Devil’s Burdens & Relays
Relays are a great way to get involved with Carnethy and get a taster of what hill racing is about. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run. Relays are all about being part of a team, meeting some new people and having a good time in the hills!
Each relay race is slightly different. Some consist of solo and paired legs. Paired legs are usually longer and require more navigation. This can be a good introduction to navigation for less experienced hill runners as we can pair you with someone who knows what they are doing!
We enter Carnethy teams in the following relays:
|Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay||09/09/2018|
|Hodgson Brothers Mountain Relay (R)||7/10/2018|
|FRAs/British Relay Championships||20/10/2018|
|Scottish Long Coastal Relay||06/10/2018|
In previous years we have had loads of teams competing at the Burdens and Comrie relays and we would like to replicate this or have even more teams out this year! The Long Coastal Relay is a fairly new race organised by our own Mike Lynch. It would be great to get two or three teams out this year (we have no excuse that it’s too far away as it’s in Fife). At the other end of the scale the Carnethy Junior/Senior relay race is a low key fun family event held in January.
We have a place for one team in the Hodgson’s and it’s important we use this so we keep it for the future! The FRAs are in the Lakes this year so it would be great if we could travel en masse and really represent the club by getting teams out in all the categories. We could even make a weekend of it…
If you’re reading this and interested in getting involved in one of the relays, or finding out more, drop an email to email@example.com
Devil’s Burdens reports…
Tremendously windy today, but the initial rain and clag cleared away by the early start of leg 3. Leg 2 runners faced not only an uphill battle but an upwind one too. This was all in favour of leg 3 and 4 runners.
Alex McVey avoided figuring out lifts by running the first 3 legs to get to the start of leg 4. There is a shorter way, but it’s nowhere near as heroic.
A record number of teams out and the hall was jam packed. Carnethy alone fielded 12 teams (that’s 72 runners!). The soup flowed freely and prizes came Carnethys’ way. 1st Ladies Senior, 3rd Senior Open, 1st FV40 Ladies, 1st V50 Open (also 2nd in V40 Open); if I have my categories correct.
This is the 7th year running that we’ve won the V50 category!
Captains’ roundup –
Leg 1 was mainly on road and in the rain, with some queueing at checkpoints, but people seemed to enjoy it regardless! Leg 2 was the beast of the day, into the wind, a lot of climbing and the top of West Lomond sitting in the clag. Some navigational errors were made here, including by some of our more experienced runners (if nothing else this made me feel slightly less embarrassed about all the times I’ve got lost in a race!) Many leg 2 runners were spotted at the handover looking slightly shell-shocked; you certainly all earned your soup! Leg 3 mostly had a tailwind and a superfast descent into the final checkpoint. Leg 4 enjoyed the same tailwind to power them up East Lomond, and then a frantic dash down to the finish, glory, and most importantly soup. Lisa, who was super awesome and helped serve soup to us hungry runners, found out that they make enough soup for 1500 people. From scratch. I can’t get my head round how many onions must have been peeled.
We came away with some excellent team results and prizes. Senior ladies, v40 ladies and v50 men were all 1st and the senior men were 3rd overall.
Rachel & John
Results on Fife AC website. PDF of Carnethy results from 2015-18 here. Carnethy results anticlockwise 2013-18 and clockwise to 2012 (look for the tabs at the bottom of the page) here. Sortable detailed results 2018 here (n.b. leg3 split times were rounded to the minute and they’ve calculated the leg 3 and leg 4 times from them, so they are not correct; however final cumulative time is correct).
Send us your reports!
V60 – I was originally penciled in for leg 4, but swapped with Cali. This was probably a wise move given my limited descending skills and my running more suited to roads. I’d done this leg quite a few times before, but only when it was the reverse route as leg 4. However owing to forestry work, the route was substantially different.
I set off pretty fast, but my recent bad cold and lack of training quickly showed up as laboured breathing and heavy legs and I had to ease back. I was able to get my breath back at the two controls, where the queues were quite spectacular; a couple of minutes or more lost maybe.
The first part of the trail and the modified section were mostly in sheltered forest; a joy to run on. This ended about half way when I hit a very long exposed tarmac section into a very stiff headwind ( a light zephyr compared to leg 2). Thankfully this ended with a turn onto the cycle path down to the muddy down-hill finish. Lauren passed me here and I made a spirited attempt to hang on, but to no avail.
