns 02:09:57

This is a very relaxed informal race. There is also a 5k, 10k and 10 mile race, staggered so most runners finish at a similar time. There is a BBQ afterwards where you can bring your own meat and salad etc is provided. Its for a great cause so hopefully see more harriers there next year.

Next year – provisionally 18th Aug 18

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Haddington Half Marathon Saturday 12 August 2017

THE COURSE The course follows B Class country roads to the South outskirting Haddington. This is a very scenic, undulating route with a sharp hill at 0.25 miles, a long hill at 3.5 miles, a sharp hill at 8 and 9.5 miles. There are long flat sections. Although the course is described as undulating it boasts one of the fastest times in the country with a course record of 63 min 31 sec. The race starts and finishes at Neilson Park, Haddington.

THE RACE The weather was mild with a bit of sun, being so clear we had lovely views of North Berwick Law in the first part of the race. Continuing into lovely countryside. There were a few water stops and lots of marshals giving encourangement along the way.

THE RESULTS (172 entries)
43 1:34:16.5 Michael Greens
44 1:34:25.8 Allan Dunbar
46 1:34:53.8 Raymond Richford
48 1:36:05.0 Amy Kerr
62 1:39:04.0 William Dickson
82 1:44:55.3 Sadie Kemp
100 1:49:10.8 Tracy Philp
113 1:54:16.0 Ian Forrest
149 2:05:01.0 Christopher Burns

FULL RESULTS: http://haddingtonrunning.club/?p=919

RELIVE: https://www.relive.cc/view/1129806553

More photos: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipN-puazs5cw4c88L_Ql2Tre9oY2e0J7QGmwTnt08-CjXryzyWQOMcOUVQt07s2RZQ?key=VEtQR20tUHNwNnZqZ05oQTdza0hMMHZoVGxCSzRB
Thanks to Lesley Marshall for the action shots.

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Caerketton Hill race 09 08 2017

Distance 3.6 km
Climb 300 m

It was a lovely evening and there was a great turnout for the kids race this year, which was fab to see. Bill was on the hill as was Kate giving us encouragement. The midges were out in force so we scarpered pretty quickly after the race. Well done Des, coming first in your category.

13 Des Crowe Penicuik V50 21:00
20 Michael Greers Penicuik Senior 21:50
93 Sadie Kemp Penicuik FV40 30:09

Well done also to Bill’s grandchildren (I hope I got that right Bill!):

23 Struan Bennet Fife AC U20 22:09
84 Ailsa Bennet Fife AC FU20 28:19

Full results: http://carnethy.com/2017/08/caerketton-hill-race-results-2/
More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32508164@N07/sets/72157687400422385
Thanks to Steve Fallon for the great action shots.

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Devil O’ the Highlands Footrace 2017

I was surprised to get in as there’s just 300 places for this very popular ultra. Jan also got a place, so we quickly booked our accommodation at Strathfillan Wigwams as they are just 3 miles from the start. It’s a 42 mile race from Tyndrum to Fort William following the second section of the West Highland Way, the first section being covered by the Highland Fling race from Milngavie to Tyndrum (53 miles), or if you’re seriously hardcore you could do the full 95 mile West Highland Way race!

I had to drop out of the Highland Fling race during training due to injury and had this in mind over my training for the Devil. Too much running on tarmac was my downfall for the Fling, even though I was also on the Pentlands a lot. I stuck mostly to trails for the Devil training, but still doing some road as there’s a lot of hard stones on the rough trails of the Devil, so too much soft ground training would also be a mistake as I’d need to be used to the impact.

Jan and I went up to the Strathfillan Wigwams the afternoon before the race. Unfortunately any thoughts of an early nights sleep were quickly shattered by a neighbouring wigwam blasting out heavy techno music at seriously loud levels till 11pm, but still very noisy till 3am! With getting up at 3:30 to get ready for race registration at 4:30, I got about 2 hours sleep with the noise. I was still positive about the race though as I remember I had serious insomnia before the Lochness marathon back in 2010 and all was fine once I got started.

