Tremendously windy today, but the initial rain and clag cleared away by the early start of leg 3. Leg 2 runners faced not only an uphill battle but an upwind one too. This was all in favour of leg 3 and 4 runners.
Alex McVey avoided figuring out lifts by running the first 3 legs to get to the start of leg 4. There is a shorter way, but it’s nowhere near as heroic.
A record number of teams out and the hall was jam packed. Carnethy alone fielded 12 teams (that’s 72 runners!). The soup flowed freely and prizes came Carnethys’ way. 1st Ladies Senior, 3rd Senior Open, 1st FV40 Ladies, 1st V50 Open (also 2nd in V40 Open); if I have my categories correct.
This is the 7th year running that we’ve won the V50 category!
Captains’ roundup –
Leg 1 was mainly on road and in the rain, with some queueing at checkpoints, but people seemed to enjoy it regardless! Leg 2 was the beast of the day, into the wind, a lot of climbing and the top of West Lomond sitting in the clag. Some navigational errors were made here, including by some of our more experienced runners (if nothing else this made me feel slightly less embarrassed about all the times I’ve got lost in a race!) Many leg 2 runners were spotted at the handover looking slightly shell-shocked; you certainly all earned your soup! Leg 3 mostly had a tailwind and a superfast descent into the final checkpoint. Leg 4 enjoyed the same tailwind to power them up East Lomond, and then a frantic dash down to the finish, glory, and most importantly soup. Lisa, who was super awesome and helped serve soup to us hungry runners, found out that they make enough soup for 1500 people. From scratch. I can’t get my head round how many onions must have been peeled.
We came away with some excellent team results and prizes. Senior ladies, v40 ladies and v50 men were all 1st and the senior men were 3rd overall.
Rachel & John
Results on Fife AC website. PDF of Carnethy results from 2015-18 here. Carnethy results anticlockwise 2013-18 and clockwise to 2012 (look for the tabs at the bottom of the page) here. Sortable detailed results 2018 here (n.b. leg3 split times were rounded to the minute and they’ve calculated the leg 3 and leg 4 times from them, so they are not correct; however final cumulative time is correct).
Send us your reports!
V60 – I was originally penciled in for leg 4, but swapped with Cali. This was probably a wise move given my limited descending skills and my running more suited to roads. I’d done this leg quite a few times before, but only when it was the reverse route as leg 4. However owing to forestry work, the route was substantially different.
I set off pretty fast, but my recent bad cold and lack of training quickly showed up as laboured breathing and heavy legs and I had to ease back. I was able to get my breath back at the two controls, where the queues were quite spectacular; a couple of minutes or more lost maybe.
The first part of the trail and the modified section were mostly in sheltered forest; a joy to run on. This ended about half way when I hit a very long exposed tarmac section into a very stiff headwind ( a light zephyr compared to leg 2). Thankfully this ended with a turn onto the cycle path down to the muddy down-hill finish. Lauren passed me here and I made a spirited attempt to hang on, but to no avail.
I ran as fast as I was able but my time was painfully slow. I jogged back to Falkland, allowing me to see and cheer on the second wave of runners – I almost didn’t recognise Adam in the “Away” vest.
I made it back for my soup before all the hungry hordes returned.
A good thing about the relays is the camaraderie and the ample opportunity to chat to the others, which you don’t often get at the ordinary races.
Women’s V50 Team – We had a grand day out, and were delighted to be 2nd FV50 team, and 121st overall, with 30 teams behind us!
First leg-Hilary: I was in rain all the way. Apart from some queues to punch at checkpoints, the leg went smoothly though the headwind was a force to be reckoned with even low down. It was great to run first and have the rest of the day to spectate and chat as the sun came out. Many thanks to Keith who made logistics easy by supporting our team as well as the v60s. I might be tempted to do a late leg in future if the mince pies become a regular feature!
Men’s B team – Carnethy B is for Beer certainly lived up to their name with all the team enjoying some beers the night before, some so much so that I received a message this morning asking for a lift as they were still slightly drunk. Ah well, we’re the B team, nobody was expecting too much from us. So I was on Leg 1, and lost sight of Eóin within a few hundred meters, and Jasmin around checkpoint 1A. I certainly gave Jim and Mark a suitable handicap for Leg 2 with plenty of teams to chase and pass, which I think they did. Euan and Will then took over for Leg 3 and continued the good navigation and pace before Auren finished with a quick blast over East Lomond, so quick in fact that his number blew off! Or maybe it was breezy up there, but let’s stick with the former. Anyway, we all made it back to the hall and enjoyed (some less than others) a light and refreshing beer called Shofferhoffer that I’d selected for our team.
Leg 1/2 handover
Women’s V50 Team – Second leg- Moira and Kathy: We worked hard to get up the hill, only to find crossing the tops even tougher, as the unrelenting strong wind pushed us hard in the wrong direction. There was no chance of any chatting, and only a glimpse every now and again of a view. The small descents out of the wind brought some relief and a chance to accelerate. The new route to the finish was not quite as hard on the knees, but the last few small climbs in the rolling finish hurt my tired legs. There was plenty of support from Carnethy runners and drivers. Thanks to all for making a great day out.
