Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Carnethy 5 Hill Race

Results | Route

My 9th attempt at Carnethy 5. In 2001, it was my first proper hill race since joining Westies, and I remember being in close contest along to West Kip with Charlie Campbell and Kate Jenkins, the then record holders for the Munros and West Highland Way.

2001 - 1:05:14
2003 - 0:57:14
2004 - 0:57:53
2005 - 1:01:14
2006 - 1:00:40
2007 - 0:56:26 PB
2008 - 0:56:49
2011 - 1:00:57
2012 - 1:02:17

The next 4 out of 6 races were well under the hour, with two 57s and two 56s. In 2009 I was in Wales and 2010 I was crocked with a long term adductor problem. I returned in 2011, not very hill fit and just missed the hour. In 2012, i.e. last Saturday, I was probably the least hill fit I've been in years. Plus I was feeling somewhat shattered less than 5 weeks since the arrival of Benjamin.

I arrived at Beeslack School in plenty of time to deliver the SHR calendars. I then went to the massage room and attempted to get some sleep by lying on the floor behind the desk, only to be woken by Angela Mudge and Andy Spenceley discussing Carnethy secrets, before Rob Jebb came bounding in with his 2 daughters plus Sharon Taylor.

I attempted to waken myself up a bit by jogging the 4.5km up to the start with Stewart Barrie. It was refreshingly cool but bearable in the field before the gun finally went off shortly after 2pm.

The usual stampede ensued, this time of more than 500 runners charged for the gateway after 600 metres or so. Having done virtually no hill running in the past 4 or 5 months, I settled in pretty gradually and tried not to overdo it on the climb up Scald Law. I topped out with folks like Oli Blomfield, Greig Glendinning, Peter Buchanan, Catriona Buchanan, etc. and thought I wasn't doing too bad.

The first climb up Scald Law 
I hung on reasonably well past South Black, and the climb up East Kip was caught by Alan Smith and Johnny Knox.  I think I was also caught by Scout Adkin on the climb up West Kip, but managed to pass quite a few on the descent and held my own to The Howe, apart from being passed by Bruce Smith.

The next section, the long climb up Carnethy, was where I came properly unstuck, and dropped at least 15 places to the likes of Ronnie Gallagher, Scout Adkin (again), Ali Welsh, Cameron Burt, and all sorts of other folk I didn't recognise. My legs were clearly in no state for climbing. However once on the descent I had the rare experience (probably because I was now so far down the field) of being passed by almost nobody. Just one young guy flew past and then Charlotte Morgan bounded past me through the heather, springer spaniel style.
Approaching the finish
I thought I would easily track Charlotte and catch her on the flat run in after the gate, but instead I dropped 2 more places crossing the bog to Adam Anderson and Ewan Dytch (down as Steven Heeps). But with 200 metres to go I decided to make a move, so surged past Ewan and Adam, and almost caught Charlotte before the finishing funnel.  The overall result was 73rd place in 1:02:17, which wasn't too bad given the circumstances. I then enjoyed another 4.5km jog back to Beeslack for a delicious school dinner.

Photos courtesy of Paul Dobson at fellrunner.net

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