Tuesday 27 September 2011

Two Breweries Hill Race

24th September 2011

Results | Photos

This was my 10th Two Breweries in a row. For once I decided to start a bit more slowly, and slotted in well behind the block of front runners for the opening jog down the road.  I then backed right off on the first climb, and started walking thereby letting lots more runners past, including Kate Jenkins and David Fulton of HBT.

Once we got onto the more runnable track through the heather, I managed to start running again and passed David and Kate, and then started to close down John Binnie, Jonny Knox and Iain Whiteside towards Birkscairn. I followed these guys on the descent to Glen Sax, and caught Gregor Heron on the climb towards Hundleshope. The traverse across to Stob Law was seriously muddy and gloopy this year. I saw Dick Wall just as I reached the better track up Stob Law, and passed Greig Glendinning just before the summit.

On the descent to Glenrath I was passed by Jonny Knox and John Binnie, but I caught and passed them again on the climb up Whitelaw. Once in the firebreak, Peter Buchanan and Michael McGovern were not that far ahead, but despite making a reasonable effort I couldn't quite close them down.

On the descent from Dead Wive's Grave, I had John Binnie right on my heels, but he only passed after the drinks station at Stobo. I was slightly taken by surprise at the speed that John hammered up the track, but I was happy enough to follow at a distance. Once across the dam, I could see John and Michael crossing the gate/stile simultaneously. At the track I chose not to follow, but to take a different route. I couldn't tell if my route was gaining any advantage, but when I reached the summit of Trahenna I was level with Charles Hutchinson, so I figured I must have leap-frogged John, Peter and Michael without them knowing.

I followed Charles off Trahenna until he suddenly stopped to tie his laces, at which point I passed and dived down the Greenmantle descent off the nose of the hill. This brought me quickly to the Ratchill checkpoint, and I couldn't see any other runners around. I hit the road at 3:14:50, and could see a Carnethy vest way down the road in the distance. I wasn't sure who it was, but tried to close the gap, and got within 11 seconds of Adrian Davis as I crossed the line in 3:20:33 for 18th place, and relieved to have survived after feeling so rubbish at the start.

Two Breweries Route
Being followed by John Binnie at Stobo

Sunday 18 September 2011

Dalehead Fell Race

18th September 2011

Photos | Activity on Garmin Connect

I always like to do Dalehead Fell Race the day after Three Shires, despite feeling a bit wrecked. Dalehead is a far more low key event, and this year had only 24 runners compared with 288 yesterday at Three Shires.

The race starts with a stony farm track leading to a humpback bridge, to avoid the usual river crossing due to the river being in spate.  I reached the summit in 39 minutes, which I'm sure is my slowest ever, and realised it would be difficult to get under the hour.  I battered down the Borrowdale descent, and caught a Keswick runner at the fence crossing above the quarry. For a change I decided to go through the quarry, which was probably a reasonable plan apart from I made a stupid mistake by not following the high path out of the quarry to pick up the grassy descent. Instead I dropped down to the horrible greasy rocky path of the ascent route, which is much trickier underfoot.

Anyhow, there was nobody close to me on the run in, which was longer than usual with the flagged route via the bridge, so I finished in 7th place in about 1:00:46, which is by far my slowest time at Dalehead. But it was nice low key event and good to chat with Miles Jessop, Pete Brittleton and Pez Bullen after the race.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Three Shires Fell Race

17th September 2011

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

I made an early start from Glasgow for this one, and was seriously doubting the wisdom of my choice driving down the M74 with windscreen wipers on double-speed. When I turned off the M6 at Penrith, it was still hammering down with rain, and I was wondering if anyone would turn up to the race.

The parking was at Hodge Close Quarry, which means a good 20 minutes walk across to Little Langdale, and at 11am there was still a huge queue of folk waiting to register. Just before 11.30am we were assembled in the road when Selwyn Wright suddenly shouted 'go' when nobody was really ready. The usual stampede down to the footbridge ensued. I briefly found myself leading alongside eventual race winner Carl Bell, but quickly backed off, and once across the bridge offered no resistance as dozens of runners trotted past.