I ran as fast as I was able but my time was painfully slow. I jogged back to Falkland, allowing me to see and cheer on the second wave of runners – I almost didn’t recognise Adam in the “Away” vest.
I made it back for my soup before all the hungry hordes returned.
A good thing about the relays is the camaraderie and the ample opportunity to chat to the others, which you don’t often get at the ordinary races.
Women’s V50 Team – We had a grand day out, and were delighted to be 2nd FV50 team, and 121st overall, with 30 teams behind us!
First leg-Hilary: I was in rain all the way. Apart from some queues to punch at checkpoints, the leg went smoothly though the headwind was a force to be reckoned with even low down. It was great to run first and have the rest of the day to spectate and chat as the sun came out. Many thanks to Keith who made logistics easy by supporting our team as well as the v60s. I might be tempted to do a late leg in future if the mince pies become a regular feature!
Men’s B team – Carnethy B is for Beer certainly lived up to their name with all the team enjoying some beers the night before, some so much so that I received a message this morning asking for a lift as they were still slightly drunk. Ah well, we’re the B team, nobody was expecting too much from us. So I was on Leg 1, and lost sight of Eóin within a few hundred meters, and Jasmin around checkpoint 1A. I certainly gave Jim and Mark a suitable handicap for Leg 2 with plenty of teams to chase and pass, which I think they did. Euan and Will then took over for Leg 3 and continued the good navigation and pace before Auren finished with a quick blast over East Lomond, so quick in fact that his number blew off! Or maybe it was breezy up there, but let’s stick with the former. Anyway, we all made it back to the hall and enjoyed (some less than others) a light and refreshing beer called Shofferhoffer that I’d selected for our team.
Leg 1/2 handover
Women’s V50 Team – Second leg- Moira and Kathy: We worked hard to get up the hill, only to find crossing the tops even tougher, as the unrelenting strong wind pushed us hard in the wrong direction. There was no chance of any chatting, and only a glimpse every now and again of a view. The small descents out of the wind brought some relief and a chance to accelerate. The new route to the finish was not quite as hard on the knees, but the last few small climbs in the rolling finish hurt my tired legs. There was plenty of support from Carnethy runners and drivers. Thanks to all for making a great day out.
Men’s B Team – Standing on the start of leg 2, faced with a longish run paired with somebody else, it’s hard not to feel some level of nervousness. My hands were shaking slightly, partly due to nerves and also a horrendous hangover. My burps could strip paint, and I was unable to drive, but the headache hadn’t started yet so I was in fairly good shape. I’ve done leg 2 before, a couple of times, but each time with somebody else that I could easily offload all responsibility and tag along. This time was different though, as I was paired with a complete unknown: Mark. He hadn’t run the leg, or even the race before, so I felt a small amount of pressure to bring some experience to the party. Additionally, he was younger and lighter, and certainly leaner. Overall he just looked faster. I hoped that this first impression was misguided, that he was secretly rubbish and I could trot round the route regaling him with tales from my previous outings, anecdotes, jokes, poems and my valuable insights on life itself. I was hopeful. Jeff, our first leg runner, pounded down the hill to hand over to us. The first push up the start field would be the test, so…was Mark any good?
He was! And, he is! I tried to set a good pace up the field to see how he handled it, and…no obvious discomfort. Hmmm. I was hyperventilating and starting to drool, yet he seemed unfazed. I dearly hoped that he was hurting on the inside, but instead he started trying to have a conversation about something. Oh dear, he’s fast, well maybe he’s a rubbish climber? We whizzed by other teams and blasted through checkpoint 2, and onto the hill. Well, he’s also good at climbing, it seems, and descending for that matter, and also navigating. All I could do was hand him the punch card and follow as best I could. He skipped up the gradual climb to the 3rd checkpoint, only to stop briefly due to my bad navigation “advice”, and finally to the hole punch. My nav cock-up was nothing compared to the two girls that missed the checkpoint only to descend and re-ascend the climb up the gully. Oh dear me.
