The inaugural SLCR happened on Saturday, with runners starting at midnight and running in teams of 6 along the length of the Fife Coastal Path (116.5 miles) to the finish at Newburgh.
From a signed-up list of 72 runners, across 12 teams, I had a few late call offs, leaving 8 teams to start and few teams had re-jigged their leg orders which presented its own problems for those runners who hadn’t recce’d their legs.
HBT’s Dave Ward set the pace on leg 1, closely followed by Keith Taylor of Fife AC, and those two teams would dominate proceedings, with HBT opening a gap during leg 3, run by Ray Ward. A couple of mass starts in later legs brought the whole thing to a sensible conclusion with the winners, HBT, coming in at 14.59.36, just missing the record by a minute.
Carnethy sat in 3rd after leg 1 (Duncan Davis), before an up and down positional change from 6th to a final 4th across the remaining parts of the race. Other runners being Phil Humphries, Alan Renville, Joel Sylvester, Lisa Gamble and Neil Burnett.
Good weather and running conditions, but a few problems with navigation. Things to work on for next year but positive feedback from competitors.
Thanks to Nick Brown for some of the photos. A full album is here: https://plus.google.com/103192130211278661786/posts
Provisional results pdf
It’s an odd feeling to be getting into your running kit at 10:30pm and then making your way to Kincardine. After some pleasantries and some last minute words from Mike, what was even more surreal was being at a ‘mass start’ at midnight with seven other slightly apprehensive runners. We were off and to my surprise I was in a lead group with HBT and FifeAC. It was largely uneventful until, a niggling ankle and hamstring injury started to hurt as we descended towards the path at Culross and HBT and Fife AC decided to start running faster than I could. I lost sight of them between mile 4 and 5 and there was still no sign of anyone behind me, so I settled into a my world. 7 and bit miles came in around 51mins which was quite pleasing and I was now heading up towards the main road and Crombie. Had a few jelly babies and was looking forward to my self-stashed drinks near the Limekilns turnoff. These were a welcome relief and I carried onto my favourite section through Charleston and Limekilns. The climb back to the main road was foggy which meant a choice of see black with no headtorch or see white with headtorch. The dilemma was lessened by the pace I was now shuffling at, as I wasn’t likely to injure myself or anything should we collide. Back onto the main road for a mile and then its less than 30mins running from the Rosyth turning. My leg is really sore but to balance things out so is everything else, so I just pressed. The last sting of leg 1 is a final hill into N. Queensferry with a distinctive odour from the ‘waterworks’. Luckily the last 1/2mile is downhill. There was an enthusiastic crowd waiting and I passed onto Phil.
Compared to Gregor’s 2013 leg1, the only wildlife I saw was some drunk locals, a hedgehog and a steamed up Volvo. Thanks to Mike and his team of marshals. I think all legs will have various tales to tell. I had great fun and would do it again, especially a night leg.
Having been on the inaugural FCP relay team from 2 years ago I was more than happy to either help marshal or run a leg for a team. All the fasties in Carnethy must have been busy the weekend of the race and the Carnethy HRC Select team was a couple of people short, so the barrel was scraped and I ended up joining the team. Since I had done Dysart to St Monans (leg 3) last time around I fancied something new so chose to do the North Queensferry to Dysart (leg 2). With the race starting at midnight meant I found myself hanging around under a railway bridge at 1.45am on a fine Saturday morning eagerly awaiting the arrival of Duncan Davis. After seeing HBT and Fife AC come through well ahead of anyone else Duncan arrived in 3rd place ahead of Corstophine AC. I knew Tim Norwood from Corstophine AC who was lined up for my leg and I also knew his marathon PB is at least 5 mins quicker than mine, so I was hoping that Duncan might give me a bit of a lead on him – and he did (I (by about 5 mins I found out later). So after the hand-over I set off into the darkness determined to hold onto 3rd place knowing Tim would try and chase me down. Running conditions were ideal and I soon got used to running by head-torch again. As I ran past lots of big houses on route to Abedour I kept tripping their security lights. The route is easy running on a mix of trail and tarmac, but quite undulating with lots of twists and turns. I was glad I recc’d the route the Saturday before, because although there are lots of FCP route markers they are small and not easy to see in