On Saturday I ferried a small contingent of Carnethy runners to the (catchily-named) EDF Energy Doon Hill 10 Mile Race. We were all playing truant from the Skyline race the next day, much to our great shame. I hadn’t entered the Skyline in time and the Skyline is…well…hard, and I’m…well…a loser, so my penance was doing a roady race elsewhere. Eoin Lennon, Elizabeth Leason and my good self all squeezed into my Ford Fiesta for the journey along the beautiful East Lothian coastline to Dunbar. Helen Bonsor, Andy Fallas and Michael Wilkinson also made the journey, bringing the total Carnethy truant headcount to 6. Well, not exactly, as Elizabeth didn’t have a Carnethy vest and entered under Glossopdale, a fact she neglected to tell me until after I’d given her a lift there. No matter, it would give her something to think about on her long walk home.
Eoin set-off strongly, kicking a few metres of fresh air between him and a small group of fast lads leading round the first bends. The gap between him and…well…everyone else just got wider and wider and within a couple of miles he was running solo. Behind him Andy Fallas was trying not to run fast, as he’s recovering from injury, but even his “easy-does-it” pace is frighteningly fast compared to the likes of me. They disappeared quickly.
The route follows some quiet roads out of town and under the A1, from there you cut round field boundaries, over undulating farmland, through gates, trees, narrow lanes, farms and past charming little cottages. It’s all very pretty. I wore road running trainers, which were definitely the right choice as the ground was quite firm throughout, but on a wet day I’d definitely consider trail shoes. Also, it’s hilly! I was hoping for something flat-ish, but it felt like round every corner I was faced with a hill. Oh, and a headwind! For a circular route that starts and finishes at the same point, it did seem that it was uphill and into a headwind for nearly all of it. At the time I thought the route was more undulating than a single hill (“Doon Hill”), but looking at the elevation profile afterwards it does look like a straight up-n-down. It was ace though! The mix of terrain made the event fun, and made a lot of the miles fly by. Oddly, the trickiest terrain was some slippy concrete going under the A1, but we were all warned in advance and so it wasn’t a problem. The final section back under the (non-slippy) underpass of the A1 was a bit of a slog on tired legs, but that’s to be expected if you only usually ever run 6miles at a time. Ah well!
Helen ran strongly, comfortably holding second place throughout the race, finishing just behind Megan Wright. Elizabeth was about to complete a Carnethy 2-3, sort of, but was outsprinted on the final 100yards to finish 4th. Andy also finished 4th, myself 10th, and Michael 54th. Star of the show, Eoin, held first place from the starting gun to the finish, finishing around 3mins ahead of his nearest rival and within 30s of the course record (I think, I can’t find the record). If it was less windy, or his beard was more aerodynamic, I reckon he’d hold the record right now.
A massive thanks to Dunbar RC for hosting the event. A nice wee medal, a buff, a bottle of water, a great selection of sandwiches and some coffee at the end – fantastic! The course was well marked, the route was excellent, and it’s a mere 45mins drive from Edinburgh. Sometimes it’s good to get some fast miles in, and this race is perfect for that. I’ll certainly be back (as long as there isn’t another clash with the Skyline), and I’d encourage anyone else to be there too!