Annan & District Athletic Club
Hill Racing Championship 2004
MANOR WATER HILL RACE - SAT 9th OCT
There was a good turn out for this race both from ADAC and others which resulted in a field of 58 runners comprising of 44 men, 11 women and 3 juniors. This yearís start/finish was from Woodhouse Farm which was a change from previous years and surprisingly resulted in far quicker times. The race distance remained the same (10 miles) but there was a slight reduction in the climb to 2200 feet. The day turned out to be surprisingly cold with light rain on the tops, however the under foot conditions were good considering the amount of rain recently. Seniors and juniors all started together but the juniors who included our own Rachel Robson turned for home after climbing 800 feet and approximately 1 Ĺ miles. Rachel did very well to finish second and fist girl in a time of 37.07 minutes. Our senior runners comprised of Mark Whitelaw who had another good run to finish 4th in a time of 1hr 12.51 minutes, Roger Irving 5th and 2nd Vet 40 in a time of 1hr 13.36 minutes, over 13 minutes inside his previous PB! John Robson 27th in a time of 1hr 29.39 minutes, Jean Robson 51st and 4th LVet 40 in a time of 1hr 58.10 minutes. Its good to see the number of ADAC runners on the increase at fell races and we are doing very well with four of us in the prize list, not bad going in a good quality field.
The next outing is the final race in this yearís championship and takes place on the 13th of November at Tinto Hill near Symington. It is run over 4.5 miles with 1500 foot of climb and always has a good turnout because the Scottish Hill Runners AGM follows the race. So it would be nice to see as many ADAC runners at the final race as possible ending the season on a HIGH!!
MERRICK HILL RACE - SAT 18th SEPT
After torrential rain on Friday night thankfully Saturday stayed dry for the 14th running of the Merrick Hill Race. Because of all the rain the under foot conditions were boggy to say the least and several times we ended up well over knee deep in peat bog . The race is run over 8.5 miles with a climb of 3300 ft and starts from the car park at Bruces Stone in Glentrool. There is no time to get into your running in this race as after half a dozen strides you are into the first climb where you are reduced to walking in single file to the summit, thereafter the course is undulating along a very boggy track to the main path up Benyellary and on to the turning point at the cairn on the top of Merrick. From here we descend down the Rig of the Gloon on which if you get a good route you can pick up a few places before a short but rough climb up onto The Buchan Ridge. It is normally fairy good going but this year was heavy and slippy. Once you come off the Buchan summit there is a fast downhill before you reach the worst finish I know of in any race which is a rough road that climbs steeply for about 150 metres to the finish line, you can't run up it, you are reduced to a painful walk, you feel as if you are going backwards as your legs burn and you gasp for air.
So after that description who would want to run it, well there was a field of 35 runners with three ADAC members, Roger Irving, Nigel Priestley and Mark Whitelaw. We had all done the race before so there were no surprises in store; we knew it would be hard. We all came away pleased with our runs, Nigel run over a minute quicker than he had the last time he took part and finished in 21st place. Mark had an excellent run to finish in 4th place taking 7 minutes off last years time and finishing in 1hr 33mins 49secs. Roger was past by Mark in the last few metres as they battled up the hill to the line and he finished 2 seconds behind him in 5th and 1st Vet 40.
Report on the Ben Nevis Race held on Saturday 4th September
The day was overcast and looked as if it could rain at any moment with a cloud base of 2000ft, but one good thing was it was mild with a summit temperature of 8 degrees C. 364 runners finished the race with Ian Holmes who was third at the top and some way behind reeling in the two in front to win in 1 hr 29.33 from Rob Jebb 1 hr 30.40. Its quite a slow time when you think the record is 1 hr 25 set 20 years ago by Kenny Stewart, maybe this is due to the conditions. The first lady was Sharon Taylor with a time of 1hr 55.54 beating last years winner Kate Beaty easily (2hrs 31.09). I had a heavy head cold all week so hadn't run for over a week and Mark wasn't feeling 100% either so neither of us were all that confident. My time at the top was slightly slower than last year at 1hr 17.02 but it was as hard as I dare go, luckily my legs lasted out on the descent for a lot longer than previously and I came down quicker than last year in 40.22. to give me a PB by 59secs and a finishing time of 1 hr 56.24 placing me 61st. Mark tried to stay with me as long as he could on the climb but dropped back as we approached the half way point arriving at the summit in 1hr 19.07. Although he felt that he did not descend well (because he had just never experienced anything like it before) I thought he did really well to come down in 42.31 to give him a finishing time of 2hrs 01.38 placing him 93rd. He
said his legs felt okay on the descent but he was not comfortable with running hard down the loose stuff on the top half.