We headed down to the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum who were open super early to take us all in before the race and we got our two drop bags and race finish bags dropped in and picked up our bib numbers and time chips. We met Sadie, Gilly and Alan there and we had some coffee before heading to the start. We headed off at 6:00am on quite a damp but fine morning.

There were only two things that were needed in our kit, a foil blanket and a mobile phone, which was great as some races need you to take quite a bit. There was a kit check at mile 7 and everybody got checked.

Stations:
P1 – Bridge of Orchy – 7 miles – water
CP2 – Glencoe Ski Centre – 17 miles – water – drop bags
CP3 – Kinlochleven – 27 miles – water – Coke – drop bags
CP4 – Lundavra – 35 miles – water – Coke

With this being my first ultra I was quite worried about it being over 50% longer than any run I’d ever done before! I’d done quite a few 26 mile runs over my training, but the one week I was to do the longest run of my schedule of 31 miles I went on a three day Munro trek. This turned out to be fantastic cross training really, but I still was concerned how I’d manage another 16 miles on top of anything I’d run before over quite a tough course. I decided early on that I’d just take it easy, as finishing was important and time was not so much for my first ultra. I started off keeping to a slow 10 minute mile or so, this was quite easy going and I thought it would be easy to keep to along the route apart from obvious steep parts I’d have to fast trek.

The first section of the race was brilliant and even the masses of midges that were landing on us all were not any trouble as they quickly drowned in our sweat before biting…. Nice! We were rewarded with great views after ascending to higher ground. Fantastic lochs and hills along the way as we notched up the miles.

We got our chips scanned manually at Bridge of Orchy and headed onto the Glencoe station where Susie jumped out from behind the woman registering my number and gave me a hug! It was great to see a friendly face at mile 17, just before my first ever drop bag point. Thanks for marshalling taking everybodies time Susie! I however did what a few other runners were doing and sat down next to them to eat some salty crisps to avoid cramp and had a chat. I didn’t realise I should have really just grabbed everything and eaten as I was going, but I didn’t really have enough space in my bag to fit the extra food, so I thought eating it all there would be best. A lesson for next time not to do this as I was quite far back now.

After munching too much and heading back off I met Alan at the road crossing point, who was great for motivation! It was great entering Glencoe from the south this time (we headed from the north from the Red Squirrel campsite for the Glencoe Marathon I did last year which covers the second half of the Devil). The views were outstanding as we ran towards Buachaille Etive Mor, and then along most of the glen before heading up to the right to start our ascent of the Devil’s Staircase. We all got a lot of support from tourists trekking parts of the route along the way which was great. I was looking forward to seeing Yan at the top of the Devil’s staircase as he was playing the Bodhrán at the top, just across from the Devil with a pitch fork to spur us on! She was very encouraging and was handing out jelly babies.

The sun was still out and the views were brilliant looking down the glen from the top. I kept thinking how slow I was going compared to doing this section in the Glencoe Marathon. I’d not ran 18 miles or so before getting to this point before though. The stones descending the Devil’s Staircase were quite wet and I had to take it easy jumping from rock to rock on the way down to avoid slipping. I’d seen a few runners take bad falls on route and knew how easy it would be to get injured and not finish. I had tripped on a stone previously with my left foot and as I corrected myself I strangely pulled my right calf muscle. I did a couple of stretches and all was fine to carry on. I was taking too long to clear the slippery rocks and was getting quite worried about the cut off time at Kinlochleven. I however had well over an hour to spare when I got there and picked up my second drop bag. I again spent a bit too long there but not as bad as the first station. The marshals at the checkpoints were great and offered assistance with everything, from taking our litter from food, drink and jells, to handing out jelly babies and helping us refill our water.

