Ben Nevis race 2019

It was a hot day and the views were spectacular. The heat did make for difficult conditions and unfortunately Chris had his first ever DNF. He was there at the finish though and we all enjoyed a cooling Prosecco together. Stuart managed a dazzling time again, and I got a PB by 1 minute which pleased me alot. Thanks to Gillian for the action shots, it was great to have her and Scott there supporting us.

78 02:07:34 Sanderson Stuart
385 03:01:02 Kemp Sadie

Full results here: http://www.bennevisrace.co.uk/pdf/Ben_Nevis_Race_2019_Finishers.pdf

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UTMB CCC race 2019

Ever since running the longer ultras I’ve been keen to use the ITRA points for a UTMB race. I’ve done a few that are 4 points each, and to enter the UTMB Mont Blanc CCC race you needed 8 points within 2 races only (Now changed to 6 points for the CCC). The various UTMB races are quite hard to get into as they are over subscribed each year, and I read it can take 2 knock backs till you get in on the 3rd attempt. With this in mind I applied and didn’t think much more of it. Months later I got an email saying I was in first time! This was brilliant, but I hadn’t looked into any of the technicalities of where the race starts, accommodation and travel etc. A couple of days passed till I could get onto this because of work deadlines. After this though, all the affordable accommodation had gone with hotels going for £200+ per night. I thought I can just camp somewhere. Unfortunately the 3 campsites there do not take booking and say you should get there early. This was a worry as I knew I’d be there late afternoon. I did however get a place late in the day which was very lucky. He could tell I’d walked with all my kit, so wanted to find somewhere for me if possible. I was quite prepared to wild camp in the woods and so had taken all my old kit for camping in case it got taken away or trashed. There was however a very noisy motorway very close to my tent, so I didn’t get much sleep.

There’s a big kit requirement needed for the race and this even covers a cold and hot weather extra kit option which they let you know about a day or two before the race. Thankfully it was the normal kit as my 12 litre pack was not going to work if a cold weather version was needed too, and was going to be very heavy.

I got an Easy Jet flight to Geneva and thought previously I could just hop on a train to Chamonix. With time limits and the change of trains needed to do this I went for booking a taxi minibus which I shared with about another 7 people from the airport. I booked this a month or so before the race. This was great as I got there about 18:00, and I still needed to get my kit checked over at the sports centre and then get my bib number and bag for taking to the start at Courmayeur in Italy. This is for putting the kit I wanted at the end of the race back in Chamonix in. Registration finishes at 20:00 so time was an issue, thankfully the flight was on time.

I was then off to find wherever this camp site was from the map I printed out online. I found it after having to switch back a bit and it was a bit of a walk from the centre, so my legs were getting tired after lugging a full 80 litre rucksack and a second big bag holding all my running kit with the extra set needed for kit requirements. By the time I got the tent up and sorted everything out, it was too late to walk back into Chamonix to get dinner, so made do with a few snacks.

I set the alarm very early and headed down to the pick up point in Chamonix for the bus at 6:15 to Courmayeur on the Italian side. The trip went very quickly and we went to the sports centre there for a while, before walking up to the bag drop off, and then the starting area. There was a very lively fun atmosphere with lots of music and dancing going on in front of the start line. It looked great and the weather was perfect, if not a bit hot. We all got livened up by the DJ and then we set off in sets of our bib numbers. The start is at 1,200 metres.

After running just a few hundred yards my legs felt tired from lugging about all my luggage till the evening the night before. Later it felt like I was running on empty with no dinner the previous night, and just a few cereal bars for breakfast. Normally I have porridge before a long run. We were out of Courmayeur in no time with it being very small. We then hit a bottle neck as we came to our first very steep mountain. I thought there may have been an accident as we were not moving at all for ages. This was a concern for cut off times and hoped it was factored into timing when I realised it was just a normal hold up. As we got half way up and still moving at a snails pace because of it still being held up, it was great to look back at the views. We were so lucky to get such brilliant weather. The mountains looked breath taking! I knew last years race had very bad weather. We eventually really slowly got to the top of this zig zag trail up Tele de la Tronche, which is over 2,500 metres, and then at last we started to space out.

The views were spectacular and I asked another runner who had stopped to look at the view if he could take a picture. I had had my camera out quite a bit and as quickly as possible was trying to take some pictures as I went. I realised I was flagging back quite a bit and when I got to the first check point and had refilled my bladder pack and had some food there, I was really far behind. The marshals were really friendly and a woman asked if I would like some soup and suggested I sit down. It was really great and perked me up a bit. I then set off with a heavy full 2 litre water pack but knew I’d need it in the heat.

 

The views really started to just get better and better as I looked onto the massive cliffs and buttresses of Mont Blanc with huge glaciers skirting their tops. I thought I must be really far back but started to catch up a bit. We then got into the 2nd food station which was quite large and lively. I saw some cut orange slices and went right for them. They were totally delicious! I then had lots of salami for protein and some bread and cheese. I had a few sweet chocolate nibbles too, but I wasn’t in need of them so much at that point. I was sure the race details said there’d be jells at the food stations, but there wasn’t. I had only taken 4 with this in mind. I asked one of the marshal guys about this and he said in a great French accent “No jells….. Jells are crap! We have this.” I agreed their food looked great and tucked in. The marshals were super helpful and friendly.

We then got a call that the food station would be closing in half an hour, so I dashed out realising I needed to make up some time. After some proper food now, I started to feel much better and was back in the race again, but still had quite a bit of catching up to do. Everybody we passed would cheer “Allez, allez, vite, vite!!!” or “Bravo, bravo!!!” as we passed which livened up the run.

There was now another massive steep mountain to get up called Grand Col Ferret which is 2,537 metres. I really didn’t mind the steep mountain climbs as I was enjoying the race in such an epic place. The top was magnificent, so I had to get a picture! We were now leaving Italy and entering Switzerland. My water was running out so I knew I’d need to fill up at the next station. When I got there though, the water supply was hopeless. There was a garden hose gun that was not working properly and there was a bit of a back log of runners waiting. The marshals were all drinking red wine and not very helpful about this problem. I eventually got my pack full again and headed off. There was a herd of cows in the fields below and they all had huge bells which were clattering and making quite some noise. Poor things have to hear that their hole lives. It was however very Swiss.