Onto the misty summit of West Lomond for Checkpoint 4, and Mark done something I’ve never seen in hill race – he used a compass! Yes, a compass! And a map! I couldn’t believe my eyes! We left the summit of West Lomond IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION! Unbelievable! I was happy to rely on luck, swearing, or just wait for somebody else and follow them, y’know, like everyone does. We descended down and realized a fence blocked our path, and Mark said that the race notes said we should use the stile and not climb the fence, the stile wasn’t marked on the map (a bit of bad luck, despite aiming the right way), so trotted along a little bit until we got there. Wait, what? HE READ THE BLOODY RACE NOTES!?! He’s clearly not an experienced hillrunner like myself, no way. I’d probably still be out there right now, just like any other self-respecting Carnethy. We would have lost places and time, sure, and maybe had to withdraw or seek help, but at least we’d still have our dignity. Jeez!
We slipped and slid our way along to checkpoint 5, then up the long climb to Bishop Hill’s checkpoint 6. On hitting the summit I knew that Checkpoint 7 was just yards away, as I had made that mistake last year and was keen to avoid doing that again. As I punched the card, Mark spotted the next checkpoint, we hit that then continued. Nice! Ahead there were loads of runners coming at an odd angle – it seems they made the same mistake I made last year! I’ve never gone the right way in a hill race, it felt weird, I even started to doubt Mark. Now, looking at Strava online, I see quite a few went that way. That should’ve been me!
The run-in is a tricky one, with wee lumps and trods that can be followed. The mist cleared and the paths seemed easier to follow. We caught Angela and Helen and shadowed them through the bumps, then down some slippy paths to the finish, handing over to Will and Euan.
Mark was obviously an excellent partner, and would be better suited to a faster pairing. Despite a couple of small hiccups we ran a good route and hit all of the checkpoints, which is the main thing! A nice wee bonus is the nobody overtook us, I think, and we spent the run passing people – 21 teams by my rough calculation! Cheers, Mark!
Leg 2/3 handover
Jasmin ran a speedy first leg and is clearly on her way back to fitness after having Rowan. Nicola and I arrived at the start of leg 3 and were told Jasmin had been the third lady in. We promptly panicked that we would start our leg as the leading ladies team after domination by Angela and Helen. That was probably what happened but the changeover was so chaotic with runners from both starts piling in at once, so we stopped worrying. Angela and Helen were impressively quick and came in with two other Carnethy teams: the v50 men and Team B for Beer. The first climb was too steep and too soon to enjoy the company and by the top the v50s had disappeared into the distance ahead. We tussled with the other men on the hill, (one of was my husband and I was keen not to let him beat us!) Alas, we struggled in the wind at the top and they pulled ahead on the technical section. We slid through the mud, climbed again and I wished I hadn’t done my long run the previous day! Finally reaching the motorway down from West Lomond we stopped worrying about getting lost and relaxed into the fast descent. Here we made loads of time back on Will and Euan and could see them tantalisingly close as we neared the forest. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we finished a minute behind them. We handed over to Elizabeth who sped off back up the hill and brought us home as first senior ladies team. Great fun!
Leg 3 for Dummies – (open V40+)
1. Enjoy the coffee morning and scones at the Leg 2 Strathmiglo drop off
2. Park where asked to in Kinneswood to avoid the wrath of the angry local taking piccies of you (Neil Burnett’s) car
3. Use the plastic portable toilet to avoid the wrath of the angry local taking piccies of yer bits
4. Run uphill for as long as legs, lungs and heart allow. Don’t be put off by Westies pair walking past you faster than you can run
5. Follow Westies to cut corner and then get blown over the top to make up a few places
6. Remind partner (Mike) to punch card while you run off ahead
7. Laugh at partner who overtakes you and goes knee deep in bog
8. Note to self: Cut across heather to next climb instead of taking the path next time
9. Bust it down the track from West Lomond to Maspie until your legs hurt and swear at partner (Mike) when he cuts you up
10. Flail arms down Maspie descent trying to keep left but scaring the hell out of folk coming up the way on most corners
11. Handover smoothly, smile like it was all no problem, wash in burn, then head for the best soups ever.
12. Don’t expect a prize.
regards, Mark Hartree
V60 open – Surprised to find the start area somewhere else! Nicer place but a funnel through would have been a good idea. Gordon and I were blown up, down, along and sideways. Leg 2 runners were blown backwards. So we did well, getting bowled along in the gale. I should explain that Nigel and Jonny struck a pose, but I’d taken the photo before it was fully formed.
