A good turnout of Carnethies at the Ochil 2000s race on Saturday, with 13 of us starting the race. With hindsight, I think 13 was a bit of a bad omen as it wasn’t a great day for many of us. At the start we were informed of a slight reroute from previous years, as the trod out of the woods and onto the side of Innerdownie has changed. “You can still go the old way if you want, but it’s overgrown with nettles”, says the man at the start. “However, we’ve marked a clearer way, it’s only 100m further, and it’s on a path.” Well, that sounds like a fine alternative, thinks everyone, and it’s only an extra 100m. So, with that we were off.
I tried to take it a bit easier than previous years this time round, knowing that the real test in the race is near the end around Blairdenon. Everybody, even the fast lads, took the longer path as advised by the marshal, though it seems that “100m” is actually an extension of half a mile (bad luck #1). I think we all would’ve taken some nettle stings instead of that. Once into a stride, I caught Harry near Innerdownie and could see Alex just ahead. I decided that I should use these guys as a measure of exertion, and settled nicely into a Harry-Alex sandwich over the first couple of lumps. Towards Kings Seat, Alex turned on his ankle and had to withdraw (bad luck #2). The rain started, and the wind howled, and then the hail came, but thankfully it cleared up into a lovely afternoon. Harry and I continued together, occasionally exchanging places throughout the following hills. Konrad was on Ben Cleuch, where he was handing out Alex’s mouldy sweets from last week, and he kindly pointed me the right way for Ben Buck, which I missed last year.
From Ben Ever, the race becomes awkward underfoot, and I decided to ditch the peat hags and take the longer route round the side to Blairdenon. I lost the trod and had to wade through some lovely bog (bad luck #3). Off Blairdenon, it was a lonely field, with only me and a Lothian guy trudging across the boggy moor (I must find a better line!), and then young Iain Gilmore came into view. It seems he’d ran out of energy, and had the disgrace of having me pass him (bad luck #4). Ahead, Mike Andrew had turned his ankle and was also losing places (bad luck #5), and he followed the guys ahead to take a bad line across the burn to Dumyat (bad luck #6). My energy saving from earlier was paying dividends and I made good progress up Dumyat, and down the other side. Unfortunately, my foot caught a root on the way down through the woods, smashing my knee and various other bits in the process (bad luck #7). Over the line, I bumped into Mary and her tribe waiting for Matt – the kids had been playing a form of Mortal Kombat in the car on the way, and there was a bloodied child awaiting Matt for when he crossed the line (bad luck #8).
It seems the bad luck wasn’t everywhere – at the head of the field Jasmin won the ladies race, well under 3hrs! Also, Carnethy won the male team prize! With 4 Carnethies in the top ten, it was a good day out for the club! Hector Haines won the race outright, within a minute of the record. I’d say it was a record-breaking performance on his part, but it seems the extension at the start robbed him of the record (HBT bad luck #1, perhaps).
Well….better luck next time, I suppose. Photos here