BORROWDALE FELL RACE SAT. 7th AUGUST
Three ADAC runners travelled down to Rosthwaite in the Lake District to compete in this British Championship race run over 17 miles with climbing of 6500 feet. There were 473 runners taking part which is one of the largest fields ever assembled for this classic race. The race was run under clear blue skies with little or no wind which resulted in temperatures in the 80ís and made the race an even greater challenge than in cooler conditions, dehydration being a major consideration.
Roger Irving and Nigel Priestley had taken part previously and knew what to expect but it was Mark Whitelaws first visit and his first race of this distance. It is not a race where you can run hard itís like a marathon where pacing is essential to last the course. Although the total climb is 6500 ft there is a surprisingly large amount of runnable ground covered, the climbs and descents being relatively short but steep. Roger was out to try and run sub 4 hours having previously recorded a best of 4 hrs 11 mins in 1999 but the heat took its toll up the last climb and he finished in 4 hrs 5mins. Mark decided to tag along with Roger being unsure of the pace required over such a race and he to finished in 4 hrs 5mins which meant the pair were 137th equal. Nigel would be the first to admit that his fitness level wasnít up to a race of this distance and because he was out longer he had to endure the heat for a lot longer but he still finished in a creditable 5 hrs 28 mins which put him in 369th place.
Of the original 473 starters 67 runners either dropped out or were timed out at the cut off point which just goes to show how tough a race this is, finishing it is an achievement in its self.
SETTLE HILLS RACE SAT. 27th JUNE
Four ADAC fell runners journeyed down to Settle in North Yorkshire on Sunday 27th of June to compete in the 7 mile 1750 ft Settle Hills Race. Because this is a relatively flat course there isnít much opportunity for our usual walking up the steeper climbs, we actually had to run most of the way.
John and Jean Robson showed real dedication when they took a detour and time out of their holiday journey to Devon to compete. I think this was Jeans first fell race and she is the first ADAC female to compete over the fells for many years. Well done Jean, maybe you can encourage a few more females to accompany you next time (maybe even you daughter!!!). Roger Irving was making his second visit to this race and was accompanied by Mark Whitelaw who was another first timer.
There were 134 runners on the start line and every age category was contested up to and including Vet 70. Itís great to see athletes in their seventies still motivated and enthusiastic about their sport. These vets are still very competitive as their times and finishing positions show. Vet 70 winner Harry Catlow 120th in 80.54 minutes, Malcolm Coles won the vet 60 category in 74th place with 68.58 minutes, Ben Grant won the vet 50 category in 10th place with 55.58 minutes ( only 3.12 minutes behind the race winner) and Martin Love won the vet 40 category in 5th place with 54.02 minutes. These results just go to show that age should not be regarded as a barrier to improvement in personal performances.
All the ADAC runners turned in good performances and enjoyed the race. Mark Whitelaw was again first home in 8th place with a time of 55.01 minutes. Marks good road speed paid dividends over this course as he chased the leaderís home. This is Marks first season on the fells and his future looks bright. Marks usual shadow (Roger Irving) followed him home though not as closely as on the hilly courses. Roger improved his last yearís time by 1.40 minutes to finish 13th overall and 5th Vet 40 with a time of 57.14 minutes. Holiday bound John Robson was next in 66th place in a time of 66.46 minutes with his wife Jean finishing in 122nd place with a time of 80.59 minutes. John was still on a high from winning his first ever fell racing prize the week before at Durisdeer. Unfortunately John had to leave Durisdeer before picking up his prize of a bottle of organic ale, but now that it is in his possession who knows what positive motivational and therapeutic effects it will have on his running!!
Greg Hull was the winner of the race in a time of 52.46 minutes and first lady was Karen Slater in a time of 61.47 minutes.