Once through the fell gate at 14 minutes, the field split 3 ways. The front runners strangely stayed on the lowest path, a few folk cut up immediately on the left, and another group, including several Bowland runners, took the middle ground. I assumed the Bowland guys knew what they were doing, so elected to follow them which was probably a mistake. Next time I will cut up to the left and join the tourist path, which must be quicker.

Anyhow, I bashed on up Wetherlam, trying to keep pace with Mike Johnson and following him across to Prison Band. Gradually I kept on dropping places, until Craig Smith and Ali Welsh went by on the descent to the Three Shire Stone. I caught them on the climb to Blisco, but they both passed again on the descent to Blea Tarn. Once again I caught Ali just before the summit of Lingmoor, but I was feeling fairly weary on the run off and dropped a bunch more places to finish in 43rd place in 2:23:46, which is by far the slowest of my 6 attempts at the race.

Joanne Anderson of Carnethy

Sunday 11 September 2011

Millport 10-mile Road Race

Activity on Garmin Connect | Event Information

It might not have been the full blown remnants of Hurricane Katia expected tomorrow, but the weather on Great Cumbrae was still pretty wild, wet and windy. Given the dismal conditions, the number of runners seemed down on previous years.

I chose to cycle to ensure I could make a quick getaway after the race. The short cycle down to Millport was straight into the teeth of gale so I was pretty exhausted when I arrived at the village hall. Pre-race, I had a chat with John Bell and David Geddes of Garscube, and made a mental plan to try to run with John and his clubmate Euan Geddes.

The race started just before 2pm, with a pack of 4 taking the early pace - Stuart Gibson, Mike Deason, Conor McNulty and a Corstorphine runner. Next I think was Billy Richardson of Irvine, with myself sitting 6th, waiting for John Bell and Euan Geddes to arrive.  I was a bit surprised to see Chris Moses of Helensburgh launching an early attack inside the first kilometre, and chose not to respond. By the first mile I was caught by John and Euan and a guy in purple vest. The 4 of us ran together in a block that took us past Chris, and for a while we seemed to be gaining on Billy.  I was finding the pace a bit too comfortable so tried to push it on for the first 3 miles or so, with myself, John and Euan running side by side with the wind on our backs.

Just before the ferry terminal at 4 miles, either Euan speeded up, or my pace started to slump because  suddenly I couldn't hold on. I tried not to panic and keep on chasing John Bell who was also dropped by Euan by the 5-mile marker. At this point we had swung around the top of the island and were now starting to get battered by a strong headwind. I could see that the Corstorphine runner had faded, and Euan went by soon after 5 miles. I thought I was perhaps in with a shout at catching John, but the run down the west side of the island got tougher and tougher as we fought into the headwind that almost stopped you in your tracks.

I hit 8 miles in 48:15, meaning I'd need to run 6:00 and sub 5:45 for the last 2 miles to get under the hour, which wasn't going to happen. Just before the 9-mile marker I finally got past the Corstorphine guy, but also realised that the purple-vested guy was barreling down on me. I tried to respond several times, but he got the better of me in the final 600 metres when I perhaps gave up too easily.

I'm guessing I must have finished 8th in 1:00:56, with only the first 5 runners getting under the hour. The race was won by Stuart Gibson in 53:08, with Mike Deason 2nd, and I'm guessing Conor McNulty 3rd.
Photo by Kenny Phillips

Photo by Gillian Scott

Photo by Kenny Phillips

Saturday 10 September 2011

Strathclyde Parkrun #72

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

I hadn't run Strathclyde Parkrun in ages, so thought I'd squeeze it before driving down to Devil's Beeftub to watch the British Fell Championship final counter.

The weather was mild with heavy rain before the start, leaving the path covered in large puddles. There wasn't a great turnout, so after running 3:11 for the first kilometre I couldn't hear any footsteps behind. Before starting I'd planned to aim for sub 17 minutes, but with nobody to chase and nobody chasing I backed off a bit and finished in 17:28 which was a second slower than the same weekend last year. The finish funnel was just off the path on wet slippery grass. But as soon as I turned off onto the grass I slammed straight onto my back and hit my head on the ground as I slid across the finish line.

Hopefully I haven't trashed my legs too much before Millport 10-miler tomorrow.