Sunday 29 June 2008

Arrochar Alps Race

28th June 2008
Approx. 25km, with 2600 metres of ascent
Results | Photos

Unlike last year when we both marshalled, this year Ellie and I decided it would be easier to run the race. The weather was fairly grim and misty and rainy, which made the steep descents off Vorlich and Narnain extremely tricky and slippy.

Ellie finished 1st of only 4 women to complete the course. I scraped in just under 4 hours in 14th position. The race was jointly won by Tom Owens and Simon Peachey.

Race start Race start Bealach a`Mhaim Bealach a`Mhaim Simon Triger Ellie in full flight Ellie in full flight Ellie nearing the finish Ellie at the finish
Race Profile against Distance Race Profile against Time Race Route

Monday 23 June 2008

Spyke's 31 Munro Record Attempt

21st June 2008
My photos | John Fleetwood's photos | Mark Hartell's write up

Climbing high on Mullach Froach-choire, the first summit - Photo: Ellen Homewood

Ellie and I have just had a busy weekend helping out at Stephen Pyke's (Spyke's) attempt at beating the 24hr Munro record. The plan was to complete a 75-mile circuit from Affric Lodge containing 31 Munros and over 37,000ft of ascent, in order to break the 24hr Munro record set by Jon Broxap 20 years ago, 25th/26th June 1988.

Spyke set out from Glen Affric Lodge at 11am on a bright sunny Saturday morning, and made his way swiftly to the first summit of Mullach Froach-choire. Ellie and I headed up the same hill from near Cluanie Inn and sat in wait. Meanwhile Yiannis Tridimas appeared out of the blue for a quick chat before disappearing on towards the next hill A' Chralaig.

Before long we could make out the runners far below quickly climbing the broken east ridge. 2 pacers had clearly been dropped already, so when Spyke arrived he was accompanied only by Mark Hartell and John Fleetwood, both well-known long distance specialists.

Ellie and I chased them along the ridge taking photos until A'Chralaig, before getting dropped and returning to the Cluanie Inn junction. Spyke, Mark and John arrived at the Leg 1 to 2 changeover around 20 minutes ahead of schedule at about 3:25pm. Spyke stopped only for about 1 minute before heading straight on towards the South Glen Shiel Ridge.

Ellie and I gave Mark a lift down the glen to then next road crossing and then headed up to Bealach Duibh Leac to lie in wait once more, and expecting the runners around 6.40pm. The runners eventually arrived - Spyke, with Tom Brunt and Digby Harris - and were forcing a relentless pace over the Corbett of Sgurr a' Bhac Chaolais. After the Corbett is a very steep rough descent, followed by an exciting 45 degree grass gully up Sgurr a Sgine. Ellie was getting dropped by the pace, so we baled out down to the road crossing, and hoped the runners would arrive by their scheduled time of 9pm, which they made by a couple of minutes.

Spyke finally took his first brief sit down in 10 hours, while frenzied preparations were put in place to get the runners off for Leg 3. Tom and John stepped into the breach once more, and Tim Laney looked somewhat concerned at what lay in store as the runnners launched into the 1000m climb up Sgurr Fhuaran.

As soon as we drove off towards the Cluanie Inn the first rain started, and during the night the frontal system moved in bringing vile, wet and windy weather, and the following morning low cloud was draped over the hills. After a brief interlude of sleep in the rain-battered tent at Invergarry, we headed round to Glen Affric to find out the verdict. But things weren't looking too promising.

We trudged around for 3 hours or so, in the cold and damp, getting more and more frozen. 11am finally came and went without any sign of Spyke or any other runners. The welcoming party was fidgeting and getting seriously cold when finally Tom and Tim jogged into view and gave us the low down. The attempt had long since been abandoned. The decision was made by the weather. Spyke called the whole thing off near Camban bothy after the descent from Ciste Dubh, when time was slipping away thick and fast, people were getting cold and knocked around by the wind.

The final outcome was that 21 Munros were climbed in just under 16 hours, but the weather scuppered any plans of continuing. Whether the 31 Munro route is actually possible is still to be determined, but everyone seemed keen to give it another bash once the dust has settled.

Spyke approaching the first summit - Mullach Froach-choire Spyke approaching the second summit - A' Chralaig Spyke and Mark Hartell at second summit - A' Chralaig John Fleetwood, Spyke and Mark Hartell at Loch Cluanie Leg 1 to 2 changeover at junction near Cluanie Inn Start of Leg 2 heading to South Glen Shiel ridge Spyke and Digby Harris on the South Glen Shiel ridge South Glen Shiel ridge, looking towards Sgurr na Sgine Rough ground off Sgurr a' Bhac Chaolais Mark and Spyke descending Sgurr na Sgine Spyke heading towards The Saddle Spyke and Mark arriving at Glen Shiel Spyke's planned 31 Munro route Jon Broxap's 28 Munro route completed in 1988 Jon Broxap completing his route with Pete Barron and Mark Rigby on 26th June 1988

Sunday 15 June 2008

Vale of Leven 10k

15th June 2008
Lomond Shores, Balloch

Results for first 200 runners

Strong field for Scottish National 10k Road Championships, with Eritrean athletes once again taking the first 3 places.

I jogged round the hilly course with tired mind, body and legs, and finished in a time of 37:10 for 50th position. This was 97 seconds slower than last year, when I managed 35:33.

Race Profile Race Route

Saturday 14 June 2008

Durisdeer Hill Race

14th June 2008
14.7 km, 1240 metres of ascent

Perfect weather combined with a top quality British Championship field meant that both men and women's records were sure to go.

Rob Jebb (Bingley) won the Durisdeer Hill Race in a new record time of 1:21:52, a mere 7 seconds ahead of Morgan Donnelly (Borrowdale), with Shettleston's Jethro Lennox in 3rd place in 1:23:25.

In the ladies race, Angela Mudge finished 1st in 1:34:42, knocking exactly 20 minutes off the previous record. 2nd was Natalie White (Bingley) in 1:37:09, and 3rd was Bellahouston's Elke Schmidt in 1:38:39.

I jogged around in about 1:43:20, finishing as 5th Westie behind Manny, David, Nige and Crawford.

Category Winners | Photos

Race Profile Route Map

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Cort-ma Law Hill Race

11th June 2008
10 km, 500 metres of ascent

Results | Photos

Perfect conditions for the Cort-ma Law race rendered the man-eating emerald green bog only knee-deep rather than the usual waist-deep. The race saw a fine turn out of 18 Westies.

The fast running helped race winner Kenny Richmond to equal John Stevenson's 1999 course record of 48:16. And fastest Westie by a mile was David Riach, whose rich vein of form earned him an impressive 3rd place. Ellie finished as 2nd lady despite being crocked.

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Kilpatricks Hill Race

4th June 2008

Results | Photos | More photos

I felt too tired, and was struggling with a sore throat, so decided to sit this one out and instead jogged up the hill and took a few photos. Jethro Lennox won the race, missing the 1997 record by a mere 8 seconds.