Durisdeer Hill Race - 20th June 2004
On Sunday 20th June the Durisdeer 10.5 mile Ė 3800 ft fell race took place. A small field of 28 runners assembled for the midday start at the small village on a day which was ideal for running, there was very little wind and temperatures were comfortable. As this race was a counter in ADACís fell racing championship four of the clubs athletes turned out to add to their individual pointís tallies. Jim Buchanan who has been training well and producing some excellent results beat his last years time by 4 minutes and took first prize in the Vet 60 category. Jims once weekly training runs with Mark who is over 30 years his junior are obviously paying dividends. Maybe that should read Marks once weekly training runs with Jim who is over 30 years his senior are obviously paying dividends as Mark was ADACís first runner home. Anyway it is an inspiration to all to see Jim still bettering his times, well done. Jims finishing position was 21st in a time of 2hrs 17mins. As I said Mark was first home, he was 7th in a time of 1hr 50.03 mins. Mark continues to improve, his climbing is getting stronger and his good road speed is a definite advantage over the run able stuff. Roger was close on Marks heels following him home in 8th place with a time of 1hr 50.17 mins which was an improvement of 8 minutes on last year. So Roger must be doing something right in training if he only knew what it was!! One thing he did learn from this race is that it doesnít pay to encourage and tow Mark up the climbs as he runs away from him on the descents. A definite change in tactics is required and on no account stop and help a fellow club athlete when he takes a crashing fall in the last Ĺ mile while close on your heels!! Who said fell racing is much more relaxed and less competitive, umm, he must have meant prior to and after the actual race. Anyway back to the serious stuff. John Robson who is continually improving throughout the season was third ADAC runner home in a creditable 14th place in a time of 2hrs 11 mins. Johns 14th position ensured that ADAC lifted the team prize and meant that every one of us featured in the prize list.
A lot of work goes into organising races and Adam Anderson along with his team of helpers should be complimented for keeping this challenging race going. Value for money is guaranteed when for £4 you get to run over 10 miles of beautiful countryside and then when you have finished tea, coffee, juice along with a table full of home baking is available to top up those depleted energy stores. We will all be back next year to defend our team title why not come along and join us.
Glen Rosa Horseshoe 12th June 2004
After visiting Jura a fortnight ago Roger Irving and Nigel Priestley of ADAC took to the hills on the island of Arran in the Glen Rosa Horseshoe Fell Race which covers 12 miles with 5,500 feet of climbing. The imposing Goat Fell is clearly visible from the ferry on the way across and gives the on board runners a pre race reminder of what they are about to face as this is only one of the tops that has to be summated during the race. The race starts and finishes at the Ranger centre at Broddick Castle. A small field of 27 hardy runners of all ages took part and made their way to the fist summit checkpoint on Bienn aí Chliabhain. This is then followed by a very steep decent into a coll before you then again climb up to the top of Cir Mhor where checkpoint 3 is to be found. Itís back down again before you tackle the difficult contour round to checkpoint 5 (if you get this wrong a rope ladder would be quite handy!) Then itís the final climb up the towering Goat Fell. From the top of Goat Fell is all down hill and there is a fairly good path which means if you still have the energy you can add a bit of pace to the final stages of this tough race.
The race was held in ideal conditions with clear blue skies and it was worth taking a few seconds to take in the stunning scenery that was on offer throughout this well organised event. Last years winner Ronnie Gallacher defended his title in a time of 2 hrs 30:20 mins, he was followed by Sanqhuars Adam Anderson in 2 hrs 34:27 mins. Roger finished 13th in 3 hrs 14:34mins and Nigel was 20th in 3 hrs 40:55 mins.
The next fell race on offer to the ADAC team take place this coming Sunday the 20th June at Durisdeer near to Thornhill and it is hoped that there will be a good turn out from the club as it is a championship counter.
Jura Fell Race 6th June 2004
This classic fell race is run over a distance of 16 miles with 7,500 feet of climbing. Because of the isolated venue for this event runners usually make a weekend trip arriving on the Friday and departing on the Sunday. Getting to the small Hebridean Island involves a two hour ferry trip from Kennacraig to Port Eskaig on Isla then a five minute ferry hop to Jury, this is then followed by a nine mile trip along a single track road to Craighouse which is the main area of residence on the island. There is only one hotel on the island which is booked up on race weekend from one year to another so most of the runners camp in an area in front of the hotel where shower facilities etc are available. The preferred form of transport used by the runners once on the island is bicycles and it is quite a sight to see around 100 bikes disembarking from the ferry heavily laden with all manner of packs etc to make their way along to Craighouse. The ADAC contingent consisted of Roger Irving and Nigel Preistley joined the bike laden competitors. This was Rogers first time at the race, Nigel having completed it once before. The morning of the race dawned with no sight of any hills as the low cloud was down to 300/ 400 feet which didn't excite anyone. So we set of at 10.30 am into the unknown!! The first top was found okay though a bit slower than expected, for Roger the second was lost for probably 20 minutes longer than it should have. The lesson learned here is never to rely on others who 'know 'the route as in mist even the best get lost. Nigel also struggled here but didn't loose too much time. From top two the weather improved greatly and the rest of the run took place under clear blue skies. The paps of which there are three are basically lumps of boulders with very little vegetation and they rise up to around the 2000 foot mark. Great care has to be taken when descending as a fall could have serious consequences. Like a road marathon you hit a 'wall' and this appeared around the 3 Ĺ hour mark where legs turn to jelly and they cramp continuously due to the fatigue. From there on it's a matter of damage limitation while still moving as quickly as you can. Once off the last pap there is one final hill to climb before the gradual Mooreland run down to the Three Arches Bridge and the delightful prospect of a 3.3 mile run along the tarmac to the finish at the distillery in Craighouse. It is just a matter of head down and plod your way slowly to the finish. Both Roger and Nigel knew they were not as fit as they would have liked to be and were quite happy to get round in one piece. This race is probably one of the hardest one day races there is but the friendship of the runners and locals along with the excellent organisation and hospitality makes it a very enjoyable weekend. It is a race that most return to year after year. A total of 158 runners started the run this year with young Tim Lenton finishing first in a time of 3 hrs 36 mins ahead of Ian Holmes in 3 hrs 41: 38 mins ( even the worlds best get lost in the mist, Ian lost approximately 25 mins between tops two and three.) Third runner home was vet 40 Ronnie Gallacher in 3 hrs 41: 55 mins and first lady was Katie Jenkins in a time of 3 hrs 40 mins. Nigel finished in 113th place in a time of 5 hrs 51 mins and Roger was 57th in a time of 5 hrs 2mins.