Men’s B Team – Standing on the start of leg 2, faced with a longish run paired with somebody else, it’s hard not to feel some level of nervousness. My hands were shaking slightly, partly due to nerves and also a horrendous hangover. My burps could strip paint, and I was unable to drive, but the headache hadn’t started yet so I was in fairly good shape. I’ve done leg 2 before, a couple of times, but each time with somebody else that I could easily offload all responsibility and tag along. This time was different though, as I was paired with a complete unknown: Mark. He hadn’t run the leg, or even the race before, so I felt a small amount of pressure to bring some experience to the party. Additionally, he was younger and lighter, and certainly leaner. Overall he just looked faster. I hoped that this first impression was misguided, that he was secretly rubbish and I could trot round the route regaling him with tales from my previous outings, anecdotes, jokes, poems and my valuable insights on life itself. I was hopeful. Jeff, our first leg runner, pounded down the hill to hand over to us. The first push up the start field would be the test, so…was Mark any good?
He was! And, he is! I tried to set a good pace up the field to see how he handled it, and…no obvious discomfort. Hmmm. I was hyperventilating and starting to drool, yet he seemed unfazed. I dearly hoped that he was hurting on the inside, but instead he started trying to have a conversation about something. Oh dear, he’s fast, well maybe he’s a rubbish climber? We whizzed by other teams and blasted through checkpoint 2, and onto the hill. Well, he’s also good at climbing, it seems, and descending for that matter, and also navigating. All I could do was hand him the punch card and follow as best I could. He skipped up the gradual climb to the 3rd checkpoint, only to stop briefly due to my bad navigation “advice”, and finally to the hole punch. My nav cock-up was nothing compared to the two girls that missed the checkpoint only to descend and re-ascend the climb up the gully. Oh dear me.
Onto the misty summit of West Lomond for Checkpoint 4, and Mark done something I’ve never seen in hill race – he used a compass! Yes, a compass! And a map! I couldn’t believe my eyes! We left the summit of West Lomond IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION! Unbelievable! I was happy to rely on luck, swearing, or just wait for somebody else and follow them, y’know, like everyone does. We descended down and realized a fence blocked our path, and Mark said that the race notes said we should use the stile and not climb the fence, the stile wasn’t marked on the map (a bit of bad luck, despite aiming the right way), so trotted along a little bit until we got there. Wait, what? HE READ THE BLOODY RACE NOTES!?! He’s clearly not an experienced hillrunner like myself, no way. I’d probably still be out there right now, just like any other self-respecting Carnethy. We would have lost places and time, sure, and maybe had to withdraw or seek help, but at least we’d still have our dignity. Jeez!
We slipped and slid our way along to checkpoint 5, then up the long climb to Bishop Hill’s checkpoint 6. On hitting the summit I knew that Checkpoint 7 was just yards away, as I had made that mistake last year and was keen to avoid doing that again. As I punched the card, Mark spotted the next checkpoint, we hit that then continued. Nice! Ahead there were loads of runners coming at an odd angle – it seems they made the same mistake I made last year! I’ve never gone the right way in a hill race, it felt weird, I even started to doubt Mark. Now, looking at Strava online, I see quite a few went that way. That should’ve been me!
The run-in is a tricky one, with wee lumps and trods that can be followed. The mist cleared and the paths seemed easier to follow. We caught Angela and Helen and shadowed them through the bumps, then down some slippy paths to the finish, handing over to Will and Euan.
Mark was obviously an excellent partner, and would be better suited to a faster pairing. Despite a couple of small hiccups we ran a good route and hit all of the checkpoints, which is the main thing! A nice wee bonus is the nobody overtook us, I think, and we spent the run passing people – 21 teams by my rough calculation! Cheers, Mark!
Leg 2/3 handover
Jasmin ran a speedy first leg and is clearly on her way back to fitness after having Rowan. Nicola and I arrived at the start of leg 3 and were told Jasmin had been the third lady in. We promptly panicked that we would start our leg as the leading ladies team after domination by Angela and Helen. That was probably what happened but the changeover was so chaotic with runners from both starts piling in at once, so we stopped worrying. Angela and Helen were impressively quick and came in with two other Carnethy teams: the v50 men and Team B for Beer. The first climb was too steep and too soon to enjoy the company and by the top the v50s had disappeared into the distance ahead. We tussled with the other men on the hill, (one of was my husband and I was keen not to let him beat us!) Alas, we struggled in the wind at the top and they pulled ahead on the technical section. We slid through the mud, climbed again and I wished I hadn’t done my long run the previous day! Finally reaching the motorway down from West Lomond we stopped worrying about getting lost and relaxed into the fast descent. Here we made loads of time back on Will and Euan and could see them tantalisingly close as we neared the forest. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we finished a minute behind them. We handed over to Elizabeth who sped off back up the hill and brought us home as first senior ladies team. Great fun!