I knew I had stopped to take too many pictures but I thought I could make it up over the night running where I would obviously not be tempted. I dashed down the mountain to the next food station at La Fouly which was the most beautiful valley with a huge glacier between two mountains and massive waterfalls gushing from each side of it. Not only that, it was dusk now, so there was a pink sky behind where the sun had just gone down! I managed to resist getting my camera out. The food station was quite big and again very lively. There were a lot of runners lying around sleeping and others in no rush to leave at all. I had quite a bit to eat here as it was around 20:00. I got my head torch on and headed off. I was quite pleased with my Alpkit head torch which totally did the job. However the majority of runners had torches that light up the entire area. This resulted in me running in my own shadow when they were behind me! I’m not into night running much but was fine getting through the course now. We had dropped down quite a bit to around 1,000 metres. Now there was another uphill to get to the next food station which was quite small but very friendly as usual. I got more water and some flat coke and headed out after putting a few of the small squares of energy bar that they had at the food stations, into a bag for eating on the go. This had a peppery after taste and was really good to take away from being too sweet tasting. The dark chocolate went down well too on the trail. In the dark I heard more clanging of bells and run very close past herds of cows here and there on the way.

We now had some big climbs to do. The run up to La Glele which is over 2,000 metres took some time and I started to get quite worried about the cut offs. There was however lots of people either crouched down looking like they had given up, or actually flat out sleeping all around the mountain from here on in. I started to overtake quite a lot of runners now and got to the top eventually. There was just a couple of marshals here to scan the bib numbers, as there were on the peeks of all the mountains. I knew I had to pick up the pace if I was to make the next check point in time. The trail was very steep, rocky and covered in tree roots as many were. I did however manage to get a bit quicker down than expected. My head torch was going dim, so had to waste a few minutes getting the new batteries out of my back pack. Everything was stuffed in so tightly that it was quite hard to get things without dragging lots out. My knees were a bit sore from going faster down hill to about 1,300m or so, so I took 2 paracetamol.

The next mountain, Les Tseppes is about 2,100m and took forever to get up. I’d be running along fine and at various stages realised I couldn’t see anything down to the side of the thin trail we were on, so a huge drop down. At one point there are chains to hold onto to stop you going over the edge. There were a lot of runners again sleeping on this mountain, I was quite worried for them as they would get cold once they had stopped. Then I came across a metal railing bridge clamped to the edge of the cliff to run over. It felt quite secure but knew it was very exposed. It was possibly good it was so dark that I couldn’t see those drops. About half way down this mountain we entered France. I was now sure I would be timed out when I eventually got to the top and started heading down to the check point. There was a very chilled out marshal woman at the desk. I asked her how much time was left at this check point and I was very pleased to hear her say in again a great French accent “You are okay, you have half an hour”. I got a full top up of water again, adding the High 5 Zero tablets and also had a rehydration salt as I was very hot, even though I had been running at night. At every station and anywhere there was water I‘d dip my head in it or pore water over my head just to cool down, it felt brilliant and cooled me down nicely.

When I was running down to this check point I was pleased to see dawn was breaking and it had quickly become a beautiful morning again when I left to head up the last big mountain called Tele aux Vents. The views were spectacular again. I passed another guy that was asleep during the day here as we headed up another very steep trail and clambered up over rocks. I didn’t find this hard going though, which I thought was very strange after my legs being so tired at the beginning of the race. My legs felt totally fine and was pleased I had done so many Pentland hill repeats over the past two months, and also long runs on holiday in Exmoor National Park. I had told myself there was no time left for any pictures, but the views up here were stunning. I quickly took about 5 pictures along this stretch and then rushed down to the next check point which looked like it would normally be a ski centre. It took ages to get there but at least I had enough water already, and I could just grab a few sweets and rush through. I thought we’d be okay now but I had been running down this last mountain for a couple of kms when a guy said “Just 7 kms to go”. This made me go faster as I knew it took 2 hours to get down a tricky mountain last night which was roughly the same trail conditions as this, and I only had an hour and a half to be through the finish line in Chamonix.

I started passing a lot of runners who had started to take it easy on this stretch after so many trekkers were saying “Well done, almost there!” I kept on looking down the mountain through the trees to Chamonix, and it still looked Ike we were a mile in the sky! With this I rushed down as fast as possible and said “Merci” to the huge amount of well wishers who were congratulating us. I don’t think they realised though that it really was quite a way still to the finish line. This last 7kms went on for ages. I looked up to say “Merci” to a well wisher and almost went flying as I tripped on a tree root. I then felt quite unfriendly not looking up when others cheered “Allez, allez, vite, vite” or “Bravo, bravo!”, but I still said “Merci”, but looking at the trail.

At last I was at the bottom of the mountain and we had to go over the main road on a temporary metal bridge which was great. Now on the home stretch through the woods to the town centre, and finally down the High Street. I knew now I’d be okay as there was about half an hour to go. The crowds were incredible and so friendly and enthusiastic as they cheered us in clapping. I had made it through in time at 11:40, when 12:00 was the cut off time of day! Although with being in the last batch of runners through the start I’m not sure if I’d have an extra 20 minutes to make up that time standing waiting to start. Anyway, 12:00 was the official end time and the time to finish within to be sure.

There were photographers at the finish line, as there were throughout the daytime running part of the course. I strangely felt totally awake after 26 hours and 5 minutes of running. I went through to pick up my finishers Gilet which had CCC next to Finisher. The full UTMB and TDS course ones had their race printed on too. The lesser mileage races got a medal.

I got a technical T-shirt when I picked up my bib number, but I also wanted a cotton one, so I headed over to a stall to buy one as they looked great, and were the ones all the marshals were wearing. The two woman there were very helpful and showed me where to get a free finishers beer, and also where the finishers free dinner was. The beer was very small but great anyway. Jan called me when I was there and told me she had been tracking me throughout the race along with a few Harrier friends and my brother. I didn’t know this was active without paying for it, as it sounded that way in the email sent the previous week. It had been just as worrying for them seeing me so close to the cut offs at a couple of stages than it was for me! It was great to talk a bit about how things had gone and I was in very good spirits and not at all tired as I cheered other runners in.

I then found the restaurant where the free meal was and had a fantastic proper restaurant self service eat what you like large lunch. It was fantastic! The man across the table from me was French and had ran all the UTMB courses. He now helped with the organisation. I knew the trackers told race HQ where we were, but they also keep an eye on your speed. If you dramatically slow down it shows them you may be in trouble.

I then got a shower at the sports centre and changed into the clothes I had put in my drop bag that I had left in Italy for taking to the finish. I felt a lot better and headed back to the camp site where I slept from mid afternoon, all through the night till about 8:00am on Sunday. I then packed up and went down to Chamonix to cheer on the UTMB runners for around 2 hours before getting the return trip back to Geneva in the taxi minibus I had hired.