Ben Lomond fell race took place on Saturday 8th of May and two ADAC runners in the form of Nigel Priestley and Owen Brown completed the run. The route starts from Rowardennan on the shores of the loch and more or less follows the tourist path to the top where upon you about turn and re-trace the same track back down, a total distance of 9 miles with 3000 ft of climb. Conditions were good being slightly overcast but mild and no wind to battle against. A good field of 129 runners started and Nigel and Owen settled into the middle of the field for the long climb to the top. Both runners said it was very soft on the two detours that are taken from the main track and coming down they found it difficult to keep there feet with Owen taking his customary tumbles. Both struggled in the last mile or so down the rough and tricky rocky sections where absolute concentration is necessary to avoid falling. Then once on to the tarmac they had the long, slightly up hill run to the finish with very heavy legs from the 4 mile decent. Owen finished 71st in a time of 96.12 mins and Nigel was not far behind in 90th place in a time of 100.26 mins.
Another local athlete was taking part in the shape of Adam Anderson from Kirkconnel, who last year ran for Solway but who now runs in the Carnethey vest. Adam had a fairly good Climb but his strength is his descending and despite having to slow up because of blistered feet he still managed to finish a very creditable 11th in a time of 77.02 mins.
Owen, homeward bound,
with Nigel not far behind.
Adam Anderson from Kirkconnel.
Langholm 5 Hills Race Saturday 3rd April 2004
(photo by kind permission of the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser)
This yearís Langholm Five Hills Fell Race took place on Saturday morning in atrocious conditions with wind and driving rain for most of the race.Thirteen runners and walkers took part this year.The winner was Roger Irving (Annan and District Athletic Club) in a personal best despite the conditions of 1 hour 12 minutes 59 secs.
He was pushed hard by defending champion Charlie Borthwick whose time was 1 hour 21 minutes 10 secs. Third was Wattie Borthwick in a time of 1 hour 31 minutes 15 secs.Taking the Vets prize in 4th place was Jim Knox from Hawick in time of 1 hour 32 minutes 8 secs., followed by his brother Bill (5th) in 1 hour 32 minutes 15 secs.
6th was Owen Brown (Annan and District Athletic Club) in 1 hour 33 minutes 15 secs., followed by his team mate Nigel Priestley in 1 hour 34 minutes 30 secs.Another Annan runner Supervet Jim Buchanan was 8th in 1 hour 48 minutes 31 secs., with his training partner Andrew Fairgrieve from Moffat finishing in the same time.
10th home was female Lyndsey Knox from Hawick who won the respect of the malerunners with a time of 1 hour 54 minutes 55 secs. In 11th place, Paul Warwick in2 hours 5 minutes. Walkers Mike Tinker and Charlie Graham completed the coursein 3 hours 29 minutes 30 secs.
Thanks to Roger Irving and Owen Brown for introducing the course to new runners again this year. Donation will be given to local branch of Age Concern.
Additional Club Report
For the third week in a row ADAC fell runners were competing, this time at
Langholm on Saturday morning (03/04/04). This is a very informal race
where the competitor really needs to know the race route to take part. The
race is run on a stipulated finishing time therefore the competitor has to
estimate their race time to finish as near as possible 12.30. The idea is that
it encourages people to try a hill race without the pressure of feeling they a
going to be hours behind the seasoned racers. This format seems to work
quite well as usually itís not until the last hill that the field comes together
which encourages the chasers as well as the chased.
