One mile into the race today with nothing but mist to look at I suddenly realized that because Digby was down in Selkirk I could actually write a report this week! So bear with me as I have a wee blether.
My parents are visiting from Canada so the family were spending the weekend at a cosy farmhouse outside of Cupar. The initial plans were for me to drop them in St. Andrews, run the race and then come back to get them. The day started out looking grim and the family were quite happy to hunker down under duvets with books and mugs of tea.
I ignored the fact that the race is entry on the day and I could have easily skipped it with no loss. As the clag came down further and even the edges of the fields were no longer visible I decided to get on with it. There were three other Carnethies at the race: Euan MacKinnon, Liam and Helen (apologies for not knowing your surnames).
In general it was a smaller field than usual (60 instead of the usual 100 odd). “60 or maybe 61 I can’t remember” the Race director muttered as he counted us through before the start. I’ll assume he got the count right as we only had to do it once. Some thought the turnout was low due to the impending Ochill 2000s SHR Champs race next week but I think it may have been the weather.
After a short race briefing that involved the mention of first aid being available at the bottom of a very slippery decent (bum slide from hell) off of West Lomond we were off. The route had a longish start on tarmac (never fun) but quickly got onto some forest tracks followed by some other stuff and then it was mainly quad/land rover track for most of the way. We even had a water station with Jelly Babies!
Up and down East Lomond and there were no views to be had. Back for more Jelly Babies! The field had spread out a bit and for me in the mid to back pack the only thing I could see was the faint outline of the person in front of me. We stopped and had a chat at the bottom of West Lomond about the which track we were meant to take. Consulting maps (Him: “That’s the old map its wrong!” Me: “I downloaded it from Scottish Hill Racing!”) Of course we were taking it on faith that the summit was up there somewhere.
As I reached the top the marshall popped out from his shelter behind the trig point and yelled something about the marked trail down. To be honest the wind was so loud I didn’t hear him. Luckily I picked the right direction. However, soon enough I wish I hadn’t. The aforementioned bum slide was quite frankly the most terrifying few minutes of my life so far. I definitely underestimated exactly how slippery the descent down this (thankfully mostly) grassy slope would be. I almost immediately was sliding down completely unable to slow down or stop. In a panic of trying to dig my shoes into anything available I managed flip over onto my stomach which just meant that now I couldn’t see where I was going. I managed to stop myself briefly but then promptly resumed my uncontrolled decent. I finally stopped myself quite close to guy who had done the same as me a few minutes earlier. He was a bit less lucky as he had managed to go up and over a rather rocky part of the descent.
After making sure that he was alright (just winded and maybe a slightly banged up hand) and able to shuffle down the rest of the slope I carried on. As I climbed back up the side of the hill I saw and heard more carnage on the grassy slope. I stuck around to see if the marshalls needed any assistance as it looked like a few runners would need help getting off the hill. As there were enough hands on deck without me I carried on. The rest of the race was rather uneventful. Coffee, cakes and some crisps at the Strathmiglo Village Hall. A nice low key race. If it weren’t for the bum slide of doom I would say I highly recommend it and will be back to run it again. As it stands I’m not sure.