Even when I was slowing down and dropping back at the start I was still so pleased to have such weather to be running in such a beautiful place. Mont Blanc is stunning from so many angles. It makes our Munros look so small. It was great that the food stations were so good and I got some energy to keep on going, and finally got back into the race.

It was a great adventure and so well organised.

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Baddinsgill round 2019

It was a very hot and sticky day for the race. Despite this the route was boggy as ever. I went in knee deep at one point! It was lovely to see Chris Downey on the last hill. 🙂

15 Duncan Ball Male MV50 2:02:03 15 3rd in Category
29 Sadie Kemp Female FV40 2:24:11 29 3rd in Category

Full results: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1FyYv6P2X9h5AUeRyvp54BR9YqsF3FcEhnIyXYh80wLc/edit?fbclid=IwAR3DeM_IKfe4iSbgj58wR6nYi42azyvxbKRwhpTuUt5sZstDi85lRt_1vdk#gid=1781795565

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Lomonds of fife 2019

Distance 16 km
Climb 750 m

Despite how nice the weather looks in the pictures we had some pretty testing conditions. It was raining when we arrived at Strathmiglo and Juliane and I sheltered in the car for as long as possible (making use of the time to enter the Pentland Skyline race). It was jackets on/off/on as we approached the start and met up with Des and Kate. Once we set off up the hill it quickly warmed up. As we headed off the forestry track and up through the trees I could hear shouts as a few folk had missed the turn. They quickly came hurtling past. It was an enjoyable run up to East Lomond and Des went by me at this point (he was ‘not racing’! But still managed a great time and position). On route to West Lomond the weather broke properly and we were treated to a heavy rain shower that felt like needles on bare skin. It was heads down and run through it. There was also a head wind on this section so it felt tough. The descent from West Lomond was altered to avoid the accidents of the previous year. This seemed sensible and actually a bit of a relief although it did mean doubling back for the Bunnet stone. After that it was a free for all in terms to return route and it was interesting to see the different strategies runners took, some descending quickly and others like me trying to contour round to save a bit of distance. After a final run through the trees, the last bit of tarmac was hard going and I have to say I preferred it when the start and finish was in the woods. At least the walk to the village hall is shorter and there was plently of grub and hot tea to revive weary bodies and souls. Thanks to the lovely marshals and organisers for a fab event and the photographer who got some great shots of us out on the hills. Thanks also to Kate for dropping off my bottle of wine for 2nd FV40. 🙂

12 Des Crowe M50 1:49:38
56 Sadie Kemp F40 2:08:30
62 Juliane Friedrich F 2:14:57
77 Kate Crowe F50 2:27:00

Full results: http://www.scottishhillracing.co.uk/RaceResults.aspx?RaceID=RA-0196&RaceYear=2019

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Lakeland 50

I wrote a very long, detailed and ultimately boring race report on the L50. I deleted it. Here is Version 2.

I hurt my ankle. I didn’t think I would make the start line. I ran anyway, it hurt, it rained – A LOT! There were a lot of hills, the checkpoints were fab, the volunteers amazing! Carol Martin kept me on the right path in the dark and stopped me getting lost in the bog. The last bit was really tough and I thought I might not make it, but I did. I finished. The medal was huge! Don’t run on a busted ankle, it’s not big and it’s not clever.

But who said we should do as we’re told! Not me!!

 

Results:

No:  1005
Name:  Gilly Marshall
Course:  Lakeland 50
Category: FV40
Result: 16:03:06

 

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Caerketton hill race 2019

Quote from Carnethy page: ‘One of the UKs best Mountain runners, Andrew Douglas, set a new record of 17:36 easily winning the Caerketton Hill Race. Another record was also set as 114 finished the race – the largest field ever (the previous being 109 on the old course).’

Des had a lovely chat with Andrew before the race, it was impressive how far ahead of the field he was throughout. Us harriers had a good run with Daniel managing a great time considering he was wearing a pair of road shoes (sigh!).

14 Des Crowe V50 21.09
95 Sadie Kemp FV40 29.48
111 Daniel Greens Senior 36.07

Full results: http://carnethy.com/2019/08/caerketton-race-results/
Video of race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFmhMtCHfPU&feature=youtu.be

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Cademuir Rollercoaster Peebles

There were five hardy souls for this race, another one threatened with thunder and lightening but we weren’t too worried with the clear blue sky and sunshine that was above us.
This race is fairly small in field, short in distance but big in enjoyment.  The route is lovely and as the name suggests it is pretty up and down the whole way, there is one big climb which was tough with the sun beating down on us.
Lovely to have Michael there taking photographs which capture the Harriers all so well 🙂
Photos

36th Sadie 40:51
37th Sarah B 41:18
39th Tracy 42.11
41st Susie 44.17
42nd Tommy 45:01

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North Berwick law race

Leaving Penicuik in torrential rain had us questioning our sanity in persuing this race. However when we got to North Berwick the black clouds stayed in the distance and we enjoyed a slippery but dry race. Sarah got third lady and we enjoyed icecream afterwards. Great to have Dave there timekeeping. 🙂

10 Adam Gray Sen 22.55
24 Sarah McKechnie Lady 24.13
87 Julie Hand Lady 28.29
89 Juliane Freidrich Lady 28.34
120 Sadie Kemp Lady V 30.36
146 Tommy Montgomery Sen 32.22
158 Sarah Morton Lady V 32.55
160 Susie Maxwell Lady V 33.01

Race report https://www.activeeastlothian.co.uk/news/4j-studios-north-berwick-law-race-2239
Full results: https://www.activeeastlothian.co.uk/media/north_berwick_law_race_2019(2)_copy1.xls

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Devil o’ the Highlands Footrace – 3rd August 2019

 

A 42 mile trail ultramarathon along the upper section of the West Highland Way from Tyndrum to Fort William, the Devil seems to have a very good rep amongst the ultra community and is possibly one of the best races in Scotland in terms of scenery (weather depending…)

 

This year there were two Harriers running, Jan (aiming to complete the mythical Triple Crown of West Highland Way ultras!) and myself, as well as Juliane who was once again doing brilliant work supporting (and also running up Ben Nevis https://bennevis.co.uk early in the morning!).  Gilly and Yan were there too volunteering as part of the race day team, putting in a longer shift than any of the runners so a big thank you to them and all the other people who helped organise a very well run event.