I knew there was a steep forest climb after Kinlochleven but it wasn’t too bad and I had a chat with a few other runners along this section. I was looking forward to running past the Mamores mountains again and this didn’t disappoint. They again looked stunning in the sunshine and although it was now hotter, it wasn’t too bad. The scenery is so fantastic you really want to look at the views for a few seconds as you run, but this is very treacherous as the trail is scattered with stones and rocks. This section is great but quite long and it took me ages to get to the fourth and last check point. I was quite hot at that point and pored two cups of water over my head to cool down when I eventually reached the station. The marshals were again great and I had a good chat with them as well as other runners. After the flat run past the Mamores to Landavra, there’s a very long uphill section before heading down the forest track to the finish. I really started to slow even more here, but I was quite invigorated by the fact that I’d ran far further than I’d ever done before and knew I’d be able to finish even if I had to walk parts.

The views kept me going as my legs started to hurt. My knees were really complaining now at any downhill stony ground, which was all there was really! I eventually got to the forest trail section but couldn’t run very fast down the trail like I had done in the Glencoe marathon. It was great to see Ben Nevis towering up to the right of me through the trees. I thought I’ll be seeing you for the hill race next month if my knees are better! This was the finishing section of the Glencoe Marathon, so I was disappointed to see that we took a left turn up a smaller steep trail which totally wiped me out for the last mile or so. My watch was almost out of charge like myself, but still showed me I had covered more than 42 miles. I think I had zigzagged here and there and gained a mile by the end! It was great to hear the music from the finish line at last, and there was some totally brilliant soft grass before the finish line, so I managed to start running again to the finish line. I was a bit taken back how long it had taken me, I had thought I’d have been quicker but it wasn’t to be and I enjoyed it and had finished my first ultra which was the main thing.

Jan gave me a big hug as I crossed the finish and Alan handed me my goody bag. Gilly and Sadie were there too and we all had some great food in the finisher tent with a great selection of dishes as well as a free beer! We were all given a token for a free shower at the Sports Centre, so I headed there after as I knew I didn’t have too much time before getting the bus back to Tyndrum at 6:00 which was organized by the race and we paid for before the race. It was a fun journey back and we had a good chat with others runners who were also quite taken back at how long the bus took to get back to Tyndrum and so highlighted the distance we had run!

I’ll take some tips from this race for other ultras in the future and go for a better time.

This is a fantastic epic race and I’m very glad to have finally done it. Thanks to all the fellow Harriers for their support and banter along the way! Marshals Susie and Alan and runners Jan, Sadie and Gilly for such a fun weekend.

Penicuik Harrier times:
Jan Dawson: 8:36:13
Sadie Kemp: 8:36:13
Gilly Marshall: 9:04:05
Mark Dawson: 10:50:34

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Posted in Race Reports | 6 Comments

Philiphaugh Hill Race

Three Harriers made it along to Philiphaugh this year – me, Des and Stuart. This is a great race organised by Sheila Cochrane and the Selkirk Fund Runners, and in its 8th year. It sets off from close to Selkirk Rugby Club. There is a choice of a 4 mile route (suitable for kids too) and our 7 mile route. It’s mostly runnable, even on the uphill, which makes it feel tough (certainly for those of us who like a little bit of uphill walking to vary the pace ;-)). There is really no navigation required and it is quite maneagable for anyone who also enjoys a trail race but with some hill thrown in.

Great food at the finish, well organised and marshalled by some lovely folk. Great placing for Des and Stuart, 4th and 7th.
Hope to be back again next year!

4 Des Crowe 49:16
7 Stuart Sanderson 52:11
23 Gill Cairns 57:55

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North Berwick Law Race 2nd August 2017

Distance 4.8 km
Climb 180 m

Race info: http://www.activeeastlothian.co.uk/event/north-berwick-law-race-247

Just the two of us from harriers for the race this year. Thankfully there was a break in the rain that had been ever present in recent days. The ground underfoot was a little damp so the Law was a bit slippery on the downhill. The piper was there again this year which always gives me a boost as you run back through the town. The street was lined with people and lots of children were eager to give highfives. Its becoming a habit that our little family go for fish and chips after the race and the promise of this is what occupied my mind for most of the run. A most enjoyable evening!