Women’s V50 Team – Third Leg – Maggie and Nicki: Kathy and Moira handed over to Maggie and me, looking quite exhilarated and wind-swept! After thirty seconds of running, Maggie and I headed up the steep, brutal climb to the crags. When, at last, we got to the top and turned onto the flat, the wind from the West hit us full on and took our breath away, as well as knocking us over a few times. After our concerns about route-finding, it was all pretty straight forward with many teams around us. We enjoyed the undulating, boggy terrain towards the Burdens and soon, the faster 10.30am start teams were overtaking us and shouting encouragement. Digby and Gordon flew by but we took a short cut, following a Fife chap with local knowledge, and caught up with them just before the next climb round West Lothian. They soon left us behind. We enjoyed the lovely descent from West Lomond to the finish with lots of encouragement from Carnethies and others as they ran past in both directions. All in all a great day out! Great soup too. Thanks to all the organisers.
Leg 3/4 handover
Open 40+ Old Bs – Having been called an old B many a time it was nice to have the status formally recognised with the anchor leg for the MV40 B team (pretty sure I’ve heard people referring to me as an anchor too). After a few tweaks to the original running order the goldilocks MV40B line up was Billy Elliott up first, Neil Burnett and Alan Renville on 2, Captain Mike Lynch and Mark Hartree on 3 and me bringing up the rear. The luxury of leg 4 is that you get a long lie and with the help of the published times from previous years to gauge likely start I had a nice leisurely wander around Falkland and a chance to check out the end of the leg as a warm up. Jogged along to the final checkpoint to find Kate Crowe, tucked in the woods with her lunch (and canine company) to keep her warm. Was just wandering back to head to my start when Tommy Begley raced down tot the checkpoint. Must have been later than I thought so I sprinted on to the changeover. Turned out only the lead team (Westies) had been through and he must have been in the early wave. Still, Carnethy teams soon started arriving as we stood around blethering in the way that you only can do waiting for a relay changeover. First, Senior A’s came through well up with Andy and Liam, then amidst a flurry of the early starters the Carnethy teams started to filter in. Soon the Carnethy vets pairing of Mike and Mark appeared – well up in the top ten too which was great. Not quite so great for me was that it was the MV40 A team of Mike Reid and Mark Johnston. Ho hum, time for more chat and an opportunity to rip the back of my leg open on some loose branches to get the adrenaline flowing.
Just after half past one our boys arrived and I set off. With so many early starters around it was difficult to work out whether I was gaining places or not as I passed other runners, so the only thing to do was to make the most of the tailwind along the ridge. And what a tailwind it was, almost blowing me all the way up East Lomond. A quick punch at the top and straight down to the corner of the woods. One minor trip and an full 360 tumble in the moss later I was back to the stile (hello again Kate). Then hell for leather along the not-too-grippy path to the finish. Despite my secret short cut to avoid the steps I just failed to catch the Stonehaven runner so we finished 29th place in the end.
Good effort by the guys, and still in the top 10 vets teams (& 2 of them other Carnethys!). Not bad for a bunch of old Bs. The next half hour was spent supping super soup to the tales of destructive wind gusts and a forensic leg-by-leg breakdown.
If you’ve read this far you may have noticed that this race report spends a lot of time faffing around before getting to a short section on the actual run. Just like the event itself, which is part of what we love about the Devils Burdens, and why I’ve done it almost as often as Mark Johnston…
Women’s V50 Team – Fourth leg – Mairi: I was in the right place at the right time for the changeover with Nicki and Maggie in Maspie Den. The sun had come out when I set off although it was still a bit windy at the top of East Lomond. A chat with Cali had confirmed that it’s quicker to keep to the right of the trees when coming off East Lomond so that’s what I did, and managed to catch up with the runner in front of me by the time we reached the stile and final checkpoint.
The course has been more or less the same except for leg 3 which was shortened in 2015 because of a shoot.
Or pdf here
If there are STILL mistakes let me know!
A spectacular inversion treated all the runners bar the unfortunate leg 1ers, who never emerged from the mist. Great running conditions, and a great run. Carnethy results were 3rd place for the senior ladies team, 1st places for Carnethy Mens V40 and V50 teams. When the results are out we’ll update the comparison chart and the final composition of teams will be revealed. Really nice soup awaited in the hall. Send in your reports and we can make a page like last year’s. For the moment keep checking below for new reports.