 

I arrived the evening before the race for registration at the Tyndrum Inn, which was delayed a bit due to a road closure, so there was nothing for it but to have a (non-alcoholic) beer while waiting.  Jan and Juliane stopped off on their way to Fort William and had some very tasty looking cake.  I was staying in Tyndrum at Pine Trees campsite, where I had booked a “Hiker Hut”.  This seemed like a good option as it would be a little bit more comfortable than camping while still being pretty cheap, but as it had been another hot day the inside of the hut, lacking ventilation, had become like a sauna!  I tried to let some cool(er) air in before going to bed and did manage to get a reasonable amount of sleep in the end.

 

 

Getting up at 4am, the weather seemed a good bit fresher and there was plenty of cloud around which was quite welcome.  After forcing down as much breakfast as I could manage and sorting out drop bags, it was time to head for the start before I knew it.  A cheery crowd of just over 400 runners had gathered at the Green Welly Stop, and as 6am approached we were walked over to the starting arch.  The race begins with a steady uphill for a mile and a half (because of course it does…) before settling in to an enjoyable gentle descent towards the first checkpoint at Bridge of Orchy after 7 miles.  I was aiming to stick to a comfortable pace, conserving as much energy as possible and just focusing on how I was feeling rather than how fast I was going.  This was working well early on and I found myself amongst the chasing pack of four runners who were well behind the leader but a good bit ahead of everyone else.

 

The climb out of Bridge of Orchy over Mam Carraigh (Jelly Baby Hill) took its toll and I was able to pass a couple of runners who had slowed up, before racing down the long steep descent (hill training sessions really starting to pay off!) and suddenly finding myself in second place.  From here, it was a long plod across Rannoch Moor to the next checkpoint at Glencoe, but the clouds cleared occasionally revealing some spectacular views of hills and lochs.  Heading into the Mountain Resort car park, it was clear that the midges were out in force as everyone was fully covered and sporting nets over their faces, so any thoughts of stopping for a breather at this checkpoint quickly went out the window!

 

 

I dropped back into third at this point, but still felt good and upbeat and I was able to keep pace with the runner ahead of me, so I followed him all the way to the top of the Devil’s Staircase.  This part of the route is a bit notorious, mainly because of its evocative name I think, and it certainly is a heck of a climb but I didn’t actually think it was all that bad in the end (there were far tougher things to come…).  The clouds were starting to clear and the sun was raising the temperature, but there was quite a cool breeze on the way up, and slowing down to walking pace for a while was quite beneficial.  We were greeted at the summit by the Devil herself, offering jelly babies, and the best view of the day, looking down on an enormous drop all the way to Kinlochleven and the next checkpoint.  Once again, I was able to race away on the downhill, reclaiming second and opening up a five minute gap.

 

 

And then it started to get a lot harder…  The next section was the biggest climb of the race, over 1000ft of ascent up across the Lairig Mor to Lundavra, and the sun was now out in full force with hardly any breeze in the more sheltered parts of the valley.  The “feels-like” temperature eventually passed 30°C and staying hydrated became my biggest priority as I started getting sluggish and my positive attitude had to switch to a determined one.  I took a tumble at one point and got a few scratches and bruises from the rocky path but kept running slowly up to the final checkpoint at mile 35.

 

Only 7 miles to go, hardly anything compared to what had already been done.  And yet this was where I came very close to a full meltdown and thought my race might be over.  The heat was relentless and the path became very undulating, making it impossible to get any kind of rhythm going.  I was now walking most of the time, had dropped back into third place and was convinced I would soon be passed again by several more runners.  It felt like there was no way I’d be able to start running again properly, and the thought of having to walk all the way to the finish filled me with dread.  Having done a few ultras now, I’ve found that it’s pretty common for rough patches to happen after mile 30, but if you can push through them things seem to get a lot easier again from about mile 40 onwards (“thirties are the worsties”).  I tried to cling on to this hope, and after having a piece of watermelon at the secret fruit bar (shh… it’s secret) and starting on a nice long downhill I got my mojo back and was running again.  One final hill before the end wasn’t particularly welcome, but it was close enough now so I ground it out and crossed the finishing line where there was a party atmosphere and loads of support!

 

 

I had managed to hold on to third place (the heat was having the same negative effect on everybody else) and when Jan came home we found out that, in addition to wrapping up her Triple Crown, she was second FV40 and third FV overall!  So it was a very successful day for Penicuik, punching above our weight yet again and showing everybody that we fear no hills!

 

 

 

Results:

3rd Adam Gray 06:18:45

63rd Jan Dawson 08:23:18 (2nd FV40; 3rd FV O/A)

Full results: http://www.kitst.co.uk/devil-of-the-highlands-2019.html

 

 

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Girvan Half Marathon – 14 July 2019

I hadn’t really been doing any longer training runs, I can’t remember the last time I did a run over 8 or 9 miles, doing most of my longer sessions on two wheels rather than two feet. But with a middle distance triathlon (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 20.1km run) coming up next month I thought I should get a few longer runs in and put down a bit of a marker to see where I am in terms of run fitness. I spotted this one on the race calendar and realised we could combine it with a visit to Mel’s mum near Newton Stewart, 25 miles or so away.

It was looking like being a hot and sunny day so in the morning I applied sunscreen and we drove up in nice sunshine to the start at Girvan FC’s Hamilton Park football ground. After registration and a bit of a warm-up it was time to assemble for the noon start.

The course starts with half a lap of the football pitch and then out onto the roads towards the Ayrshire village of Dailly which is a gentle incline for the first four miles or so before evening out, then a left turn and a rapid drop down to the village itself as we cross a river at six miles. The route then climbs up on the other side and following another left turn keeps going up for a few miles. One more left turn and another nice long descent down to re-cross the river before a slog back up the hill to re-join the original road and free-wheel the last three miles back to Girvan.

I started quite quickly but then decided I should rein it in a bit to try and keep it steady and be able to finish strong. I thought I would most likely be around 1:35 to 1:40 as I wasn’t at peak fitness for this distance. I kept things pretty restrained for the first 10 miles then once the climb following the second river crossing was done I could let myself go a bit and picked up a few places towards the end.

I came in 44th position out of 135 finishers at 1:37:30, exactly in the middle of my target range. It shows I’m not too bad but could definitely be better prepared for the Aberfeldy Triathlon so I need to get out for a few more longer runs.

It was a good, well organised race with some nice refreshments on offer at the end which were most welcome. Thanks to Girvan Athletic Club for organising.

