Devil's Burdens 2014

Amazingly there were 10 Carnethy teams (the most ever) at the Devil's Burdens Relay - that's 60 runners from the club (and we didn't even need to double up one person!). Perhaps because of the large numbers, we won quite a few prizes... with two first places: the Mens' Over 40 team (and 7th place overall) and the Men's Over 50 team (helped by our President, no less!). The Senior Women's team came home in second place, very close behind the winner, HBT, while the Senior Men's team had a great 3rd place behind winners Shettleston and second placed Ochils. Strength in depth was shown by our Senior Men's B team being the third Carnethy team to finsh and coming in a high 11th place (out of 111 teams), and was first B team. The Women's Over 50 team were probably the first female Over 50 team as well (but not an official class).
Despite it being a cold, windy and rainy day, spirits were not dampened and everyone enjoyed the day and the very tasty soup provided by Fife AC afterwards!

All previous Carnethy results are here
Start Position Team name Cat Leg 1 time Leg 2 time Leg 3 time Leg 4 time Total time
Falkland to Strathmiglo
7.2km 217m (4.48m 710ft)
Strathmiglo to Kinnesswood
10.3k 563m (6.4m 1846ft)
Kinnesswood to reservoir
5.7km 237m (3.5m 780ft)
Reservoir to Falkland
6.83km 431m (4.24m 1413ft)
10:30 3 Men "A" Open Mike Reid 27:15 Andrew Fallas
Stewart Whitlie
1:03 Paul Faulkner 24:39 Iain Whiteside
Konrad Rawlik
32:03 2:24:00

Men "A" - Leg 4
'Err, it’s not this way, that’s someone’s house’; ‘Hmm, are you sure we should go up those steps?’
It was an inauspicious start to the day. 50 metres into our jog-to-the-start-recce of leg 4 and we were lost. I thought one way, Konrad thought the other. Konrad was right, as usual. We made it to the start, however, with an optimal route off East Lomond planned (down a trod, to the right of the forest, then straight to stile keeping right a bit), and plenty of time to start getting cold.
Things started to heat up as Shettleston arrived in first place, followed closely by the Ochils, and Paul blasted in a couple minutes later (running a great time despite having been off sick with a virus all week). Game on.
Konrad set off at a blistering pace, and led the way down and across the reservoir then up the firebreak, slowing only to navigate the slippery planks across a ditch without embarrassment. My poor navigation was demonstrated again when I missed the first gate, and nearly ran straight into a couple of horses gazing quizzically at the long line of runners passing through their field.
My fingers were still numb at this point, so I was pleased to note that I was still holding my dibbing sheet when we hit the first checkpoint at Ballo Reservoir. The first real climb of leg 4 from the reservoir to the road was made excruciatingly painful by my decision to run straight through strength-sapping shin-deep mud instead of taking the (sensible) stepping stones and stile.
A brief stretch on tarmac got us back in our stride before the second checkpoint at the über stile at Easter Glassie.
The route to the next checkpoint, through the lime kilns and up East Lomond passed in a blur; all I can remember was repeatedly counting to 16 to take my mind off the slog up to the summit (no idea why I decided on 16!). Ah-ha! The summit, downhill all the way! So where’s that trod we spotted? Hmm, can’t find it. Oh well, straight down it is! Even my new fell shoes were no match for that gradient, and I spent a fair proportion of it on my bum, but once over the fence it was quick running all the way to the finish, three cups of tea and soup.
All in all, another great day out in the hills. Many thanks to Fife AC for organising!
Iain Whiteside
10:30 7 (1st) MV40 Male Vet Graham Nash 26:58 Jon Ascroft
Adrian Davis
1:06:17 Craig Mattocks 24:45 Matt Davis
Olly Stevenson
37:22 2:35:22
MV40 - Leg 1
Leg 1 was a last minute change for me due to some team illness - I was originally down for Leg 2 with Jon Ascroft and had skived off work the Monday before to do a double recce - my punishment to be switched to the fast and hard (surfaced) first leg, which I hadn't skived off work to recce. My tactic was to run this flat out, with an anticipated less than a half hour of burn time. 
Right from the off there was a breakaway group of 3 that I never saw again until the handover. Then there was a group of 5 or 6, with me at the back. 
I tried to stay with a Dundee Hawker but he steadily pulled away from me on the hard track, until we took the right turn along the grassy path and his racing slicks become less than useless, while my x-talons bit the soft ground and I pressed ahead. 
Through the forest I could see Michael Reid ahead and slowly gained until we were level, he was not feeling 100%, so I managed to inch past. 
We soon reached the checkpoint with the normal fumbling about of paper and stapler widget, then the final descent through the forest and onto the mile of tarmac bashing until the muddy field.
On reaching the handover there was surprise and disappointment - surprise from Jon and Adrian that I was ahead of Michael, and disappointment from Stewart and Andy that I was ahead of Michael. He appeared a few seconds later.
After a quick drink in the hall, I bullied Mike Lynch into running the 8 or so miles over West Lomond and down to the stream crossing, before meandering Eastwards back to the finish/start.
Excellent day out. 
Graham Nash