Willie’s photos here Devils Burdens West Lomond
Leg 3 FV40, Fionna Mackinnon and Phillipa Ivison
A quick recce up the slope at the start of the hill from Kinesswood gave us a glimpse of the glorious cloud inversion and views we would get for the rest of our leg. Navigation not being my strongest point and having only run leg 2 in the past I was glad we would see where we were going. Straight up through the crags and hard left seemed the best route, and we found a decent trod all the way to the 1st check point. A slight deviation round the wrong side of Bishops Hill then back on track for a lovely run over undulating ground, then downhill to the bottom of West Lomond. Nearly lost Phillipa in a bog at one point but fortunately her shoes stayed on. The second part of leg 3 is downhill and on trail so it felt great and helped by amazing views of East Lomond that looked like an island and support from Nick and Willie. Back into the fog for the last steeper trail into Maspie Den… and then handover to… would you believe it we were so fast we made it there before our team mate did… 🙂
A great day out.. thanks Phillipa for your company and well done team mates Maggie, Joanne, Dorothy and Patricia… Massive thanks to Konrad and Jasmin for organising
MV50+++ team Leg 3
Our V50/60/70 scrap team had been progressively emasculated by drop-outs and inter-team transfers during the week, leaving a less than finely tuned racing machine after the patch-ups. A careful early-week reccy of leg 3 led to rejection of all the tempting-looking short cuts on the map. A last minute rejection of local knowledge about a traverse below the Kinnesswood crags was also left alone after consultation with Cali and Margaret at the top of the first climb, where we saw that no-one else was taking it. Emerging into the glorious sunshine above the inversion made it a pity to rush the pace, with stunning distance views to far horizons, the foreground masked by the cloud sea with sunny East Lomond emerging like a nunatak on the Greenland icecap. This was a wonderfully bracing cruise across the moor. There were occasional pleasant chats with other runners drifting ahead or back in equal measure, suggesting my pace was well measured: probably no net position gain or loss, no falls, no fluffed choices of line, and a recklessly fast descent down the Maspie and back into the fog and cold. There were at least three reasons to disqualify us, but we covered all the checkpoints and we’ll probably get away with a reprimand. It was a new experience to run with a personal photographer.
Mens Senior C Leg 3
The leg 3 start had everyone staring pensively up the steep hill at runners appearing and disappearing in the mist hoping for their team to arrive – all whilst hearing promises of golden sunshine on the hill tops. Unfortunately on leg 2, David and Noel at the top of West Lomond for CP4 realised they’d missed CP3 and had to go back down but initially mistook a sheep for the missed checkpoint…
So it was down to the last few teams remaining until Konrad, who with James had already run leg 2 in the fourth fastest time and hopefully might be tired to my fitness level, and I set off. Emerging from the mist below the White Craigs and it was perfect sunny day for running with no wind. The hills were now barren of other runners but we moved apace until the second climb to CP11 whereupon I really need to improve my hill climbing endurance. Perhaps time to start running with the fasties on a Wednesday now? :-O
Fortunately, my strength is flat running so from CP12 we were able to storm down the path for the final 5K until, for me, the last little kick up at the finish. After the finish, Konrad was discussing with Jasmin about doing more speed training so I maybe, hopefully, helped stretch his legs – though he had still run two legs!
V50 A leg 1
Surprising to me but there were only 55 starters for leg 1 at 10.30 as 100 teams had started at 9.30. It used to be the other way round. But 8 Carnethies lined up and 4 of us stuck together jostling for places in the fog. Good ground conditions meant dry feet and a 30+ minute blast through the woods. At one point Ali Mary and I blocked the track to prevent anyone passing us with Matt just in front leading the way to the finish only for Ali to beat him to the line. I handed over to Bob and Steven although we managed to drop the baton in the hand over – but fortunately that didn’t stop us from going on to retain our title from last year. A great effort from the team who got the sunshine whilst I had the fog.
Other relay reports…
Last weekend one team of six made the trip down to Llanberis for the British Fell relays. Apart from being far away, Llanberis is pretty much the perfect venue. It is surrounded by steep hills offering great running and views (when the cloud clears); this is proper fell running country.
