Wednesday, 26 July 2006
4 miles, 1500ft
Ally's Photos  |  JD's Photos
Inaugural Westies handicap race at Arrochar. A good turnout of 14 Westies: Muffy Calder, Cat Miller, Katherine Kirk, Helen Palmer, Val Brunton, Drew Turnbull, Jason Kaushal, Stevie Bell, Dave Calder, Hamilton Semple, Rod Fleming, Steffen Gorgas, Don Reid and myself. Charlie Campbell did the honours with the time-keeping, and braving the onslaught of midges. JD raised himself from his sickbed to award his eclectic mix of prizes for the lucky winners. Jason improved on finishing last at the recent Moffat Chase with a fine victory in the race tonight. Helen Palmer was by far the fastest lady. Don Reid pipped me on the descent, despite Don's misjudged corner-cutting through brambles and heavy undergrowth. I managed the course in 38:00, which was the quickest on the night, with Steffen second fastest.
Tuesday, 25 July 2006
5 miles, 2100ft
Results  |  Photos
I managed first non-Borrowdale runner tonight at the Glaramara Fell Race, finishing in 5th place behind Simon Booth, Scoffer Schofield, Jonny Bland and Mikey Cunningham. Low-key turnout with only 19 runners, but a great evening for a leisurely Lakes fell race.
Saturday, 22 July 2006
Total distance of 58 miles
Results  |  JD's Photos
Not sure of any results yet, apart from Bellahouston winning first prize for both men and ladies teams. Nice pleasant warm weather for running and hanging around. I took a scenic jog along Leg 2 (North) which goes from Pirnmill to just over the brow of the big hill south of Lochranza. The 10.5-mile stage was comfortably won by Matt Williamson in 1:03, I finished 3rd in 1:08 about 30 seconds behind John Kennedy of Clydesdale, and 20 seconds ahead of 1st lady Elke Schmidt from Bellahouston who pushed me hard up the killer hill.
Thursday, 20 July 2006
5 miles, 2000ft
69 runners took part on one of the warmest evenings of the year. The race was won by Phil Whiting of Kendal in 45:10. First lady was Lisa Lacon of Holmfirth in 50:31. I finished 9th in 47:59, after getting pipped on the road by John MacFarlane of Thames Hare and Hounds, but still picked up 9 bottles of beer at Selwyn Wright's eccentric prize giving.
Sunday, 16 July 2006
6.2 miles, 500ft
Results  |  Photos
Feeling pretty jaded from the Moffat Chase epic yesterday, I pottered round the picturesque Crieff 10k Trail Race this morning. Wonderfully easy running compared with the endless heather and tussocks of yesterday.
The route was quite hilly along forest trails, but largely shaded from the heat of the sun. I failed to get inside my target time of 40 minutes, and in fact finished in a fairly rubbish time of 41:03. During the final 9.5km I was only passed by one runner - Jim Thyne of HBT - and clawed back a place in the final kilometre. Otherwise I held position and finished 17th. The race was won by more than 2 minutes by Robert Gilroy of Cambuslang in a new course record of 33:54. First lady was Rowena Fok in 41:32 in 20th place.
Saturday, 15 July 2006
16.4 miles, 5570ft
Bit of a scorcher on the Moffat Chase today.
The race was won by stalwart veteran Stewart Whitlie, with evergreen Colin Donnelly 2nd. Jethro Lennox was surprisingly 3rd having blown up or melted down in the heat. Angela Mudge was first lady by a good margin having 'pottered round' saving herself apparently for next weekend's Dolomites Sky Race. Helen Stuart had a storming run as 2nd lady, Louise Burt was 3rd lady and 1st vet, and Catriona Miller finished as 4th lady. Westerlands took 2nd men's team behind Carnethy with Luke, Manny, me and David Riach. Westerlands ladies took 1st team prize with Cat, Val Brunton and Muffy Calder. I finished back in 16th place in 3:43:00, getting edged out by Colin Valentine and Nick Leslie towards the end, but just managing to hold off the challenge from Helen Stuart who repeatedly overtook me during the race.
Sunday, 9 July 2006
Just hiked/jogged (actually not much jogging) along the GR20 Sud-Nord in 6 stages. Kicked off from Conca in the south on July 1st at 10.30am in roasting heat for the 1st stage up to Col de Bavella to watch England lose on penalties to Portugal (quelle surprise). On the 2nd Juillet I plodded past Asinao, over Monte Incudine, past Usciolu to I Prati. A longish 13 hour day with 12 hours of actual hiking. I spent a good 40 minutes or so dossing around at Asinao chatting to Le Gardien and partner lazing in the sun.
Juillet 3rd was pleasant enough to start with a downhill hike to Col de Verde for coffee and stale bread, then scenic wooded trails to the Col de Vizzavona. I accidentally followed a variant of a variant which I thought might save time, but instead lead me deep into La Valley Perdu. I should have guessed from the name that this wasn't a brilliant idea. The tail end of the day was a 600m flog up past Les Cascades des Anglaises and over a 2000m col to drop down to the shepherds' hideout of l'Onda. I was so hungry when I arrived, after another 13hr+ day, that I just scrounged the leftovers of what the locals were eating.
The following morning my toes were pretty sore and blistered so I carried on, taking the haute route along the ridge to Petra Piana. It was very tempting to lounge around here for a while, but instead I pressed on along the roughest and most spectacular section of the GR20 high above les Lacs Melo et Capitellu, and through the forbidding Breche Capitello to the long rough descent to Manganu. It was on the final section of descent that I stood the greatest risk of being overtaken. Some guy was right on my heels forcing me faster and faster. When I reached the refuge at Manganu I realised he was just Le Gardien running back to get the tea on. I then had several more hours to plod on to reach the Castel di Verghio.
That night my foot was agony and blistered and looking infected. Some French guys had a right good go at draining the pus and blood from the offending toe, and then told me I should probably call a doctor. They cleared off and left me unable to walk for 2 days. I also had a problem that I'd almost run out of money, so could hardly eat or drink anything for 2 days.
Finally July 7th I decided to press on. Toes exploding with pain at each step or not. The weather was looking pretty dodgy too, with gathering storm clouds as I crossed La Cirque de La Solitude. Luckily only a spattering of rain materialised, but it encouraged me to get a move on with the descent to Haut Asco.
July 8th was the final day on the trail, and still a fairly long outing with exactly 10 hours of hiking or running. I bumped into Alice Garnier's mother and father-in-law on the descent to Carrozu. The familiar faces cheered me up for a while, but later on when I was descending the long final section to Calenzana in scorching heat, I was beginning to wonder whether I'd imagined seeing them.
Anyway, I finished the entire GR20 in 6 days of hiking, with 59 hours 51 minutes of actual hiking or running. My backpack was about 10kg which was too heavy for much running. The total stats for the route are about 200km with 11,500m of ascent.
I've a fair way to go to get anywhere the record of 36hrs 53min set by Pierre Santucci in September 2005. Still, at least I completed the first of my 3 GRs. Only another 2 to go now... 3GR Challenge