MV40 - Leg 4
Coming into this I didn't really know how much my efforts on The Spine would have taken out of me. I'd had a couple of runs and felt OK, almost spaceman like not being burdened by the weight of a rucksack. But it's not until you have to race that you find out whether there's any zip in the legs. A gentle jog over helped to loosen the legs and fine tune our route choice. Standing around at the start we were caught slightly unawares when Craig came flying down the road. So that was it, bang, we were off, some "kids" flew by us more o'less at the start. We didn't panic as we definitely new they had another 20+ years before they'd be classed as vets and so we watched them disappear. I for my part assumed my position sitting on Olly's shoulder concentrating on keeping up and getting the required oxygen to keep me going. It was good team work, with Olly setting the pace, both of us shedding clothes as we went, he sorting out the CP's and allowing me to to concentrate on keeping going till we got to top of East Lomond. Where he then urged me on for the downhill to sort the CP duties out. In contrast we did have company in the first third of the leg with another V40 team but they certainly weren't working together and as such it felt we had the upper hand especially on the climbing.
It's nice to do well, but I think I was more relieved at the finish not to have let the team down after they'd done such a great job on the previous 3 legs and put their faith in me. I'm sure we were all wondering what I'd be like, like I say I know I was. Relays are interesting they bring that added dimension of team sport to what is normally an individual pursuit.
Matt Davis
10:30 11 Men "B" Open Matthew Curry 30:35 Andrew Gilmore
Andrew Normand
1:3:39 Ian Gilmore 26:29 Euan Boyd
Steve Best
37:35 2:38:18

Men "B" - Leg 1
The day after the Feel The Burns race down in Selkirk my achilles had flared up and was bloody painful. The rest of the week was spent downing ibuprofen and doing the eccentric stretches, praying it wouldn't put me out of the relay's, I was hovering over pulling out but didn't want to let the side down especially since the rest of the B team was definitely A quality. So I headed up with Steve B, and joined the throng in Falkland Village Hall to get our numbers from Iain. Hats off to Iain and Helen for captaining with assuredness! Looking around the hall it was a who's who of Scottish hill racing, it always makes you feel up for the race! I gingerly warmed up for the 1st leg and set off with the others just wanting to keep up with the main group, with the fasties pelting away down the track. As it went on I was feeling okay, managed to creep past Mike Lynch, and spent the rest of the leg trying to hold him off! A horrible bit of tarmac and a muddy slide down the field, with a strategically placed fallen tree to dodge, and that was it and handed over to the Andrews, Normand and Gilmore. Very glad for the lift back to the village hall with a marshall, decided against joining Mike and Graham Nash for a tour of the Lomonds. Super glad for the lovely soup and cakes back in the hall, and wandered to the finish to clap the other teams in. Achilles is now creaking away but getting better.
Matthew Curry
10:30 21 (2nd) Ladies "A" Female Jessie Dahl 33:05 Jasmin Paris
Angela Mudge
1:09:05 Kate Jenkins ### Lisa Gamble
Jacqui Higginbottom
### 2:53:53
Ladies "A" - Leg3
Burning lurgy lungs, snot inducing calf screaming ascent, bum muscle pulling descent and painful shuffle back.
BUT: great to see so many friends and FANTASTIC results! (Other than mine)!! And, it made my day to see Bill running so strongly as I hobbled back to the start of my leg. He is a Super Hero, never mind a Super-dooperd-vet!
Kate Jenkins
10:30 22 (1st) MV50 Male Super Vet Gordon Cameron 32:04 Steven Fallon
Adam Ward
1:10:34 Neil Gilmore 27:29 Willie Gibson
Bob Waterhouse
44:50 2:54:57