The Carnethy team was ably led off by Andy Fallas, who on his way back from injury, started steadily but then moved through the field to reach the top inside the top 10, a position he maintained on the descent to hand over in 8th. On the second leg Harry Gilmore and I ran well together over a great route, loosely based on the reverse of the Maegswm Muddle route that was a British Champs race a few years ago. As with the 3 following legs, the route finishes with a helter skelter descent back towards the disused quarry that serves as the changeover for all legs.
As leg 1 used this on the ascent, by the end of the day well over a 1000 runners had turned the bottom of this into a runner swallowing bog – all good fun. I was pleased with our run, and amongst stiff competition, we did well to hand over to Iain Gilmore and Alex McVey for the nav leg somewhere in the 30’s. This was probably the toughest leg and the pair of them looked on their ear when they came in. They navigated cleanly and used the mandatory crossing points, which involved an additional 300 m of ascent to the summit of Moel Elio. Some other teams, who should have known better, took a contouring route that involved jumping walls, contrary to the instructions given at registration, but never mind it’s just fell running. The team was brought home by Liam Braby running a solid final leg moving us back up from 38th to 28th. Thanks to Jasmin for sorting the accommodation and Alex & Harry for driving a llong way.
Next year’s event is (I think) to be hosted to by Ambleside AC in/around Grasmere (scenic). As this is a bit handier for Edinburgh, maybe we can get some faster runners out to give the younger guys in the club a chance to be competitive, and to allow Harry and I to revert back to vets teams.
Edinburgh University had 3 teams out, their men managing 3rd overall; Shettleston 2 teams, winning both the vets and the mixed; HBT had 3 teams out, their ladies coming 2nd and their men 6th, one place behind Orchils in 5th.
After a gap year, the SLCR was back on, and back to teams of 6 after an ill-conceived attempt to push the teams up to 8 in 2016. Everything was the same – the same format, transitions and thankfully for the race, the same great weather. This year we had 9 teams up from 6 in 2016, which made for a better feel to the race. There was one key change actually, and it was a positive one, and that was the introduction of ‘mass’ starts at every transition (if needed). This was to allow for bunching of the race and to prevent marshals from standing out for very long periods of time. These worked well and didn’t negatively affect the feel of the proceedings.
We started things off at midnight in Kincardine-on-Forth and teams progressed through the 116.5 mile route as a relay of 6 runners through the transitions of North Queensferry, Dysart, St Monans, St Andrews, Wormit Bay and to the finish at Newburgh.
Chris Russell of Leven Las Vegas (the only two places in the world that you can buy sex with chips, apparently) stormed through the first leg in a new record of 1.50.34 to hand over in the lead. There was quite a gap to second (over 12 minutes) before Stonehaven Top Dogs came in. Leven maintained their lead through Leg 2 to Dysart with HBT moving into second place, ahead of Stonehaven. A new leg record of 2.25.10 from Jason Kelly put Stonehaven into the front at St Monans and they never lost the lead from there on in. Leg 4 to St Andrews is always a tough one and there were some big gaps developing in times, which justified the mass starts. A great run from Nicola Duncan of Carnethy on Leg 5 put them into 4th position here, but there was another record leg of 2.19.26 from Michael Barker of Stonehaven to consolidate their lead. The final leg to Newburgh saw Stonehaven come in for a total time of 14.45.06, which is a new record both for the race itself and for a run by teams of 6 around the route. HBT came home in 2nd with Leven Las Vegas 3rd and Carnethy 4th.
So a successful running of what is a long event, but the feedback was positive so looking forward to 2018.
Fastest times on course:
- Stonehaven Top Dogs (2017 race): 14.45.06
- Fife AC/Wormit Runners (2014 Challenge run): 14.58.00
- HBT (2015 race): 14.59.36
- Carnethy (2013 Challenge run): 15.10.00
An album of pictures here: Scottish Long Coastal Relays 2017 147 new photos – Album by Mike Lynch
Some more here: here – 19 new photos by Victoria Shanks
or view/download as pdf
Carnethy Team report
A call for club members to form a Carnethy team Scottish Long Coastal Relay along the Fife Coastal Path returned a mix of folk, some known to me and some unknown. I didn’t argue, since anyone volunteering to start a relay at midnight or 0300 and to run 16-22 mile legs is good for me. I even had two reserves so hoped I could extract myself from a leg and let others do the work. Early planning, and getting a rough time schedule agreed with everyone was helpful and kidded-on to the team, hopefully, that I might know what I was doing.