Results:
http://events.scottishathletics.org.uk/events/20025-17379-berwick-law-race#results

17 Michael Greens 23.22
108 Sadie Kemp 30.42

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Ben Rinnes hill race

After running this fantastic race last year, I planned to make a weekend of it with the family again this year. The race is part of the Dufftown Highland games and is the ‘easiest’ of the long hill races. At 14 miles and 1500 metres of elevation, it’s still a tough one! We had to leave again early morning to get there for registration, cue grumbling children – but they settled at the memory of filling their faces with ice cream etc at the Games.

Thankfully the weather was really pretty good in Dufftown, after driving through horrible rain most of the way – perfect race conditions. I thought I was the only Harrier going, so it was lovely to see Des and his son Jamie at the start. It also meant that Scott and the boys were able to provide doggy daycare for their fab dog Haggis. This was definitely the highlight of the weekend for my boys.

It was good to know what lay ahead this time around, as last year the relatively fast start in warm weather had me panicking about the distance. So we were off to the sound of the pipe bands, once round the field and then to the hills. The route is an out and back, over Littlr Conval, Meikle Conval and to the summit of Ben Rinnes and back. There are some mucky and slippy sections but also some rocky ascent and descent on Ben Rinnes, which is not hugely technical and just great fun to run down. The climb up there is long, as you have to keep to the winding rocky ‘path’, but worth it for the descent! A highlight was being compared to a Gazelle by a runner on the way down – I have never ever been compared to a gazelle, so I’ll take that :-)!

I saw Des’s son Jamie coming down there in 3rd place (he caught a runner further on and came in 2nd overall), and Des passed me on my way up Ben Rinnes as he flew downhill. I spent a good part of the second half running pretty much alone, but didn’t get passed for a change!

I had a fairly comfortable run until coming back off Meikle Conval when some cramps started in my legs, and I felt my right quad pull. I definitely was not running like a gazelle after that, but thankfully was able to keep going and get myself through the remaining downhill sections with some mild sweary words under my breath.

This is just a brilliant race to do, and well worth the journey up. The marshals are lovely and for anyone worrying about navigation, there is little chance of going wrong anywhere on the well marked route. I really hope we can get a group of Harriers up there next year! Well done to Des on 15th place and to Jamie on 2nd place!

2 Jamie Crowe (Central AC) 2:02:34
15 Des Crowe 2:21:29 3rd MV50
51 Gill Cairns 2:51:37 1st V40

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Cairn Table Hill Race, Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Distance 7.2 km
Climb 330 m

It was a wet evening and much cooler than you would expect on a July evening. We didn’t mind too much as the rain kept the midges at bay. As soon as the race finished everyone piled back into their cars as the midges in this area are particularly aggressive and even with repellent on after a few moments we were covered in the things. This is a very enjoyable race nonetheless involving much boggy terrain and a rocky summit. Well worth the drive through, and we even got a medal!

Heres a nice film someone has made of the race https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yf6aQBUM7U

Results:
17 Michael Greens Penicuik Harriers M 00:40:00
53 Chris Downie Penicuik Harriers M 00:50:37
55 Sadie Kemp Penicuik Harriers F 00:51:14

Full results: http://www.scottishhillrunners.uk/RaceResults.aspx

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Kelso 10 K

A lovely run around the grounds of Floors Castle, Amy got first lady (in the wrong vest!) and Ian got 3rd in his category.

17 00:41:23 Michael Greens
22 00:41:58 Allan Dunbar
23 00:42:05 Amy Kerr
51 00:46:15 Gordon Campbell
63 00:47:16 Ian Forrest
83 00:48:57 Sadie Kemp

Full Results : https://www.dropbox.com/s/01z4gn09wobvjhv/Overall%20Results%202017.pdf?dl=0

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Posted in Race Reports | 3 Comments