MV50 - Leg 4
Burdens time is always going to be fine.
The initial teams come out and i am on leg 3, I think maybe I should ask to run leg 4 with Bob W, lets wait and see what happens.
I go on e recce of leg 4 with Joel, Olly and Mary the saturday before! might come in useful.
Then in the following week the team stays the same until a few days before, emails fly back and forward and suddenly  I am on leg 4 with Bob.
We drove to the changeover with Cali and Margaret, the hour and a half wait passed surprising quickly, with Bob worrying the teams with his shouts of "Runner" at regular intervals.
Harry ran in at a fast pace and we were off. Just ahead of the Boggy Lassies. Bob pushed the muddy climb with we hanging on and I was working hard along the reservoir, a couple of "old runners" passed and Bob was convinced they were V50s. The Boggies passed us at the checkpoint and I took the led Bob for a while on the climb, and then there was the tarmac. Bob went ahead and clicked the card and we stayed fairly close together to the limekilns. Passing a few teams on the way.
On the climb to East Lomond we passed Cali and Margaret as we got passed by Lisa and Jacqui, I got to the summit a bit ahead of Bob and then he galloped down the hill chasing the girls and waited for me at the stile. Then it was hell for leather for the finish.
A great fun run, and 2 minutes after Jason and Joel run in the Joel looking rather tired!, After a minute or so Helen gave us a lift to the road crossing and we ran back for the car, returning to Falkland just after the prize giving really happy to learn our team were 1st V50.
A great race as ever, thanks to the Captains for their efforts and to Fife AC and all the helpers, and also to Digby and Eliza (the non running support).
10:30 24 MV40 2 Male Vet Mike Lynch 30:41 Simon Titmuss
Neil Burnett
1:14:58 Bob Lyons 30:41 Joel Sylvester
Jason Hubert
40:34 2:56:54

MV40 Team 2 - Leg 2
It was a leg of 2 halves, me desparately trying (yet failing) to keep up with Simon through the storm on the long slog up West Lomond followed by Simon successfully keeping up with me across the top and then down the slippery precipice to the start of leg 3.
The one advantage of going slowly was that we were passed by both the MV50 and Ladies teams and there are no better guides to the optimum route than Steven Fallon and Angela Mudge so at least we never got lost. We even managed to keep in touch with both teams until the final descent and we were then happy to hand over to Bob at the end before starting the agonising search for where he'd managed to hide my car (who knew a tiny village could have so many side streets.......)
Neil Burnett
MV40 Team 2 - Leg 4
As Jason and I are waiting for Bob, Neil Gilmore comes hammering into the changeover for the MV50. I turn, horrified, to Jason. This is serious, if the old gits beat us, I'll never hear the last of it from El Presidente. Nah says Jason, it takes the pressure off us.
Well if that's how Jason runs when there's no pressure, I must remember never to challenge him to something.
Forty lung bursting, leg screaming minutes later I collapse over the finish line. I think the stress, exhaustion and pain must have shown, as there was much hilarity. 'Oh Jason', says Helen, 'you've broken Joel'.
To be fair, Willie later congratulated me. But.