As it turned out, a reserve crooked his groin playing Frisbee (can you guess who) and another needed childcare planning while her husband Neil ‘marshalled’ at the same race, so short notice changes to the team were tricky for her to accommodate. I emailed everyone a few times to remind them to turn-up and finalised lifts and pick-ups…sort of. As of the day before, we didn’t need substitutes and I resigned myself to running the last leg and even printed maps since Neil Burnett advised that it would be helpful since the route had lots of turns.
Viv Busby, our secret weapon, who was going to smash the record on Leg 4 (the longest, remotest and roughest leg) in under 3hrs (or so he forecast), thereby giving me leeway for a slower last leg, admitted to a knee problem at 1400 on the Friday that he had picked up on Weds night. I only noticed the email at 1615. Pooh. A quick panicky series of phone calls, Facebook appeals and perhaps divine intervention and Neil Burnett volunteered to let me do Leg 4 while he did my shorter and final leg. Double Pooh, I get the toughest leg. Still, it was a solution.
Our run times are in the table of Mike’s report. Most teams or leg runners went wrong at some point along the way. Most were suitably tired at the end of their legs. I had to lie down! Later on, thankfully, I happened upon Nicola Duncan from our team heading out of Wormit on the wrong road and figured how to steer her to the change-over point with Neil, saving more lost time which could have slipped us a place. One team DNF’d which helped us achieve 4th position which I am pretty pleased about since my leg time wasn’t great. Thanks to Sean, Alex, Noel, Nicola and Neil for a great team effort, and to Mike Lynch and all his helpers. Next year, let’s get a few more Carnethy teams together for a great event.
Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Comrie?
Our FV50 team had a great day out on Sunday 10th Sept at the Simon Wake Comrie Hills Relay, despite the weather. The rain varied from light drizzle to torrential downpours and very poor visibility at times, interspersed with the odd dry, grey interval.
This annual event is always great fun, well organised by Strathearn Harriers, and followed by burgers, tea and cakes at which point the sun put in an appearance.
Legs 1 and 4 are marked, legs 2 (paired) and 3 involve more navigation. I did leg 1, which I did 2 years ago. Having been in close contact with the map throughout that previous run, I decided to employ a different tactic and tried to hang on to the pack; thankfully a kind gent from Carnegie Harriers shouted after me when that strategy backfired! Moira Stewart and Kathy Jarvis started well on leg 2, passing a number of teams, however thick mist posed a navigational problem. Nicki Innes on leg 3 encountered a hail storm, but still finished smiling, as did Cali Ingham on the 4th leg, running in full waterproofs the whole way. Mass starts on legs 3 and 4 meant the field was never too spread out. We were delighted to receive the first female vets prize. You read that right! First (over 40) Vets. This goes to prove that you don’t need to be the youngest/fastest runners out to have a lovely time and maybe even come home with a prize, …but you do need to turn up.
Other prizewinners were Angela Mudge and Eoin Lennon with fastest times on Leg 1.
It was perplexing that the turnout was lower this year- 23 teams compared to the usual 40ish, and Carnethy had only 2 when we have often had half a dozen teams. Relays, be they Comrie, Devils Burdens, FRAs, whatever, are a great way to get to know your clubmates and folks from other clubs, and have a good day out/ weekend away in interesting scenery. Do give it a go! Results will be here .
Doesn’t look like anyone has put up a report from the FRA relays yet so here’s a quick report from inside the (ahem, “victorious”) M50s team*.
After a last minute team hitch (well it wouldn’t be a relay without one) Mark James stepped in to lead off the V50s. A superb run from Mark put us in the top 40 overall, neck and neck with the Dark Peak and a minute up on Clayton le Moors V50s.
After the slightly chaotic takeover Harry and I set off on leg 2 at a decent lick through the woods and up the Beinn Dubh race route. Swapping places all the way up with faster teams coming through and overhauling a few slower teams, Harry led through the mist to dib at CP1.
Along the ridge to CP 2 at the Graham summit we were all overtaken in one of those ‘wow’ moments as a herd of deer hinds came out the valley and lept effortlessly across the path just in front of us before disappearing again into the mist. Our comparatively pedestrian squelching through the Luss bogs had a familiar pattern as Harry would pull away on the climbs as I caught up on the descents (have to say the ridge descents were really enjoyable despite the clag, wind and rain).
