What an awesome weekend of running and adventure. The Equinox Run was fantastic apparently but hats-off to Shane Ohly and his team for 4 amazing races, ranging in scale and commitment with ~1500 competitors racing 1000m – 4750m up-the-way and up to 120km along-the-way.
Carnethys featured in some or all of them. These included
- Mamores verticle km – ‘Allermuir Uphill on steroids – nip-up Na Gruagaichean’ (me)
- Ring of Steall – ‘on a par with Jura’ (Michelle Hetherington)
- The Ben Nevis Ultra – ‘the toughest race I have ever done. 120km + of torture’ (John Hammond)
- Glencoe Skyline – ‘the ‘hardest Skyrunning in Europe’ (someone who did them all)
Kinlochleven race village was buzzing for my race registration with full kit check and lots of chatter about the amazing field that had come to Scotland. Lots of very muddy folk were staggering in from the Ring of Steall race and I bumped in to Rachael Newstead who came in 14th female. Michelle Hetherington came first V50 female. Jasmin Paris was busy giving out prizes to the race winners. As I left to get some sleep, Donnie Campbell strutted down the finish line high-fiving everyone after completing the 120km from Fort Augustus via Carn Mor Dearg and the Ben in under 13hrs. John Hammond finished in a fantastic time of 16:40 which makes me feel these guys deserve some major respect. Mud and guts the order of the day for everyone so far.
Sunday’s Glencoe Skyline takes an awesome route across all the hills of Glencoe. 55km and 4700m+ of ascent, I did it the first year and was crooked last year and generally still recovering from niggles and pains. I had waited all year since registering hoping I’d be fit for it. Graham Nash is correct: ‘the Alternative C5 is the best training week you can do’ (minor plug for next year) – and since this constituted a key part of my final ‘preparations’ it confirmed I could run…slowly, and not too well downhill. That was good enough for me to start since the rest is all in the head.
Photos at the start with Carnethy A, B+ and C team runners (Konrad Rawlik, Andrew Wilson and I) had me in the start pen at the back and nearly rubbing shoulder with his greatness Kilian Jornet and other whippets from World Skyrunning including his girlfriend Emilie Forsberg. My plan: start slow, every descent navigated uninjured is a bonus (serious issue), go steady (never hard for me), eat well (food is fuel), strong finish.
I did all this and with poles to take some strain tottered along at the back of the field. Quite soon there was on 5-6 folk visible behind me and plenty in front. It was great to see Carnethys out on the hills rooting for me and everyone else – just a shame they got so cold waiting for me to arrive (they came for me right, not Kilian and Emilie!). I did a bit of singing to amuse myself and maybe others around me in earshot. I overtook a few folk who were suffering especially on the ascents, feeling great on the climbs and cautious on the descents, and the hills rolled by and the views came and went in the mist.
In summary, I timed out at 9hrs after 35km and 3200m ascent, to a fantastic reception of a cow bell from Rachael Newstead and most of the event marshals, but had to retire before my favourite 900m climb up onto the Aonach Eagach fuelled on new potatoes in salt and butter. I had reckoned on 13.5hrs this year and was on target for this, but omitted to realise I had missed the cut-off time at the road crossing by Loch Achtriochtan. Bad planning, but then I could not go any faster. I must try harder, but I was happy, since I was still running despite an imposed DNF.
I got the bus back to race HQ and saw Konrad finish looking a tad weary and not too happy with his time. I thought he did brilliantly to come in 3 hrs after Kilian Jornet. I hadn’t got up Stob Coire nan Lochain when Kilian finished, who was running over twice my pace.
Results for the Skyline are here to boggle your brain, limbs and lungs.
|1st Male||Kilian Jornet:||06:25||(bloomin’ ridiculous)|
|1st female||Emilie Forsberg||07:53||(also bloomin’ ridiculous, Jasmin….next year….!!)|
|1st Carnethy||Konrad Rawlik||09:28||(bloomin’ good in my book)|
|2nd Carnethy||Andrew Wilson||11:12||(brilliant effort, well done)|
|3rd Carnethy||Mark Hartree||CP11||09:02 (must try harder)|
Scan the web for other race results and other stories of the event and have a go next year. There is something for everyone. Sorry for other Carnethys who raced but I missed out.