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In an enjoyable weekend of racing in very picturesque surroundings, Carnethy enjoyed success in both forms of the individual Ultras and the relay events. Steven Yule finished a superb second place in the 67 mile version behind winner Hugh McInnes (5th in this year’s Highland Fling) in 12:41 and Ross Christie in his debut Ultra finished second in the 35.5 version in 5:26 behind winner (and Carnethy social member) Peter Buchanan.
Carnethy fielded three/two teams? (the ladies seemed to be running as one across two teams) in the Ultra Relay, with Carnethy A (Gregor Heron, Jim Hardie, Lisa Gamble, Graham Nash, Mike Lynch and Neil Burnett) winning the event in 8:25 and Carnethy Z (a combination of Margaret Forrest, Gillian Paul, Aurore Carric, David Meikle, Karen Meikle, Cali Ingham and Kirsty Louden) finished 11th in 14:56.
The previous record for the 67 Relay was 8:32 (set by Campbeltown AC in 2011) but as the course was shortened by 1.1 miles due to logging, the Carnethy A winning time of 8:25 may or may not be ratified as a new best.
Former Carnethy and female record holder Lucy Colquhoun, and Jamie Aarons (4th female, 2010 Highland Fling) ran as a two-person team, alternating legs, and finished in 10:30.
Album of the weekend here
Peter Buchanan’s blog here
Gregor’s report –
Leg 1, Tarbert to Claonaig, 11.6 miles (1,345ft of elevation), Gregor Heron, 1:27:44.
The early morning alarm at 5am woke me from a restless sleep with recurrent dreams / nightmares of grown men in onesies (you know who you are!). A power breakfast of coffee and hot cross buns and I was ready to jog down to the start line. Leg 1 is good because you know when you are starting, but it becomes a head to head race and all the talk was of Carnethy not only winning, but getting a new record (nothing like setting your stall out early!). I was well aware of the task in hand, I was running against Alan Tait of Tinto, I regularly train with Alan who likes his road stuff and recently went comfortably sub 3 hours in a grass track marathon. The odds were not in my favour. The race route is NOT the same start as the official Kintyre Way, it is a little bit different, but enough to cause a bit of disorientation at the start and we probably lost a bit of time ‘looking for the route’. Initially it was Tinto / Carnethy / Stonehaven. As we passed the first marshall (in the wrong direction) I was nearly taken out by their car door opening. Being told there were runners in front of us resulted in a rapid increase in pace (to catch what we thought were those behind us that had not taken the wrong route). The Stonehaven runner was dropped. The first five miles were all uphill for us, in the mist / drizzle. I knew the views would be spectacular over to the top of Arran, but we couldn’t see them. At the top of the stoney track, the route runs over wet peaty sections that favoured me more than Alan (he took a tumble here and almost disappeared into a peat hag, lucky not to break something) but I was happy to stick with him as I knew the final road section would be fast and wanted to be as fresh as possible to respond to the inevitable spurt. We were passing ultra runners regularly now and this continued on the final decent to the road section (where the hot cross buns were maybe not a great idea!). On the road, Alan shot off predictably and I did my best to keep up / and ignore the toilet urges (not easy!). It felt slow but my Garmin showed just over 6 min/ml pace so it wasn’t too long before I made it to the transition (about a minute behind Alan) and dibbed, over to Jim….
Jim’s Report –
“Just think of the team”, I kept repeating in my head as the tiredness really set in. It was 2am, I really needed to sleep, but for the good of the team I decided *not* to perform emergency rhinoplasty on Gregor Heron at this late hour. His snoring had been shaking the walls of the accommodation all night, and all I could think of was picking up a rock from outside and “fixing” whatever blockage was causing problems while he slept. I also knew that he was on the first leg, and had to be up early, so it’d be unfair to disrupt his very deep sleep. Team player, that’s me, and I also managed to find some earplugs which helped no end. I kept a rock handy, just in case the earplugs didn’t work and delicate surgery was required.
Leg 2 starts from a Ferry Terminal at Clonaig, where Mike and I were waiting. We knew there was a very capable Tinto team out there, and wondered how Gregor would fare. After a short wait the ultrarunners (with their 30mins head start) were starting to come through, so Gregor would not be far behind. I took the opportunity to check the other runners for Leg 2, looking for the tell-tale signs of being faster than me, specifically: taller or thinner. They were all taller and/or thinner. Ah well.
Tinto swept in first with Gregor shortly after. A quick hello and I was off, looking to make ground on the Tinto guy. I managed to catch him on the road, which was good, but I was hoping to follow somebody so I didn’t need to watch where to go. I was worried that I’d miss the turnoff onto the trails, and kept checking behind me to see if the Tinto guy had found the trail and just not said anything. Thankfully a pale blue sign appeared, and I gained some confidence in my route finding. Ahead of me I knew there were people to chase: A group of three ultra guys including Steven Yule, and far ahead of them the lone figure of Hugh McInnes. I concentrated on catching them rather than worrying about anyone behind me. A landrover track snaked higher, the mist got thicker, and the rain heavier. I caught the group of three whilst on the landrover track, exchanging words of encouragement on the way. The landrover track turned to a quad track, then to a thin trail with clumps of reeds to shimmy around.