Place

Forename

Surname

Cat

Club

Time

44

Allan

Dunbar

M40

Penicuik Harriers

1:37:30

Results link: http://events.scottishathletics.org.uk/events/21314-18090-girvan-half-marathon#results

Route map:

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St Cuthbert’s Way 45mile Ultra

This was a race of two halves – the hot, hilly and unbearable half then the stormy, made a pal but in pain half.

I entered this Ultra as I hadn’t done one in a while and figured if I do a bunch of other races in the area then I’ll get to know the route. I loved the 3 Cheviot trail races and the trail marathon; I could run from Wooler to Kirk Yetholm with my eyes shut now 🙂

As the day of the ultra approached so did the amazing sunny weather. I tried not to worry and prepared for it as best I could.  For reasons I still don’t understand we didn’t start running until 10.30am so right into the heat of the day. I had convinced myself that I would be fine because all my races had been in the heat – this one was just a bit longer.

The heat really hit during the first 3 miles of climb out of Wooler, I stayed just off the back of 3 ladies who I’d been chatting to before we started but I couldn’t chat so I shamelessly used them to pace myself.  However by mile 5 I had to pass them and one of them came with me and was chatting but I needed all my breath so at the water station I left her, she was waiting on her pals anyway. The climbing got longer and steeper with lots of fields with cows, calves and bulls. Some of us just stopped on this really steep bit, none of us spoke, we were just trying to breathe but we were all thinking ‘this is complete and utter hell’ 🙁   We kept going with a few jokes about why had St Cuthbert had to walk so far anyway. We got up that hill, down the other side and then started on the next one. I’d stuck with a guy called Neil for a bit, he was running his first Ultra, he was suffering so I pretended that I wasn’t and encouraged him to drink and eat and just take it gently down the next hill.

He fell behind so I shouted was he okay and he told me to go on. I got to the bottom of the next hill and there was Iain and his wife Herbie, I know Iain from Jed Ultra and have stayed in touch, he said he would come and see me but little did I know that he and his wife would become my guardian angels for the rest of the race. After pouring a bottle of water over my head he chummed me up the next hill and I continued on my way with his total encouragement.

I carried on pretty much by myself for the next 7 miles, drinking and eating and determined to get to Morebattle checkpoint at19.5miles ‘if you get in to Morebattle checkpoint and leave again then you’ll finish’ said the organiser and Iain. So I had to flippin’ do that.  At Morebattle Iain & Herbie had ice-lollies, can you believe that?!! I still can’t!

After they had filled my water, put a cold buff round my neck and given me all the encouragement I set off again, just 25 miles to go 😀  I met Sarah who’d also had a lolly just down the road and we chatted about how lucky I am/we are to have I&H there supporting us. So Sarah and I ran on together and seemed to be coping the same and running at the same pace, I had a heat rash on my arm and a reaction to grass pollen on my legs so I was in a bit of a state but I felt strong. We caught up with 2 guys from Whitley Bay who were struggling, they tried to stick with us and we had a bit of a laugh at one of the paths we were running along where we all got to the end with eyes and mouths full of flies – gross but laughable.

Sarah was great at focussing on the distance to the next checkpoint because I was starting to suffer with blisters. The sun had gone behind the clouds but the heat was still there and I was having to hold my breath because of the pain in my feet. At the Bonjedward checkpoint we couldn’t believe that I&H were there to get us drinks, melon and apply Compeed and tape to my feet, I am so ashamed at the state I was in but Iain just got on with it, taking it in his stride 🙂

We ran with the Whitly Bay guys for a bit, they seemed to be using our strength and determination when, if not running we were walking fast. But they couldn’t stay with us and we couldn’t slow down. We now had to get to Maxton and then we only had 10miles to go, it was starting to get dark but we were determined to not get our headtorches out; we were so mad at all the heavy kit we had to carry that we were damned if we were using it.

This section was really overgrown and seemed to go on for ever, you could hadrly see the trail or the waymarks at times. Our determination and chat kept us going and we made it to Maxton 😀 Despite having run 35 miles we actually managed to get our own cups of coke and fruit here I&H just stood smiling st us – we were possibly slightly manic and over-excited so a bit scary.  They gave us the best encouragement to continue and were so pleased that we had each other, they knew we’d do it, we knew we’d do it as there was no other option!  We were so grateful to them and would have hugged them but we were not really huggable, bit smelly and sweaty 🙁

We went into the woods, bit dark, Sarah used her phone torch as we were still refusing to get headtorches out 😀 We then got onto the beautiful river section that had so many steps, up and down – don’t know how our legs did it.  Then the thunderstorm started, it was absolutely pouring we were undercover but not for long. We embraced the rain and soldiered on until we hit the dark, dark woods :-O Headtorches out!!! If I had been on my own I doubt I would have got through here but together we were brave and had totally and utterly had enough and wanted it to be over. I knew this section but going the other way and I was trying to explain what was ahead – a long climb!! We got up it and onto the new path off the Eildons, it was lovely until we reached the unfinished section and it clogged up our shoes and we were carrying an extra kilo on each shoe 😀

We could then see the lights of Melrose and we were so happy, we blasted down and into the rugby club for a very underwhelming finishline but the best hug from Sarah!

As Jan said in her WHW epic report, friends and support are what is important when you set yourself a challenge. My challenge was less than half of hers but I am so grateful to Iain, Herbie and Sarah for getting me through my 7th Ultra marathon.

My body has suffered badly because of the heat, the details of which would put you off your tea but my muscles are fine – I was prepared for this race, I just couldn’t cope with the heat.

Will I do another Ultra? Not in the Summer that is for sure 😀

 

 

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Seven hills of Edinburgh 2019

I love this race, with it’s chaotic vibe. I seem to manage to find a different route every year! We had great weather and it was fantastic to have Dave and Michael out taking pics and giving encouragement.

Results:

Challenge:
26 Craig Davenport 2:28:35
95 Sadie Kemp 2:43:35
118 Anna Close 2:48:11
138 Susan Maxwell 2:52:27

Race:
131 Raymond Richford 2:25:25
167 Charlie Crawford 2:36:16

Allotment pics:

Michael Philp’s pics:

Our doubler:

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West Highland Way Race 2019

95 miles, through four counties, with 14,000 feet of climb and a 35-hour cut off. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s only just settling in my mind three days later. So much preparation, training, and planning went into this race that now it’s all over it’s taken me a while to process my emotions. It hit me late last night, sitting in my 4th salt bath in two days… I just ran 96 miles!! Yes, 96 on my watch due to the new finish line at the Nevis Centre, which is at least half a mile further than the old finish line at Lochaber Leisure Centre. And I ran as much of it as I possibly could, even when it felt like my legs might fall off. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the most epic and humbling too.