the dark even with a head-torch. I got past Aberdour (about half way) with no sign of company, then while running fast down a slight incline I took my eyes off the trail to look at the sea and my foot clipped a small rock and I ended up face down in a heap. Cursing my folly I quickly I got up and retrieved my head-torch (it flew off in the impact), and checked for body damage. Apart form a sore hip and a sharp pain in my ribs I was pretty much unscathed so off I ran hoping to catch up any lost time. Ribs remained very sore (and still are 5 days later), but my breathing was fine so I can’t really claim it affected my performance. At Burntisland I was welcomed by Bob Johnson, Jim Hardie and Mike Lynch and directed along the high-water route that goes inland alongside the railway line. Still no sign of Tim as I got to Kinghorn from where a week earlier I had watched the Cockenzie power station towers being demolished over the Forth a week earlier. Still very dark and very dark quite apart from the odd bird whistle or screech I made my way along the cliff-top trail to Kirkcaldy. After picking up the pace along the esplanade I headed up the hill to Ravenscraig Park, but then realised at the top of the hill I had taken the wrong road, so I dashed down a side street, through a car park, past some flats and reached the entrance to the park. Probably only lost a couple of minutes, but still I was cursing my luck as Tim might have gone past while I was on a detour. There are potentially many route variations to take through the park and Dysart to Colliery Memorial (relay handover point from leg 2 to 3). I took the route I went on the recce – closest the sea, via the tunnel and the harbour (it was a coastal race after all). On arriving at the end of my leg I was glad to handover to Alan Renville and then see Tim arrive less than a minute behind me, so I was still in 3rd place…
My start wasn’t until daylight, but it was still an early start and we tried not to make too much noise in the quiet of St Monans. The coastal path was really very straight forward, just keep the sea on the right, the golf courses and static caravans on the left. I’d never been along that bit of coast before and it was quite delightful, with plenty of wildlife including seals. I managed to run right through the Dunhill(running) Cup, which was amusing, I don’t think they wanted us to be there. At that point we were still in third place, but our team name didn’t appear on the huge leaderboards dotted around Kingsbarn. I was met by my family at Kingsbarn with supplies, which was much appreciated. Tide was out at Rock and Spindle, so no problems there, other than the fact I’d been overtaken twice by then, and I was fed up with running on sand, shingle and slippery stones. But St Andrews soon came into view and it was easy running into town and my handover to Lisa.
Leg 6 from Wormit Bay to the finish in Newburgh starts off pleasantly with an undulating trod along the banks of the Firth of Tay taking in some lovely woodland trails as well as a short shingly beach section. After that, the ‘coastal path’ designers clearly got confused since it heads up and over the shoulder of Norman’s Law before a long diagonal descent to Newburgh where it once again goes ‘coastal’. I’d run it once before and there was only one variation so I wasn’t worried about getting lost which seemed to have dominated proceedings in the early stages of the race. However, having marshalled at the start of leg 4 at St Monans from 6am, I was feeling very drowsy as I waited in the sun at Wormit Bay. Lisa had assured me that she’d go slower than her previous run from St Andrews but she arrived ‘early’ after a very strong run and I was still at least half asleep as she handed over to me. The start of the run was therefore fairly brutal until my body realised that it wasn’t going to be allowed to go back to sleep but after a couple of miles I got going and I enoyed the rest of the coastal path until I had to head inland towards Norman’s Law. Given his head start, I knew I’d never see the runner ahead but the fear of being caught from behind kept me going as hard as I could and I soon found myself heading back down towards the finish. After a brief detour to avoid a herd of heffers (a red vest isn’t always ideal) I made it to the outskirts of Newburgh and a glance back assured me no-one was on my tail so I could enjoy the last half mile since by that stage my legs were like stumps. A final rise towards the finish line almost had me walking but the knowledge that Mike would be taking pictures just about kept me on my toes and I made it across the line to cement the team’s mid-table mediocrity. Turns out the next team was a quarter of an hour behind, if only I’d known and I’d have gone even slower!