I finally caught Hugh at Lochan a Chreimh, at the highest point of the route, before the long descent into Clachan. The ground around the lochans was wet and boggy, and I survived with only one calamitous faceplant (a new record!). Hugh was moving really quickly for somebody doing a 67mile ultra, and I seemed to make slow progress away from him. Down towards Clachan I was keen to watch for the new route section, a reroute this year due to forestry works, and it worried me that I hadn’t seen signs for it. The race relies on the pale blue Kintyre way signposts to guide the runners round, and I was concerned that I might miss one whilst watching my feet over the rougher terrain. I must confess that my eyesight isn’t great, and a pale blue post isn’t the most noticeable in the mist, and also a small blue arrow on a blue post isn’t the easiest to read from just a glance when running hard. I was glad to see the classic lurid yellow runner’s arrows pointing the way of the diversion. The final road section provided a fast finish, albeit on foot mangling tarmac, and across the main road to the checkpoint.
My time of 1:07ish surprised me a bit…and everyone else as there was nobody at the checkpoint when I arrived. Mike was sitting eating something in the car park, and there was no sign of Lisa. Mike said “Lisa is blgagga bhalga bladd ba”. At least, I think that’s what he said….but it seems Lisa was still getting changed in the hall. She appeared, grabbed the dibber and legged-it. My contribution was over! I was a bit annoyed at the diversion, as it had chopped a mile of gradual downhill off the route and replaced it with a steeper descent and a flat run. It would have been nice to log a time for the normal route. Bah!
It was a shame that the logistics meant that we had to get into a car as soon as our runner came in, as it would have been nice to see the other Carnethy teams finish each leg, but it was not to be. I only hope they enjoyed the race as much as me!
A great day, and a massive thanks to Mike for sorting everything!
Mike’s Report –
After all the effort of organising and recce-ing this thing, I nearly didn’t run. A calf tear developed into somewhere from swelling to compartment syndrome to thrombosis to certain death! and on Wednesday night I was actually hunting for replacements. Luckily they all told me they were, er, busy, my leg shrunk back to normal and, well, here we are – holders of a shiny box of Clif Bars as winners of the 67 Relay.
I’d recce-d my leg back in March with the band of brothers but still had to visualise it before setting off and as is the case with these things, there were still doubts en route about certain aspects of it. I waited at the cafe at Carradale with Jim and Neil as they tucked into their fried egg rolls (free of charge to runners) and as I salivated, I wondered how long Graham would take to come in. The record was 1 hour 46 for this leg and he wasn’t far behind that. We heard a shout from Jim (who at this point was in the woods at the back of the checkpoint taking photos) and he was saying something like ‘escaped bear on the loose – run for your lives!’ which was the signal that Graham was flying into the checkpoint. We fiddled with the dibber thingy, high fived and I was on my way.
This leg is short, but there is a lot packed into the 6 miles and starts with a fast wooded trail for a mile or so, which then turns back on itself and eventually opens into the Rocky Horror Show that is the half mile stretch of ‘beach’ outside of Carradale. The bloke at the cafe tipped me to hug the cliff as much as possible and this seemed to be a decent line, but nothing other than scrambling works for the last couple of hundred yards. Thereafter it’s up and over a stile, onto a road section and then the slow painful climb up into Torrisdale Castle Estate. At this point I had managed to overtake a couple of solo runners and wondered how many I could get through before handing over to Neil. After the farmhouse the hill climb began and I caught two others here (including our own Ross Christie) and was on the hunt for Peter Buchanan (I never did catch him). There is a strange little section through some woods and then more climbing up forest tracks until the long sweep to the top of the final drop into Ifferdale Farm. The descent here is fast and it was dry so the Salomons were gripping nicely. At the bottom the mud was thick and the cows wild. Peter B had already shouted at them to move on his way past, so by the time I reached them, they were jittery beasts and I had to be wary (Didn’t fancy the ‘Man killed in tragic cow running accident’ headlines, quite frankly). Then round the corner to hear Jim shouting at me to smile for the photos. Then the last few hundred yards to Neil at the checkpoint and I was done. Sub-50 minutes was a better result than I could have hoped for. We were clear leaders in the race by then so it was over to Neil to try to help us break the record.
|Leg 1, Tarbert to Claonaig||Leg 2, Claonaig to Clachan||Leg 3, Clachan to Tayinloan||Leg 4, Tayinloan to Carradale||Leg 5, Carradale to Ifferdale||Leg 6, Ifferdale to Campbeltown||Totals|
|Distance||11.6 miles||9.4 miles||9.5 miles||15.7 miles||6 miles||14.2 miles||66.4 miles|
|67 Solo, Steven Yule|
|Position in race||2 (joint)||2||2||2||2||2|
|35.5 Solo, Ross Christie||15.7 miles||6 miles||14.2 miles||35.9 miles|
|Position in race||2 (joint)||2||2|
|Carnethy A||Gregor Heron||Jim Hardie||Lisa Gamble||Graham Nash||Mike Lynch||Neil Burnett|
|Position in relay||2||1||1||1||1||1|
|Carnethy Z||Margaret Forrest, Kirsty Louden||TBC||David Meikle, Karen Meikle||David Meikle, Karen Meikle||Aurore Carric||Aurore Carric|
|Position in relay||11||11||11||11||11||11|
|Record time for this leg||1:25 (2012*); 1:25:46 (2011)||1:18:38 (2011)||1:12:39 (2011)||1:46 (2013*)||0:49 (2012*)||1:41:41 (2011)||08:25:49 hours|
|Notes||*Only whole minutes (no seconds) were recorded in 2012.||*Leg 2 was diverted this year. Usual distance is 10.5 miles.||*Only whole minutes (no seconds) were recorded in 2013.||*Only whole minutes (no seconds) were recorded in 2012.|