Edinburgh Rat Race
17th -18th July

The Rat Race is an excellent 2 day "urban adventure race" in and around Edinburgh. There have been several Carnethy participants over the years, but Sally and I have been ever-present since the first one in 2004. This year Bruce Hall once again made up the third member of team Baby Boomers. The format seems to have got easier recently, but this year was definitely back to tougher standards. Saturday evening is 2.5 hours score orienteering (on the Edinburgh A-Z map!) with challenges involved at many CPs to gain extra points. Local knowledge certainly helps, plus the willingness to cover a lot of miles. We clocked over 13 miles and, among others CPs, had workouts at three gyms (Omni Centre, TEBA in Granton and Fountainpark), rode BMX at Ocean Terminal, had a head shaved
(Bruce) in Leith and sang karaoke in a nightclub. We finished overnight in 15th place of the 151 teams, and 8th in the main mixed-team category.

Following a few post-race beers from the sponsor Stewart's Brewery and a fitful night, Sunday's route books were distributed at 7.30 for a start at 9. Sunday is a fixed route, mostly on bikes, with optional short cuts bearing time penalties, and was HILLY. Starting with a quiz sheet about Princes Street Gardens to split up the pack we were quickly out to Napier's Craighouse campus and a series of running orienteering CPs around Craiglockhart Hill. Bill Gauld had been at the start and I'd given him a run down of the route, and he popped up at intervals giving support. He was there at Napier, and in fact it was he who had made the orienteering map! We then headed to Hillend for a brief slide on the slopes before the tough climb over the hills between Allermuir and Capelaw then around Castlelaw for a big descent via the fort to Auchendinny. Further CPs including at Bilston Viaduct (and climbing on the girders below), Stewart's Brewery, Dalkeith House (and abseiling), Tranent (micro-orienteering), Prestonpans pyramid, and Inveresk, led finally to kayaking on Portobello beach. One or two navigation issues, plus a puncture, had slowed us but we made the kayaking just minutes inside the 8 hour limit. Then a final climb back through the Innocent Railway took us to the city centre and the finish.

A measure of the toughness of the event is that only 12 teams, and only
5 mixed teams, completed all controls. We just missed it and were timed out of the final CP in Holyrood Park for a 40 minute penalty.
Nevertheless we were pleased with the result, 20th overall across the weekend of 98 finishers and 10th mixed team (of 52). Sunday was 50+ miles on the bikes plus a good few more on foot, boat and innertube. A highly recommended weekend at home!

Results and pictures

Ian Jackson

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