An Eventful Weekend In Applecross
13th September 2008
Garry MacInness pre wobble - read report to explain

It was time for some elite competition so The Carnethy unfaithfull headed for the wild west in the shape of the Applecross Peninsula and its annual duathlon, involving 9 miles of running on rough track and path and 15 miles of road biking.
A piper set us off on our journey into the unknown – Garry and myself had a pleasant chat along the first flat miles, until I managed to forge a lead on the rough path that climbs steeply up, in this case into the mist.
Although conditions were almost perfect - mild with no wind, there was another wind that made itself known as the Black Sheep of the evening before had a dramatic effect on my forward motion on the latter half of the run, and the lead I had established vanished rapidly, eventually being overhauled on the last mile of the run by Mathew John.
After an initial panic of not being able to find my bike, I played my trump card of not changing shoes and my transition was probably less than 10 seconds – ie the time it took to don helmet and jettison bum bag.!
For once, it was a pleasant cycle heading south back to Applecross, with no head wind, until the last couple of miles as you headed into Applecross Bay, although the rain that came on in the last 5 miles or so were not so pleasant - I managed to hold on to the lead established at transition from the fast finishing Everest Summiter – Charlie Hornsby – 4th on the run, from Mathew in 3rd and Garry in 4th who had time to admire the best fishing lochs, and Andrew who after a challenging run came through fast on the bike section for 5th.
Mari Todd just missed Angelas 2006 record despite turning an ankle early on the run.

Meanwhile Debbie had taken a serious aversion to this running malarky and decided to test her own theory of the origin of mass, namely a large hard rock collider with her knee, - the other competitors showed the true spirit of the outdoors and rallied round, and with the help of a thermarest as a splint she managed to hobble back down to where a 4 wheel drive was waiting – to speed her to the local doctor and 4 stiches in the wound – a bit of an extreme way to get out of a field trip at the Academy me thinks! – we’re still waiting on her theory on mass!

Garry’s first wobble came before the prize giving as we had no dry clothes to put on, and he proceeded to do something akin to sitting down ceilidh dancing, due to uncontrollable shivering.

Later on a first class meal was enjoyed at the Potting Shed with venison, duck, locally caught fish, goats cheese and soused herring all sampled and we were well soused with red wine by the end of the meal, and the appearance of another couple of competitors who seemed in awe at our athletic prowess – I quote ‘We are in presence of greatness’ – though no-one else was that impressed and I’m still waiting for free drinks!

Fortified by a heavy metal breakfast next morning back at the Potting Sheds ‘Breakfast club’ Garry, Rob Shaw (Garry’s boss at Scottish woodlands) and myself decided to challenge the Bealach - we managed the climb in fine style, being rewarded by free Tea Cakes and Caramel Wafers from non other than Boyd Tunnock himself at the summit.

After descending like a pro, we caught a very white faced Garry half way down, who had been the victim of ‘The Death Wobble’ – in which his forks and front wheel had started an uncontrollable shake which was quickly transmitted to the whole frame – he had only just managed to stay on at around 35mph – and apparently is not that unusual:-


All in all an enjoyable (for some!) and eventful (for others) weekend – and we even met a number of people who hadn’t heard of Angela Mudge – really quite refreshing!

The Players:- Debbie Carr, Andrew Patience, Garry MacInnes and Adam Ward
The Support:- Margaret Anne Macarther

Adam Ward

Click here for Results


59 entrants took part this year along with a 2 year old boy, a small Teddy bear and a dog. The “Race” was contested by 45 starters whilst the “Challenge” (fun run or walk) attracted 14.

The course was changed this year bringing the Finish into the main village, between the Post Office and the Applecross Inn. This generates an extra 100m cycling but cuts out a left turn and 700m of poor surface at the end of the course. Overall the times should be comparable. The new Finish can be seen by the cyclists from over 2 miles out and the final fast sweep around Applecross Bay is better for competitors and spectators.

The lack of wind made for fast times but midgie problems for our team of Marshals and helpers. Seven men went under the two hour mark and Mari Todd from the Black Isle, our Ladies winner for the second consecutive year, was just 15 seconds from joining them. Adam Ward, of Carnethy, repeated his 2005 success, winning the Mens Open, in 1.50.49, and improving the Open record by nearly 3 minutes – not bad for a 47 year old veteran. Adam tells me the secret of his Duathlon successes is his pre-race “liquid loading” in the Applecross Inn.

As always the Mens Veteran (over 40) category was strong and 5 “Vets” finished in the first 6. Charlie Hornsby, an accomplished mountaineer who has been to the top of Everest, demonstrated that he is, also, a useful athlete, finishing second, in 1.52.26, nearly 2 minutes better than the “Vet” record Adam Ward set in 2005. Regular Applecross “Vets” Garry MacInnes, Andrew Patience and Norrie Lyall took 4th 5th and 6th places, whilst Mathew John, a youngster of 26, was third.

Another (even) older man who performed with distinction was Allan Gordon, who, in winning the Vintage (over 60) prize, in 2.22.00, took an impressive 16.49 off Andy Wright’s record. Allan has passed his running prowess on to daughter Claire who withdrew her entry for Applecross in order to run for Scotland in the World Hill Running Championship, in Switzerland, where she finished 31st and helped the Scottish Ladies to 6th place in the team competition.

There were also some notable efforts at the other end of the age range. Gillies Munro (12), recently of Applecross, got round in 2.54.00, in spite of the embarrassment and worry of having to look after mum, Kathleen, 2.54.03. Freya Cushnie (14), from Lochcarron, was 3rd in the Ladies Open, in 2.48.53, behind her mum, Birte, 2.16.35. Birte may have had some benefit, on the run, from being pulled along by the family dog. This year’s junior (under 16) prize went to Simon Parsons (14), also of Lochacarron, who took 2.37.51. Like Freya, Simon had to give best, for the time being, to a parent. Simon’s dad. Lloyd, in his 5th Applecross Duathlon, produced a PB of 2.12.16. Clearly Lloyd and Birte are not ready to give way just yet.

The day’s most surprising feat came from Jon Rathjen who pushed his 2 year old son Calum (and Little Ted), in a sprung three-wheeled buggy, over the run, in between repairing punctures, and then cycled back with Calum riding pillion, in 3.22.39. Whether this says more about Jon’s fitness or Calum’s resilience is open to question.

For the first time in 5 events we had a significant injury. Deborah Carr, one of our “regulars”, fell 4 miles into the run, gashing her knee. Happily, Deborah was efficiently cared for by the nearest Marshal, Andy Leigh-Brown, and retired GP, Alastair Bulcraig, who abandoned the race to help with the first aid and rescue. Thanks to a swift response from the local community, Deborah was off the hill and “stitched up” before several of the competitors had finished. Many thanks to Donald MacBeath, David Abraham and Dr Janice Cargill for the invaluable assistance they gave.

As always I am extremely grateful to numerous folk whose generosity makes it possible to run this event on a small entry fee (£5) and yet still provide worthwhile prizes and make a profit for our Community Hall. Thanks are due in particular to: my wife Rhona for organising the post event Tea and Ceilidh and for providing substantial prizes for the winners of the Mens and Ladies Open, to Judith Fish (Applecross Inn) and Elaine Glover (Walled Garden restaurant) for generous prizes for the two Veteran winners, to Ford Shaw (Race Director) and all the 20+ officials who ensured the smooth running of the event, to Donald MacCuish for allowing us to use his shed for bike storage and finally to all the competitors whose friendliness makes this such a fun event to be involved with.

Gerry McPartlin

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