Leg 3 for Dummies – (open V40+)
1. Enjoy the coffee morning and scones at the Leg 2 Strathmiglo drop off
2. Park where asked to in Kinneswood to avoid the wrath of the angry local taking piccies of you (Neil Burnett’s) car
3. Use the plastic portable toilet to avoid the wrath of the angry local taking piccies of yer bits
4. Run uphill for as long as legs, lungs and heart allow. Don’t be put off by Westies pair walking past you faster than you can run
5. Follow Westies to cut corner and then get blown over the top to make up a few places
6. Remind partner (Mike) to punch card while you run off ahead
7. Laugh at partner who overtakes you and goes knee deep in bog
8. Note to self: Cut across heather to next climb instead of taking the path next time
9. Bust it down the track from West Lomond to Maspie until your legs hurt and swear at partner (Mike) when he cuts you up
10. Flail arms down Maspie descent trying to keep left but scaring the hell out of folk coming up the way on most corners
11. Handover smoothly, smile like it was all no problem, wash in burn, then head for the best soups ever.
12. Don’t expect a prize.
regards, Mark Hartree
V60 open – Surprised to find the start area somewhere else! Nicer place but a funnel through would have been a good idea. Gordon and I were blown up, down, along and sideways. Leg 2 runners were blown backwards. So we did well, getting bowled along in the gale. I should explain that Nigel and Jonny struck a pose, but I’d taken the photo before it was fully formed.
Women’s V50 Team – Third Leg – Maggie and Nicki: Kathy and Moira handed over to Maggie and me, looking quite exhilarated and wind-swept! After thirty seconds of running, Maggie and I headed up the steep, brutal climb to the crags. When, at last, we got to the top and turned onto the flat, the wind from the West hit us full on and took our breath away, as well as knocking us over a few times. After our concerns about route-finding, it was all pretty straight forward with many teams around us. We enjoyed the undulating, boggy terrain towards the Burdens and soon, the faster 10.30am start teams were overtaking us and shouting encouragement. Digby and Gordon flew by but we took a short cut, following a Fife chap with local knowledge, and caught up with them just before the next climb round West Lothian. They soon left us behind. We enjoyed the lovely descent from West Lomond to the finish with lots of encouragement from Carnethies and others as they ran past in both directions. All in all a great day out! Great soup too. Thanks to all the organisers.
Leg 3/4 handover
Open 40+ Old Bs – Having been called an old B many a time it was nice to have the status formally recognised with the anchor leg for the MV40 B team (pretty sure I’ve heard people referring to me as an anchor too). After a few tweaks to the original running order the goldilocks MV40B line up was Billy Elliott up first, Neil Burnett and Alan Renville on 2, Captain Mike Lynch and Mark Hartree on 3 and me bringing up the rear. The luxury of leg 4 is that you get a long lie and with the help of the published times from previous years to gauge likely start I had a nice leisurely wander around Falkland and a chance to check out the end of the leg as a warm up. Jogged along to the final checkpoint to find Kate Crowe, tucked in the woods with her lunch (and canine company) to keep her warm. Was just wandering back to head to my start when Tommy Begley raced down tot the checkpoint. Must have been later than I thought so I sprinted on to the changeover. Turned out only the lead team (Westies) had been through and he must have been in the early wave. Still, Carnethy teams soon started arriving as we stood around blethering in the way that you only can do waiting for a relay changeover. First, Senior A’s came through well up with Andy and Liam, then amidst a flurry of the early starters the Carnethy teams started to filter in. Soon the Carnethy vets pairing of Mike and Mark appeared – well up in the top ten too which was great. Not quite so great for me was that it was the MV40 A team of Mike Reid and Mark Johnston. Ho hum, time for more chat and an opportunity to rip the back of my leg open on some loose branches to get the adrenaline flowing.
Just after half past one our boys arrived and I set off. With so many early starters around it was difficult to work out whether I was gaining places or not as I passed other runners, so the only thing to do was to make the most of the tailwind along the ridge. And what a tailwind it was, almost blowing me all the way up East Lomond. A quick punch at the top and straight down to the corner of the woods. One minor trip and an full 360 tumble in the moss later I was back to the stile (hello again Kate). Then hell for leather along the not-too-grippy path to the finish. Despite my secret short cut to avoid the steps I just failed to catch the Stonehaven runner so we finished 29th place in the end.
Good effort by the guys, and still in the top 10 vets teams (& 2 of them other Carnethys!). Not bad for a bunch of old Bs. The next half hour was spent supping super soup to the tales of destructive wind gusts and a forensic leg-by-leg breakdown.
If you’ve read this far you may have noticed that this race report spends a lot of time faffing around before getting to a short section on the actual run. Just like the event itself, which is part of what we love about the Devils Burdens, and why I’ve done it almost as often as Mark Johnston…
Women’s V50 Team – Fourth leg – Mairi: I was in the right place at the right time for the changeover with Nicki and Maggie in Maspie Den. The sun had come out when I set off although it was still a bit windy at the top of East Lomond. A chat with Cali had confirmed that it’s quicker to keep to the right of the trees when coming off East Lomond so that’s what I did, and managed to catch up with the runner in front of me by the time we reached the stile and final checkpoint.