This year the runners were not blessed with the excellent conditions of last year,
it was wet weather gear for most but not so bad for the late starters who missed
the worst of the heavy showers. Underfoot conditions were pretty good despite
the rain and the hills were clear of mist.
The route is approximately 8mls with 2700ft of climbing and takes in four
climbs and descents covering the 5 hills that surround Langholm.
This year a total of thirteen runners took part setting out a various times
throughout the morning.
The winner was ADAC,s Roger Irving in a personal best time of 1hr 12.59
mins. Roger had targeted this run and his previous two weeks races at
Criffel and Screel had sharpened him up for Langholm . Owen Brown was
next home in 6th place in a time of 1 hr 33.15 mins. Owen was very pleased
with his run as he used his heart monitor to pace himself up the climbs for the
first time in a race situation. He hoped that this would ensure that he still
had enough energy in the tank when he came to the last climb and it worked.
Chasing Owen home was Nigel Priestley in 7th place in a time of 1hr 34.30
mins. This was Nigels third race in as many weeks and he is improving week
by week as his fitness improves. In joint 8th place was ADACs Moffat pairing
of Jim Buchanan and Andy Fairgrieve with a time of 1hr 48.31 mins.
Considering that Jim is just back from holiday and he hasnít been able to race
over the last two weeks he ran very well. Andy unfortunately was suffering
from a bad cold and did really well just to get round, he will definitely improve
on his time next year.
Screel Hill Race - Saturday 27th March 2004
A week after competing at Criffel the local ADAC fell runners were out in force
again this time at Screel Hill which is near Palnackie. The race was a Scottish
Championship counter which guaranteed a strong field of 113 runners. The race
is 4 miles and involves two climbs totalling 1300 ft so in fell racing terms it is a
sprint. This was highlighted by Jethro Lennox of Shettleston Harriers who won
in a time of 27: 52 mins.
This week four ADAC members took part and once again Mark Whitelaw was
first home in 26th place with a time of 34:31 mins. Mark was closely followed by
Roger Irving who was 29th in a time of 34:42 mins which also placed him
14th in the vet 40 category. Both Mark and Roger were disappointed with their
runs feeling that they had not climbed very well. The hard run at Criffel the week
before was probably still having its effects. John Robson was next
home finishing 70th in a time of 40:18 mins. John is progressing week by week
as he is competing more often this year and as the season progresses his
times will continue to improve. Nigel Priestley was ADACís final senior athlete
home in 82nd place with a time of 42:26 mins. Nigel was pleased with his run
feeling that he had improved on his Criffel performance.
A special mention should be given to ADACís junior athlete Rachel Robson
who went with the intention of taking part in the junior fell race. This race goes to
the top of the first climb and returns by the same route. There was an official at
this point to turn the junior runners but he missed Rachel as she flashed past him,
which because she was unaware of the route meant she ended up running the
full senior course. This was disappointing for her but at least it will prepare her for
future longer races.
Criffel Hill Race - Sunday 21st March 2004
Sunday 21st March 2004 saw the annual running of the Criffel Hill Race
(7mls Ė 2000ft). The run starts at New Abbey and follows a tarmac road
which leads the runners onto a footpath and up the hill. The ground is normally
very soft but this year it was even softer due to the very wet week leading up to
the race. When the runners have reached the summit it is a matter of retracing
the route back to New Abbey. This year 40 runners took part of which ADAC
had a very healthy turnout of 6 runners. First Annan athlete home was the
inform Mark Whitelaw who proved that he could turn his good form on the
roads onto the fells, he had a excellent time of 60.32 mins finishing in 4th place.
Mark was closely followed by Roger Irving who finished 6th in 61.37 mins
which also placed him 3rd Vet 40. John Robson, Owen Brown and Andy
Fairgrieve followed each other home in 23rd (74.52 mins) , 24th
(75.24 mins) and 25th ( 76.52 mins) respectively. Nigel Priestley was not far
behind them although not yet back to full fitness after a long time injury
finished 29th in a time of 77.49 mins. The race was won by Brian Marshal
l of HELP in a time of 52.24 mins and first lady was Kate Beaty of
Cumberland Fell Runners in a time of 70.10 mins.
Carnethy 5- Saturday 14th February 2004
Roger Irving - 60.43 in 65th place
Nigel Priestley - 74.17 in 249th place
Jim Buchanan - 76.11 in 274th place
Andrew Fairgrieve - 79.30 in 314th place
George Fraser - 98.55 in 534th place
452 runners finished the course.
Well done to Andy and George on their first hill race , let's hope that we will have
recruited some new hill runners. George took part without any specific hill
training and also must have been handicapped by the lack of suitable shoes.