So what possesses a 43-year old mum of three to want to run such a distance? Well, ultras are addictive. I entered my first as I turned 40 years old, as a rebellion against ageing. It seemed insurmountable at 31 miles. I did it and loved it. Then came Glen Ogle 33, just a bit further, and I loved that even more. How much further can I push it? Oh look, a 100k (St Cuthbert’s Way)! Which led me to the Devil O’ the Highlands, the Highland Fling, and on to the West Highland Way for the first time. Inspired by Chris and Gilly, who have also taken on the full distance, my path was set. This time, however, it really did feel insurmountable. The outcome was not certain, but I was willing to give it my best shot.

Training had gone really well and I’d put together a fantastic crew – Mark and Mairi on driving duties, Juliane and Sadie on running support. Juliane also came to Milngavie with us to register and helped Mark with food, drink, kit, etc. until her running leg at Auchtertyre. She then hopped into Mairi’s car at Glencoe to help her out until the finish. What an absolute star! They pampered me all day long and I didn’t have to do anything or worry about anything for the duration of the race. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We assembled at the start in Milngavie train station and met up with fellow runners and crew. Graham and his crew looked fresh and excited, and Yan’s crew had painted their van in bright colours with “Team Yan Bro!” written on the side. He certainly wouldn’t miss them at checkpoints! We were all nervous though and you could feel the tension in the crowd as we gathered for the 1am start. Before we knew it, after a thorough briefing from Ian Beattie, race director, and Sean the race medic we were off up the steps onto Milngavie High Street, trying to stay as quiet as possible for the slumbering residents.

The first section to Drymen is pretty straightforward, and a bit boring to be honest. It was dark though and felt different lit up by all the head torches. I caught up with Graham and ran with him for a while, the chat helping the first miles fly by. I was very conscious not to run too fast and Graham and I were holding a similar pace. Yan passed us and had a quick chat but he soon disappeared into the distance. Then Graham dropped back and we began to run our own races. I wouldn’t see either of them again until the ceremony the next day.

The sun was rising as I headed up Conic Hill, so I switched off my head torch and took the opportunity to walk up the hill and admire the views of Loch Lomond. I called Mark as I reached the top to say I would be at Balmaha soon, and Chiara (fellow Project Awesome and ultra runner friend) sped past me and flew down the other side. It was tempting to try and catch her but I knew I’d need my quads in good shape for the descent into Kinlochleven in another 60 miles, so held back and trotted slowly down into Balmaha, arriving just behind my inside target in 3:36:58 (I’d estimated a window for each CP, with inside and outside times). Porridge, a banana, coffee and ready-filled bottles of water and Active Root greeted me as well as a change of top and buff. It felt so good to put on fresh clothes and I bounded out of the checkpoint feeling brand new.

I wouldn’t see my crew again for 30 miles, but had three drop-bags to collect along the way at Rowardennan, Inversnaid and Beinglas. I was eating really well at this point and was managing savoury snacks and Kendal mint cake. The loch was still, like a mirror, and the sun was getting warm. The trees along the loch provided adequate shelter so I never felt too hot. The midgies weren’t too bad at all, although I did have to fish a few out of my eyeballs and swallowed one or two more! The route drops onto the ‘low road’ just after Rowardennan, which, unlike the ‘high road’ taken by the Fling is gnarly, twisty, rocky, and frustratingly difficult to run on – almost as bad as the notorious ‘lochside’ section that heads out of Inversnaid. I did not enjoy the low road and hit my first low ebb here, but I usually have one about 21 miles in so wasn’t too concerned. I caught up with Chiara just as the path re-joined the high road, and she looked good and was in high spirits. It must have rubbed off on me as I started to feel really good as I approached Inversnaid. I took the opportunity to use nice, clean hotel toilets here, and prepared myself for the torturous route towards Beinglas. I was still feeling great though, so I put my iPod on and my head down and got on with it. Out of the three times I’ve now tackled this section this was by far my favourite. The high I was feeling lasted right out of the lochside and up past Dario’s Post. I blew him a kiss and patted his ‘head’ (the metal cone on top of the post is designed for this) as I went past. I never met Dario Melaragni, but know so many people that did that it felt right to pay my respects. A former WHW race director who died of a heart attack at too young an age ten years previously, Dario was instrumental in making the race as popular as it is now. The view from his post looks back down Loch Lomond and is the perfect spot to pause and reflect on the distance already travelled. But there was still plenty of distance left to travel so I didn’t stop!

On to Beinglas, which was Johnny Fling’s CP. In previous years crews would have met runners here, but space is really tight and the race wasn’t granted permission by the landowner this year. I’ve heard so many stories of blown tires and break downs on the road into Beinglas that I was quite glad Mark & Juliane didn’t have to come. Best they had a chance to sleep on route to Auchtertyre, and before the road up the west of Loch Lomond filled up with tourist buses.

I’m not too keen on the route out of Beinglas, but my iPod had enough charge to get me to Bogle Glen. As I approached the ‘Alley formerly known as Cow Poo’, Mötorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ came on, which powered me towards Bogle Glen and to Chris Burns, who cheered me on and took a selfie. So lovely to see a friendly face! The rollercoaster through Ewich was really pleasant and far less painful than it had been at the Fling two months ago. The half way point and my crew were in sight!

The field usually used by crews at Auchtertyre had flooded in the days prior to the race so marshals were letting crews in for short periods at Strathfillan Farm when their runner was due in, waiting in Tyndrum until they got the call. I called Mark from the rollercoaster and as I arrived Juliane met me with more fresh clothes and took my race vest. I was weighed here and had only dropped about 1.5 kilos, so no cause for concern. I had some chicken noodle soup and was craving an apple so took that and ate it on the run. Juliane joined me from here, and it was lovely to have some company and a chat at last.

It was torture to run past the Fling finish line, no piper or cowbells, and still 42 miles to go! Juliane told me not to think about it though, and to enjoy the present moment. Very good advice! Up out of Tyndrum we climbed and onto Bridge of Orchy, where I’d heard the real race begins. My stomach bloated really badly on the trail out of Tyndrum, really quite uncomfortable and distracting. Must have been the chicken soup, or eating apples on the hoof? Anyway, another stop in the lovely clean toilets of Bridge of Orchy Hotel and I was right as rain again. Oh my, did I crave a pint of cold lager here. But no, save that for the finish line, if I made it in time for last orders. I made do with a good slug of cola instead.

