39th 'Tiso' Carnethy 5
Photo Report (incorporating organiser's report)
14th February 2009

Having the coldest winter in 20 years, it was not surprising the Pentland Hills were covered in snow. Fortunately the roads were clear (of traffic too, owing to A702 closure!) allowing a record number, 503, to run the 39th 'Tiso' Carnethy 5. They had a great experience racing through soft snow and sliding down the hills as the thaw took hold! Next day - the white stuff would be all but gone. The BBC were filming the race for The Adventure Show and had their crew (all outdoor enthusiasts) scattered over the course, filming and interviewing competitors on the run. The view from the top of West Kip was dramatic as drifting cloud gave glimpses of black dots moving fast over a speckled grey and white terrain. Atmospheric enough for an artist to paint the scene (minus runners) the day before.

Photos - Alan Young, Anne Nimmo, Moira Stewart, John Coyle, Richard Bush and the Portobello AC website

503 runners head towards the bog

Nobody has dry feet now!

Richard's temporary stile at Charlie's Loup stood up well to the onslaught

Colin Pritchard (sweeper/runner) gets to use the gate

A snake of runners going up Scald Law
(with an unofficial branch off to the side!)

The front three near the top of the first climb

Rob Jebb (Bingley) and Prasad Prasad (Clydesdale) had cleared a gap by West Kip

Andy Symonds (Carnegie) was on his own in 3rd place

Geraint Florida-James was first Carnethy home in 11th

Brian Marshall (HELP) was 4th

Ales Drahokoupil of Edinburgh University was 9th

Jason Hubert (Carnethy), Neil Gilmore (297) and Hugh Symonds (560, Kendal) reach the top of Scald Law

Geoff Davis (Northumberland), Bob Allison (Fife) and Derek Jablonski (Lomonds) climb West Kip

Joan Wilson gasps for oxygen at the top of West Kip

Ian Mougall leads Gordon Eadie (Musselbugh) over West Kip

....a 10 for style

The Adventure Show cameraman getting some artistic angles

Matthew Grove (Carnethy) leads a group containing Barry Davie (Pitreavie, 245) over West Kip

Organiser's Report:
It felt great to be stood amongst the throng of 503 starters (a record start field) with the snow, the Pipers and singing all adding to the atmosphere. The second the starter’s gun fired I’d forgotten all about the months of organising and I was able to enjoy the race just like any other competitor.
We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the army of over a hundred volunteers that helped on the day and ensured the race went off without any hitches. Running times were a bit slower due to the snowy/slushy conditions, but this was partially offset by the 200mph bum sliding descents which were a joy. Until you had to try and stop that is.
The race this year was memorable for a number of reasons, some before, some during and then a bonus extra at the very end of the day!
Memorable events in the run up to the race included:

  • The OMM media debacle in October. As a race organiser this was a real ‘Oh my God’ moment, and effort went into reviewing and tightening up the safety aspects of the race
  • On-line entries stunned all of us by filling up in less than 24 hours; I suspect it will be even quicker next year
  • Scottish Water closing the A702 shortly before the race; on the plus side they were very keen to help when they realised the scale of the race!
  • The weather added a certain spice to the occasion, especially when it was -7C in the hills the week before, and a competitor leaves a message two days before the race asking about ‘the legal aspects of holding the race in such conditions’ (technically not a problem as we have race insurance, but still it’s not a question any organiser relishes). By race day itself it was a mute point as conditions were positively balmy at +4C with a full thaw in progress. 

Triple Echo Productions filmed the event for the BBC Scotland Adventure Show (likely to be broadcast in late March to mid April). I was slightly apprehensive of the race being turned into a ‘reality TV’ spectacle, but meeting the crew and seeing they are all committed outdoors people combined with the fact that they had a competitor running in the race suggests it will be reported fairly.
One of my favourite comments of the day was hearing someone asking Jimmy Jardine in all innocence “so, have you done this race before?”. For those not in the know Jimmy is a veritable race legend, being the only person to complete all 39 Carnethy Hill races!  
On behalf of the club all that remains is for me to thank the huge army of helpers that did an amazing job in preparing for and putting on the race. It would not have been possible without you. We are also very grateful for the support of our sponsors Tiso, Pete Bland and Run4It, and for the Territorial Army that provided communications across the course.   

I have collected a small mountain of lost property – please get in touch if you are missing anything.
Olly Stephenson

In a world of her own...

Adam Anderson (Carnethy)

Jason Hubert (Carnethy), Alayne Finlay (Ochil) and Paul Strachan (555)

Neal O'Boyle (476, Dark Peak), Gerard McAlister (436, Larne), Brendan O'Boyle (475, Larne) and Garry Allsopp (159, Settle)

Robert Nicol (Irvine) takes it carefully.....

....while Tracey Chalmers goes for a bumslide

Brian Bonnyman (Westies) and Bill Maxwell (433, Mourne)

A trio of Carnethies - Joanne Thin, Brian Howie and Alan Hogg with West Kip still being negotiated in the background

James Hardie heading towards the Howe

Nigel Rose (Carnethy) running towards the reservoir

The run down to the Howe and a frozen Loganlea reservoir

Tracey Chalmers (Anster Haddies) finishes happy (or is it happy to finish?)

By the end of prize giving I was feeling the warm glow of a good day out in the hills, and the successful culmination of several months work. All that remained for the day was to catch a lift to the airport and travel south to spend half term with my family in London.
These happy feelings began to evaporate as the taxi arrived late,  and shortly afterwards a sickening feeling washed over me as I realised my wallet containing all my cash, cards and ID was in someone else’s car. I’m not sure if you’ve tried flying without any of these items recently, but it’s probably not recommended in many travel guidebooks.
My tight schedule was wrung tighter still by the taxi driver opting for the slowest possible route to the airport and then in a truly comical moment taking a wrong turn altogether heading south instead of north on the ring road (a level of navigational incompetence that previously I thought only I possessed). All the while the minutes were ticking by, and mobile telephone exchanges were melting with the volume of calls being made to reach the driver of my wallet.
I reached the airport 25 minutes before departure with my buttocks clenched tighter than a walnut, and still with no wallet. Miraculously the check-in staff let me on with no ID and I sprinted through the concourse to reach the gate being held open specially for me as the very final passenger. I doubt even Rob Jebb could have covered the ground quicker. Now all that remained was to get from Heathrow across to the far side of London with no cash. Luckily the Underground staff were so perplexed by my story (“you were doing what today?!”) that they let me travel free.
Moral: it’s easier to organise the Carnethy 5 than travel without any cash or ID.

Carnethy 5 Quotes from Portobello AC website:

The school: '.... the smell of deep heat radiating...'

Overview: 'Once our equipment was checked, phnaar, phnaar ('no mrs I mean map, compass, whistle etc') we were bused from and returned to Beeslack school in Penicuik, where after the race we were fed a hot school dinner and loads of tea. Hill runners love their grub!'

The race: '.. the bog had turned into a wetlands. ... as you rush towards it you feel like one of a herd of wildebeest hoping you're lined up with a decent path through the watery channels and turfy tussocks...'

Down to the Howe: '... I found myself sitting and sledging past 2 runners still on their feet. I rather hope the tv camera filming there caught this splendid action and didn't just regard it as “old bloke loses his footing."'


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