Seven Carnethies headed for Tillicoultry for the inaugural Kirk Craigs Christmas Cracker Hill Race to burn off the turkey and mince pies on the day after boxing day. The Law Breaker Hill Race was originally run on this date, but after the wintry conditions of 2010 and 2011, which made for a lower level bad weather alternative route, the race was moved to mid summer, and now forms part of the Bog and Burn midweek series. This left a gap in the racing calender for those who need a racing fix over the festive season.
After a month of heavy rain, the day was settled and bright with a touch of warmth in the low sun. The underfoot conditions were however very wet and the going very heavy.
A field of 88 assembled on the slopes of Kirk Craig for a short race briefing. John Hammond took the lead from the off, avoiding the muddy spray that splattered all those behind. A fastish flattish flooded half mile through fields led to the gate up Kirk Glen, and the path steepened to slow the speed of the runners. By the summit of Kirk Craig the field was well spaced out, and the pace quickened through a rough trod across the summit to reach the Mill Glen path (last part of the Maddy Moss Hill Race route). A slippery, rocky descent to reach “the big stone”, where Al Anthony (Ochils) had taken the lead and it was about turn to retrace the route back to the start.
Al Anthony extended his lead to finish first in 38.36 (new course record!). First lady was Catriona Buchanan (Ochils) in 45.12. First Carnethy home in 5th place was Iain Gilmore in 41:09, followed by John Hammond (41:16), Andrew Gilmore (41.36) and Graham Nash (43.35) to claim 4 out the first 8 places, but no cigar. Harry Gilmore was 21st (49:51), Lindsay Doig 58th (60:32) and Paul Nash 61st (61:47).
An ideal race for the time of the year, which should be runable in most conditions, if the winters of 2010 and 2011 ever return. Plenty of marshals along the route and plenty of mince pies at the prize giving.