There were lots of Carnethies at the Jedburgh Ultra yesterday.
I travelled down to try to see Fraser but mis-timed it a little. Managed to See Mark Hartree, Hilary Holding, Kathy Henly and Olly Harrison (twice), but had to head home without seing my wee boy. Mark was 22nd in 06:17:09, Hilary and Kathy were 4th and 5th Ladies. Fraser just got under 8 hours.
Team Carnethy (men)
Saturday 25th of October saw the 3rd running of the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra Marathon, part of the Jedburgh Running Festival weekend (10k and Half Marathon on Sunday).
Apologies, an ultra race requires a similarly long winded and plodding report:The race is 38 miles (normally! more on that later) and just over 3000ft of ascent which was the three peaks in question being the Eildons, which afford a 360 degree view of Borders country. It was an almost perfect autumn day, bit blowy, but just right for running, as the wind stabilised you somewhat when running downhill! It was an early start time outside the leisure centre (8am) which meant an even earlier wake up in Edinburgh for breakfast. Jedburgh Abbey looking grand and uplit in the morning blackness. We registered and conversed with team members and photographs before the start, the starting pistol was more of a 3-2-1 GO! We were all a bit slow on the uptake, it was early to be fair!The opening 10 miles took us out of Jedburgh, on tarmac for a couples of miles, then trails with the fallen golden leaves acting as a bit of a blanket over most of the muddy sections (Boggyhall Wood being a very apt name), and up a Roman Road to the first checkpoint. A swing bridge across the river was that much fun I nearly turned round to run across again. I then remembered we’d be back here a few hours later. After CP1 (also CP3) at Maxton church it was good running alongside St. Boswell’s golf course, waving and greeting a few locals along the way. I was running with a few runners at this point, nice to chat away to first timers and seasoned ultra veterans. I had a small bag of cold potatoes to munch on, figured it would be good to get real food down and save the sweetness for later. The trails got pretty sketchy along the riverside at times, would have been interesting if it had been in spate! More pleasant miles of fields, counting the fishermen along the Tweed and admiring the last vestiges of autumn until Rhymer’s Stone and CP2. The majority of the ascent began as we started the first pull up the Eildons, nice and sheltered, and pretty warm in the lee side of the hills, breezy once over the tops. Had to thrown on mac as it was a but chilly with just the vest on. This was probably the best bit of a great race.
Up to that point the course was well marked and fairly straightforward, however coming down the forest track after the last hill I met Hugh McInnes and Lee Muir standing at a Y junction looking a bit lost. Looking back we should have followed the St Cuthberts Way markers, however if in doubt turn left, except that way we went was wrong! People, a cautionary tale, recce a course if it has any sort of potential nav issues! A bit of tape or an arrow would have been handy, but lazy, as it is supposed to be a self navigating race not a string course. We should have carried on to Bowden basically, but went cross country to Newton St Boswells and back on track. A bit frustrating, but I had decided to own up at the end and run any extra miles in the event that we came up short.
Once I had gotten over a fairly basic error, I actually enjoyed most of the last 10 miles back along the route we came up on, more spuds and flat coke and I was floating along. A mahooosive salmon thrashed in a calm section of the river, I took it as encouragement! Fairly uneventful following the route back to the finish in a time of 5 hours 38 minutes for 36.6 miles. I then told the organisers where we had gone wrong, I took off the finishers medal and dropped the bag with beer, banana and t shirt in, and ran the first mile again and back for my sins! Wouldn’t have mattered too much, although I should have finished 7th, not 6th as a young lad with a Glasgow Uni vest finished about 5 minutes behind me. The first 3 runners all beat the previous record held by Neil McNicol. Apologies if I mixed up 2nd and 3rd, I had it as Neil McNicol finishing 3rd, Ross Christie (First Carnethy) 2nd and Matt Williamson 1st in 5 hours and 1 minute. There were 8 or so Carnethy runners taking part, not sure on finishing times and places but all finished well and in one piece, great efforts lads!