The drop down into the glen was a slithery slidey affair (not helped by an uncooperative shoelace that was flapping around but knotted in place and impossible to retie). The climb back up to the summit was about 1000ft of eating grass and heather (think of the climb out the glen at Stuc and double it). Harry chasing after the Shett’s B team left me floundering in his wake (need to work on my front crawl), but once over the top another fine descent beckoned us back down the hill together. Quick sprint back through the woods to hand over to Mike and Steven for the nav leg, despite dropping us to 47th we just maintained a lead over the Clayton Le Moor V50s, and just as importantly over the Carnethy B team :>).
Despite one minor glitch the boys did very well in the very challenging conditions of leg3, turning in an excellent 25th place on the leg, and pulling us right back up the rankings, coming in neck and neck with Clayton and just behind our B team. Credit due here for all the Carnethy teams on this leg – Iain and Konrad were 6th, Alex and Mike 17th, Jasmin and Helen 29th and Antony and Matthew 57th.
Stewart now had two challenges, first was to maintain the lead over Clayton, and second to catch Liam in the B team. Both of these were achieved in style, recording the 24th fastest time of all, fastest M50. Indeed 2nd fastest O40, pulling the team up to 23rd place overall, and securing first V50 team (and 5th over 40 as a consequence).
A big thanks to the rest of the guys for a great team effort on a good tough day out in typical West coast conditions. Organisation by the Westies was superb and the marshalling top notch on a very inhospitable day – take a bow too the yellow shirts.
Full results here – perfect for statistic freaks… http://www.sportident.co.uk/results/2016/BritishFellRelay/index.html#fell_relay
*I’m sure the others can put a different slant on things though.
Waiting in the pen for the change over as the rain came down I felt fairly relaxed though the effects of my warm up were fading rapidly. My first shot at a Nav leg, I would certainly have been nervous with the poor conditions and rumours of a course set at the limit of what was considered acceptable for the event but with Steven as my partner for the leg I knew I was in good hands . My plan was to let Steven do all the Nav, my job being to keep up with him…….In came Harry and Bruce and we were off. The route up to the first check point was fairly straightforward on track then path then faint path, the conditions underfoot though were very wet. I felt comfortable on the early part of this section running within myself and thought perhaps I would cope this well throughout….no chance, Steven put in a burst and went past as we hit the fainter path frequently going off the path to go past teams which we did regularly up to the first check point, still I felt ok. Check point 1 to 2 and the fun really began, the initial ascent to a minor top was ok, here we had the option of contouring round a ridge but decided to take a more direct route to pick up an obvious stream/ravine at the head of which was the next checkpoint, we set off down very rough ground to the valley bottom, crossed the stream and here Steven came into his own, 300m ascent over 500m distance , scrambling directly up the gully, I struggled to keep with him at this point and had to put in more effort, overtaking another couple of teams in the process. Checkpoint 2 to 3 was straightforward, faster running following a fence until it turned for a 2nd time then a bearing to CP3, no problem, I started to relax, this game is easy mmmmm. Perhaps not, we set off at pace to CP4 but fell into the trap of following a couple of teams in front rather than trusting the compass and after a while realised we were not quite where we thought we should be, a bit of faffing around checking for features and reviewing the map and we headed off on what we thought was the right direction, this confirmed by coming across Mike and Alex in the B team and we ran with them to CP4. CP4 – 5, rough ground but again a reasonable running pace to take us to a CP “between two hills”, not an easy one to find but we heard voices and out of the mist it appeared, all down hill from here the pace picked up and suddenly we appeared out of the cloud at soon hit CP6. Very fast slippy downhill running from there took as back to the finish and we came in not far behind Alex and Mike and neck and neck with Clayton V50’s. and Stewart took off. A great feeling to have got round a tough leg in 25th place overall. Looking at the results some good runners struggled on that leg in those conditions.
I can’t recommend the relay events enough, this is my third time and for me it is the most enjoyable form fell running takes, if you haven’t tried it you should.
My thanks to Konrad and Jasmin for organising the Carnethy teams, my team mates and Westies but particularly the Marshals who endured some horrible weather on the day.