The run up towards Jelly Baby hill, where race devotee Murdo McEwan waits with colourful trousers, flags and a tray of jelly babies (I took a red one) and towards Glencoe was amazing. I wouldn’t say it was another high, but I found a rhythm. Juliane was superb company and ran just ahead, pointing towards the softer bits of the path as she found them. From here to the end of the Fire Road into Fort William is relentlessly rocky trail, and it was already starting to take its toll on the soles of my feet. I had the right shoes though, Brooks Cascadia 13s, which left me with only a tiny blister on one toe and no pains in my feet the next day. My legs were another story (more on that later). I ran solidly along Rannoch Moor until the last uphill, which then drops down for two miles into Glencoe. I passed my previous furthest distance of 65 miles here, caught on camera by Juliane.

I’d had such a good run on this section that I arrived in Glencoe having made up a bit of lost time and clocked in at 16:09:19. That meant I was going to get to enjoy the Devil’s Staircase and hopefully the Lairig Mor in daylight. I ate some tomato pasta and drank fizzy water while the crew swapped over. Mairi took on the driving and Sadie got ready to run the rest of the way with me. Food was beginning to be a challenge though, and I couldn’t face the rice pudding I’d said I wanted so filled my pockets with more Kendal mint cake instead. I did promise to try and eat more pasta at Kinlochleven too. I said goodbye to Mark who was going to head to Fort William for a well-earned rest and to check in to our rooms at the Garrison hotel. Mairi and Juliane, who’d never met before this point, got acquainted and became firm friends by the end of the race!

Sadie and I headed off for the Devil’s Staircase and the relentless drop into Kinlochleven ten miles away. I was starting to feel really tired now and my left hip was complaining. I was looking forward to the Staircase as I knew I’d just be walking it, but even that felt really hard. I’m sure they extended it this year! A photographer was hiding half way up, so I ran for the camera and then quickly returned to puffing and panting as soon as he was out of sight. Eventually the top came and Sadie caught this superb photo.

You have to stop and look around here. It’s sublimely beautiful. Glencoe and Buachaille Etive Mor behind you, the sweeping Mamores in front. They looked stunning in the early evening light and lifted my flagging spirits. Ellie wrote in a post-race email to the harriers “What a great way to spend your time on this earth, moving through beautiful, vast parts of it under your own steam”. I couldn’t agree more. So, down into Kinlochleven we went, me feeling glad I’d taken it easy on Conic hill as my knees and quads held out really well. Half way down though my left hip started to really hurt. I’d taken paracetamol a couple of hours ago, so faced a long wait for some more. Then everything started to hurt, the relentless descent on rocky trail shuddering through a body that had already travelled almost 80 miles. We passed the Bunkhouse and got cheers from the campers and reached the Community Centre in 19:03:13, half way between my targets. I headed into the toilets with a change of clothes and was enjoying a wee rest when suddenly Juliane knocked on the door. “Jan, I think we have to move out of this checkpoint as soon as we can, I’ll explain outside!” I wrestled myself into my Harriers t-shirt and rushed out of the cubicle. Apparently I had been 3rd F40 up to that point, but the 4th was just behind me and threatening to jump ahead. So I scoffed a little more pasta, drank some cola and fizzy water and rushed out of the CP. In so much of a rush in fact that I forgot to take my head torch! It had been given to me but I’d put it back in the bag when I’d fumbled out of the toilets. I realised my mistake as we headed into the trial that leads up to the Lairig Mor. Sadie asked if we should go back for it. Out of the question! I texted the crew and asked them to come to Lundavra and give me it there, as it would hopefully just be getting dark then. I hadn’t wanted them to bother going there as it’s a nightmare of a road, but they gamely went, ever so apologetic for forgetting to check I had the torch. So, Sadie and I headed up the steep climb out of Kinlochleven towards the Lairig Mor, and that’s where things started to get really bad…

Poor Sadie had to put up with a lot from here to Lundavra! I had my first proper ultra meltdown. Tears, me whinging “Who’s idea was this?” and complaining about pain. Sadie gave me a hug and a pep talk, but just had to let me get on with it and put up with my lack of chat for quite a few miles! If she hadn’t been there though, I’m sure I’d have curled up on the side of the trail and sobbed. About half way along the Lairig Mor the 4th F40 passed me. I didn’t care. The pain in my hip was intense. I think the sleep deprivation was affecting my ability to handle pain and I couldn’t envision myself finishing in a positive way. I was going to get there though, no matter what. I started to think of something Fiona Rennie (ultra legend, two-time cancer survivor and 15-time WHW finisher) said. “Pain is a luxury of the living”. I thought about my beautiful friend Paula, who after years of struggling with her weight had found running and was completing half marathons, until a niggle in her back turned out to be an aggressive, metastatic breast cancer. She passed away 7 weeks after diagnosis, 5 days before her 39th birthday. I thought if she could see me now she’d kick me up the arse and tell me to get a grip. I ran the rest of the way for her.

Lundavra, the ‘party checkpoint’ finally appeared on the horizon, bonfire burning. Mairi and Juliane met me with my head torch wearing midgie hoods as they were really bad here! Norrie, my friend from Haddington Running Cub was here manning a photo booth, which provided comedy relief for tired minds. A balloon archway framed the route out of the CP and onto the final 7 miles into Fort Bill.

The sun started to set as we headed off on the narrow trail towards the Fire Road. My eyes began to play tricks on me and I saw faces in every rock, and every tree trunk was an animal of some sort in the gloaming. We passed, then were passed by the same pair of runners a couple of times before we eventually lost them on the last climb up to the forest. We could see trails of head torches coming off the Ben (or going up, I couldn’t be sure) as we began the long slog down into Glen Nevis. There were tiny frogs on the track, which I was careful not to step on but it looked like a few had come a cropper from earlier runners. Down, down, down we went, everything hurting in equal measure. I’d taken some paracetamol at Lundavra, which had taken the edge off a little, but I think my body had just got fed up of sending pain signals to a brain that was wilfully ignoring it. Ultra legend Yiannis Kouros insists, “Pain is the reality, but your mind can inspire you past it”. Coming out of Kinlochleven I was convinced that this was utter bollocks. Coming down the Fire Road I wasn’t so sure. It’s frankly amazing what you can put your body through when you have the will to succeed. Bar my limbs falling off I was going to get to bloody Fort William! Sadie asked if I wanted something to eat or drink but I muttered, “No, just want to get to the finish!” My appetite had disappeared and I was surviving on sips of water and Active Root. Eventually the trail flattened out and took us out onto the Glen Nevis Road. Sadie called Mark to let him know we were nearly there. We ran past the old finish at Lochaber Leisure Centre and across the road, finally reaching the finish at the Nevis Centre where Mark, Juliane and Mairi were waiting and cheering. I crossed the line in 23 hours, 13 minutes and 27 seconds, well within my target of 24 hours. To be honest, I didn’t care about time at the finish. In fact the finish line marshal had to remind me to stop my watch! I was more focussed on the fact I’d been able to dig myself out of a massive hole and finish strong and happy! No tears, just smiles.