This was my first ultra race, Lairig Ghru technically was but this was my first race over 30 miles. I was using it for practice and learning to see what food works and what doesn’t, aka the ‘nutrition strategy’, for the Highland Fling in April 2015. Basically I went for the little and often approach, seemed to work. Left a lot of stuff untouched in my drop bags, of which there were one at each of the three checkpoints.
Good – Beetroot and rocket salads for 4 days before the race. Cold, buttery, salty, herby new potatoes (heaven!). Flat coke, bananas, Nuun tablets and rice pudding pots, and one Clif gel.
Bad – Fig rolls (too dry), Banana Soreen (too much chewing required), Scottish tablet (too…forgotten).
Really enjoyable route, would definitely recommend it to any ultra minded runners.
and penalty run
Some good photos here from photos here from Steven Somerville
Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra Marathon – 25th October 2014
Don’t you love the feeling at the end of a race, well at least the few minutes after crossing the line, when your breathing has recovered and you’ve downed that first drink, your eye-site recovers from the dizziness and you reflect on where you’ve been for the last 6hrs 19mins and 6 seconds. 38 miles down, and on that last mile up a seemingly innocuous endless slope leading through the border town of Jedburgh, a wee hill which you didn’t notice on the way out, but explained why you felt you were running well at the start. I had tried to finish well and even better, had sneaked back on someone in that last mile who won their category. That won’t happen too often for me!
The Borders of Scotland are another best kept secret in this wonderful land. A race route that follows ancient and historic paths covered in autumn leaves, beautiful woods, meandering rivers with the odd fisherman, cows and sheep looking on questioningly as you run by, and some lovely wee hills in the middle before doing again in reverse. It seemed a good alternative to a night in tent with Joel Sylvester on the OMM and Graham Nash had found better looking company, so I’d booked the Jedburgh Ultra Marathon as a warm up to the end of the year.
Carnethy’s were there in good numbers, maybe 12 or so of the 140 starters with some old friends added for good measure. The weather forecast looked good in the week before so when I drove through a down-pour at 0630 I wondered if road shoes really were a good choice. It had been pretty dry in the week, the Eildon Hills had looked quite wee, and it said Roman Road or something on the map, so I figured a flat running sole would be fine. Looking at the footwear choice of everyone else at the start with various lengths of stud, I figured I had made the wrong choice. Also some overheard comment of ‘mudfest’ were a bit worrying. Luckily, the trails were dry apart from the odd bog, and the 3 hills were just about OK on the scree path and wet greasy steep grass….well, I certainly overtook a few people in my semi-out-of control descents due to fear of sliding and falling.
A few Carnethy shirts (including Matthew Curry, Nigel Shekleton and Ross Christie) had overtaken me in the first 4 miles and were away. I’d kept my energy high using the three drop bags keeping most that consumed inside and to good use. Those who overtook me at these points seemed to slow making me sure the food and drink had a good effect. I met Graham Dunbar at the top of the first Eildon but took the long way down missing the cut off path. Others apparently got lost, as I nearly did coming off the last Eildon where the markers and arrows seemed in short supply, and added a mile or so to the route taking the wrong fork, or in some cases shortened it. I am glad I had printed a map which was checked for a few minutes and the path correctly located. I met Graham again at CP 3 who helped refill my drinks but felt rough on the way up the hill leaving the odd marker to show others the way! A car pulled off the road ahead and out jumped Willie Gibson with camera and drink bottle. He was looking for Fraser but I hadn’t seen him since the start line.
9 miles to go, some undulations on the single track ‘Roman Road’, some woods, styles, rivers and road and I was home. There was no-one ahead and a guy on my shoulder so I kicked out a bit to see if he followed. He didn’t, so I slowed for a pee and he caught me so I kicked again and he faded away. At the wire bridge over the River Teviot I knew I had at least 28mins to the finish having noted the time I crossed on the way out. Joanne Thom appeared behind me to my surprise so made for a nice wee racing finish confirming that my food and drink strategy had left me with plenty at the end and nicked it in the end finishing in the low 20’s.
A great route made easier by the dry conditions (it would be really tough if waterlogged). Nice tea and medals, tee-shirt and a super massage at the end by another Mark. Thanks to the organisers and marshalls. Results to follow.
Photos thanks to Allan J Porterfield