Joel Sylvester
10:30 59 Ladies "B" Female Ruth Dooley 39:24 Joanne Anderson
Joan Wilson
1:26:37 Kate Crowe 33:55 Mary Lye
Heather Munro
47:06 3:27:02

Ladies "B" - Leg 4
Relays, fun though they might be, are always a bit of a logistical nightmare: getting race numbers, people and extra clothes to the various start and finish points. Heather and I decided to kill a bit of time before our final leg by eschewing Matt’s lift in a cosy car and recceing the route in reverse. We walked/ jogged over with Euan, Lisa and Steve in the rain, and thoroughly muddied and dampened, proceeded to freeze at the start line. After a wee while we took refuge in Helen’s car. Bob W exhibited typical scampiness by rapping hard on the window. Panicking that Kate had flown through leg 3 in superhuman time, I threw myself out of the car, wild-eyed and squawking, much to Bob’s amusement. The swine.

The car was reclaimed by Digby (very nobly ferrying people and kit around the hills of Fife), leaving Heather and me shivering and jogging in soggy anticipation. Heather showed me a nifty technique for working the blood back into frozen fingertips. Hard to describe, but you look a bit like a penguin when performing the manoeuvre. As Kate hoved into sight we were very glad to get running with a fast stretch into the fire break. The mud had been thoroughly churned up by this time, making the plank bridges quite perilous. A lovely grassy downhill took us to the drained reservoir (“Danger of Quicksand” eek!), and then a shortish pull up to a brief roady section. We negotiated the most enormous stile I’ve ever seen, and trekked on up hill towards the “Gowk Stone” (I still have no idea what it looks like). We overtook a team or two at the Lime Kiln and met Brian Howie and Ian Nimmo at the start of the steep climb to the summit of East Lomond, and briefly conferred about the best route up: longer and gentler track to the left or shorter, steeper to the right… We chose right, which was I think, er, right!

A steep, bouncy, mossy descent was followed by a carefully reccied route to the right of the trees (definitely the quicker option - we closed the gap on a couple of other teams). Marshalls at the stile before the path/track to the finish warned us of treacherously muddy conditions. It actually wasn’t too bad - the mud was deep enough to provide a bit of traction! Heather romped onward and I puffed along behind her as we passed another couple of teams. The final hundred metres to the finish line was an all out sprint as Heather, with fire in her eyes, hunted down one last team for us to pip at the post.

Excellent fun, as always, followed by delicious pea and spinach soup and cake. A thousand thank yous to everyone who makes it happen, and especially Helen and Iain for captaining so magnificently.

9:30 70 Ladies "C" Female Cat Meighan 35:23 Lorna Ascroft
Myvanwy Fenton-May
1:39:21 Kathy Jarvis 34:31 Georgina McAllister
Helen Wise
50:39 3:39:54
9:30 92 FV50 Female Vet Hilary Spenceley 36:40 Moira Stewart
Karen Meikle
1:37:46 Anne Nimmo 44:40 Margaret Forrest
Cali Ingham
1:3:44 04:2:50
9:30 108 MV50+ Male Super Vet Colin Pritchard 51:06 Nick Macdonald
Andrew Shepherd
1:58:33 Bill Gauld 40:03 Brian Howie
Ian Nimmo
1:05:48 04:35:30
MV50+ - Leg 4
Part of the fun of the Devil's Burdens is working out transport to the race and the changeovers.
Thanks to Ian and Anne it all seemed to work for our legs.Ian had stepped in magnanimously to fill the gap left by Keith.
The worst part of Leg 4 is the long wait. It was particularly wet and cold and there a bit of nail-biting as to whether our numbers would appear. Nick arrived eventually with them in the "nick" of time. My fingers were like frozen sausages trying to pin the number on. Myself and Ian then jogged up and down the track looking for Bill and to keep warm. Is it? Yes? No?, Maybe? Red top? No someone else. Then Bill came storming in - a few pleasantries and we headed off up the muddy track, churned up by several hundred by then.
By this time the rain was off,visibility was perfect and the tailwind was helpful. The run itself was very muddy in parts but fairly uneventful, punctuated by the occasional passing pairs, including Heather and Mary on the climb up East Lomond. A major decision whether to go left or right. The corner of the wood was clearly visible from the top for the descent to the final control and down the path to the finish.
We finished in good shape in the emerging sunshine. Last pair in the race - there's not many can say that.
Brian Howie

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