My crew immediately took over my welfare and I was offered tea and toast by about four different marshals. I joked to one of them that ultras are a bit like childbirth – it hurts for hours, you swear never again, then are offered tea and toast and are so happy you forget about all the pain! I sat down for only the second time in 96 miles trying to take in what had just happened. Then it was time to get to the hotel to get washed and warmed up and in to bed. After only a couple of hour’s kip I woke up with throbbing pain in both legs. I struggled out of bed and lay on the floor with my legs up the wall, but that didn’t help. I slathered Biofreeze on my hips, which barely took the edge off. Eventually I lay on my slightly less sore hip with a pillow between my knees and checked the live results to see how my running buddies were doing. Yan had finished half an hour ahead of me, while Graham was still out on the trail. Eventually I drifted off to sleep after another couple of paracetamol.

Mark and I met Mairi and Juliane for a hearty breakfast in the hotel restaurant the next morning. I still didn’t have much of an appetite, but it was good to get some hot cooked food down me. Then it was off to the prize giving to collect my goblet. I finally saw Yan and Graham, who both looked remarkably fresh. The atmosphere in the Nevis Centre was amazing. Runners and crew, marshals and families, all gathered to celebrate an epic adventure. There were tears and hugs and cheers as each and every finisher walked, staggered and in one case had to be helped up to collect their prized crystal goblet. The final finisher, who arrived only half an hour before the ceremony to rapturous applause, was awarded his goblet by the winner of the race. A wonderful gesture, closing the circle of what is an incredibly inclusive and diverse event. I collected my goblet from John Kynaston (the race team were taking turns to hand them out), which I was really chuffed about, as his podcasts had been absolutely essential in my planning and run up to the race. I cradled it like a newborn baby, feeling welcomed at last into the West Highland Way Race family.

I’ve heard previous runners say that “nothing is ever the same again” after this race and I can understand why. To have toed the line along one of Scotland’s toughest, most beautiful trails, all in one go is truly humbling. There’s definitely a ‘face’ people pull when they ask how far the race was – a mixture of disbelief and wonder. That’s exactly how I feel right now. There is so much more I could say, but I’ve wittered on for long enough. Well, just one more thing… never again!

Results:
Yan Horsburgh (Harrier at heart) – 63rd, 22:42:43
Jan Dawson – 75th, 23:13:27
Graham Flockhart – 173rd, 31:41:17

Full results here: https://westhighlandwayrace.org/2019-results

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Eildons Hill Race 2019: In Sarah’s dust…….

While other members of the Harriers were performing remarkable feats of endurance, Sarah and I had a more “leisurely” time around the Melrose Eildons.

7.2kms and 480m of climb – short, but not so sweet – a tough fast little fell race. The race route takes you across all 3 of the Eildon Hills but, this year, in a different order to that of the Eildon’s Trail race or Jedburgh Ultra.

Eildons Three Hill Race Route

The race is part of the local Melrose Highland games so there is a nice atmosphere and one needs to be very careful to run the correct race – it would be embarrassing to lose the egg and spoon race.

The climb up to the 1st peak is a real thigh burn, but from the summit it is all rather runnable and a little mad as the paths are often more scree than path.

At the start gun, I did my usual and sprinted off to get some seconds of glory. Soon however, as the my legs started getting heavy, runners started passing me – including Sarah. I was determined to keep her in sight.

This was my first short race of the year and I certainly had not trained for this kind of intensity. My calves and thighs were screaming, but I manage to at least Keep Sarah in sight for most of the race. The final descent was a blur of mad arm waving and screaming muscles as we went back down into the warm temperatures of the town. The heat in the sun after crossing the finish line was intense and everyone looked like they were melting.

Of 92 runners, Sarah came in 11th (2nd lady and 1st in her category). I came in a rather sweaty 20th, but at least got a PB which aint bad at my age.

Nice to be back attempting some speedy running.

Rob

 

Sarah McKechnie 00:44:29

Rob Wilson 00:45:49

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Corstorphine 5 Mile Road Race – 5 June 2019

A cool but thankfully dry evening saw a good collection of runners assemble for the latest CAAC 5 Mile road race.

Despite being a Wednesday night and with a hill grand prix race also taking place at Red Moss Kips, there was a healthy turnout from the Harriers. Me, Charlie, John, Ritchie and Zoe were all competing and coach Dave was there supporting and offering encouragement.

It’s a race I always look forward to as I enjoy the midweek races and this is long enough to be worthwhile but short enough to be able to go reasonably fast.

The route is on the open road starting from the end of Turnhouse Road and circling Turnhouse Golf Course and Cammo. There is a fast downhill start before doubling almost towards the town and round Cammo, a good uphill is quickly followed by a sharp downturn in the road to the 3 mile mark. Just before the 4 mile mark there is another incline before the course drops to a fast finish just off Turnhouse Road.

This year it was chip timing and there were no entries on the night. At only £6 for entry it is good value.

Our Harriers did well amongst a strong field where the race was won in a time of 26:44.

Harriers results below:

Bib Name RaceTime ChipTime Gender Age Team RANK
121 John Gibbs 00:28:32 00:28:28 M 38 Penicuik Harriers M 11
94 Ritchie Thomson 00:28:41 00:28:38 M 34 Penicuik Harriers M 15
202 Allan Dunbar 00:33:21 00:33:14 M 43 Penicuik Harriers M 74
193 Charlie Crawford 00:36:22 00:36:10 M 40 Penicuik Harriers M 118
195 Zoe Fowler 00:37:20 00:37:09 F 39 Penicuik Harriers F 129

There were bananas and water for finishers at the end of the race and, as I only discovered much later, a selection of tray bakes and other sweet treats were also available to those that managed to find them.

As always a really well organised and competitive race. Thanks to Corstorphine AAC for putting it on.

Sorry I don’t have any photos – I think Dave got a shot of us after the race but I’ve not seen it yet.

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