Monday 28 July 2008

Luss Games Hill Race

27th July 2008

I'd been warned about the Luss hill race on more than one occasion. It has a reputation for runners ending up completely lost in chest-high bracken. I was not to be disappointed, and duly got completely lost on the descent and ended up in chest-high bracken just as expected.

Like the day before at Dufftown the temperatures were sweltering, but today there was no hazy cloud, so conditions were full-on scorching. The race started with a lap of the 300m games field before launching out onto the road and under the A82 on a footpath. Next was some diagonal cuts across fields and gates to climb before hitting the open hillside. A narrow path climbed through the bracken but petered out leaving a steep tussocky climb with odd patches of bracken to thrash through.

The race started off super-fast with Jethro Lennox and Edinburgh Uni's Ales Drahokoupil pelting off in the lead. Next Ronnie Gallagher, Des Crowe and Lindsey Cunningham all passed whilst I gasped along in 6th place, just managing to stay in front of Des's 13yr old son Jamie on the climb.

Jamie and I touched the flag at the summit turning point together, but then Jamie hit his stride quicker on the descent, only to run himself into some pathless bracken, allowing me to get in front again, until I had a mental aberration and headed off way too far to the left leading down the wrong track until I was fighting through chest-high bracken.

I vaguely thought of abandoning the race and just heading back to my car, but eventually fought my way through a track and caught a glimpse of Davy Duncan whisking past, so I gave chase back into the games field, narrowly avoiding catching him, but finishing the race all the same.

I've no idea what time anyone else ran, but I think I finished 7th in 32:28.

Route Route Race profile against distance Race profile against time

Saturday 26 July 2008

Ben Rinnes Hill Race

26th July 2008
Results | Photos

A sweltering hot day at Dufftown Highland Games for Ben Rinnes. Quite a few runners suffered in the heat. Not least Brian Marshall, who managed to throw away an unassailable lead by falling apart on the last couple of hills. This allowed Sean Bolland to win the race, and David Riach had a fantastic run getting the better of Alec Keith and Brian Marshall to finish 2nd. I was pleased enough to finish 8th on such a hot day, even though I was nearly 10 minutes slower than last time in 2003.

Race route David Riach Graham Kelly Sean Bolland - race winner David Riach Ross Bannerman Keith Adams
Race profile against distance Race profile against time

Sunday 20 July 2008

Isle of Mull Fell Race

19th July 2008

My 8th time up Ben More - first as my last Munro in 1993, then in 2002 as John Coyle's famous "Mull Monster", and then 5 times in the Scottish Island Peaks Race. Pretty cold for mid-July, and very strong winds on the hill.

I felt tired on the first climb up Beinn Ghraig and slumped well down the field, but then more or less held position with Bruce Smith and Jill Mykura just in front all the way to Ben More. Passed Bruce just before the summit and followed Jill on the descent until the river crossing at around 330m, but then made the mistake of following the track beside the river instead of cutting across the hill in the direction of the finish. By the time I realised my mistake it was too late and I was committed to heading down to the road, thereby adding on a fair bit of extra distance, and throwing away at least 4 places.

Brian Marshall won in an incredible new record of 1:46:02, and well over 3 minutes clear of 2nd-placed Stewart Whitlie. Jill knocked 24 minutes off the women's record finishing in 2:03:57.

Race route 3D image of route The Mull hills Brian Marshall - race winner High on Ben More Claire Gordon Jacqui and Ellie
Race profile against distance Race profile against time

Thursday 17 July 2008

Maddy Moss Hill Race

16th July 2008

My first attempt at Maddy Moss since 2005 when I was just over the hour. Luckily no such mishap this time as I clocked a PB of 57:43 in dry but windy conditions.

Grant Stewart quickly opened up an early lead, but was closed down by Al Anthony by the summit of Ben Cleuch and the 2 then ran together to the finish. Elke caught me on the run up to Ben Cleuch summit, but I pulled away on the descent. I got passed by Cameron Burt and Colin Glencorse just as we finished the long narrow track, but gave chase which helped me to pass Martin Dean right on the line.

Ellie had a good run to finish 2nd woman, just 3 seconds ahead of Hazel Dean.

Race profile against distance Race profile against time Race route Google Earth image of route Grant Stewart - race winner Al Anthony - second by less than a second Elke Schmidt Ellie Simon Triger Simon Triger Owen O`Neill Owen and Simon Steffen Gorgas David Rodgers Ellie Jason Kaushal Stuart Burns

Sunday 13 July 2008

Crieff 10k Trail Race

13th July 2008
Results | Race Details

Crieff 10k reports: 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Just back from Crieff. Had a much better run than yesterday at Alva. In fact there wasn't really any running at Alva. It was more like 18 minutes flog up a steep hill, then slither back down. Crieff 10k Trail Race was far more my bag, starting and finishing in the wonderfully green and manicured Dallerie playing fields. You could almost be in England!

I started off steadily in 3rd place, going through the first kilometre in 3:32, before you hit the trail up Laggan Hill. Gradually 3 or 4 runners passed, lead by Ian Stewart - top V50 runner from Carnegie. Just after we crested the hill Bob Wiseman nipped past in a Central AC vest. From this point to the end, I was more or less running with Stephen Allan from Kirki Olympians, who I just failed to catch at the end. But I was happy enough with 8th place and first V40 - even if I was beaten by two V50s! - since I haven't been doing much fast running lately - and ran Alva yesterday, and just recovering from gout, etc. etc. My time of 38:29 was almost a minute slower than last year.

At the sharp end, Robert Gilroy won for the 3rd year in a row, and set a new course record of 33:22, whilst Ros Alexander of Carnegie was 1st lady in 41:59.

Robert Gilroy - race winner Dallerie Fields Race Route

Alva Games Hill Race

Results | Race Details
2.5km with 385m of ascent

The race winner for the 3rd year in a row was Alastair Dunn from Kendal-based Helm Hill, finishing in 20:22, and 30 seconds clear of Stirling University's Ewan McCarthy who was first to turn at the summit. First lady was Lucy Lacon of Holmfirth in 25:49.

I topped out with Martin Laing and Bruce Smith just in front, but immediately lost them on the descent as I found my worn out Roclite 315's had been a bad shoe choice with no grip, and spent most of the descent slipping and sliding, and falling on my backside. The first lady, Lucy Lacon, passed me just before the corner of the golf course and lead me down to the road, but I hurdled the wall to get back in front before the half lap of the grass track, and finished 22nd in 25:38.

The Climb The Climb Race Route Race Route Race Profile

Kenny Stuart, Wansfell 1982 Kenny Stuart
The record of 18:39 for Alva dates back to 1981, and is held by the legendary Kenny Stuart of Keswick AC, who still holds the records for Ben Nevis (1984), Skiddaw (1984) and Snowdon (1985).

Link to Kenny Stuart Article