Annan & District Athletic Club
MEMBERS REPORTS 2014
The Connoisseurs choice.
Graeme and I had talked about competing in the Lower Alpine Mountain Marathon on a few occasions over the preceding couple of years. Graeme had competed in it twice before and had done well, but he really wanted a new partner to attempt the course with again. While I had run in the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon and the Original Mountain Marathon I had never before competed in the LAMM. So, when entries duly opened Graeme made sure we were "IN". The LAMM was to be one of my big events for 2014. During late 2013 and early 2014 I trained for a road marathon. Once the Manchester marathon had been completed I started specific training for the MM, which involved all running being done with a rucksack and as many long days on the hill as I could fit in. I gave myself a 2 week taper period where I cut down my training immediately before the race
The LAMM alternates itís location between a northern event which is held anywhere up to John-O-Groats, and a southern location which is within an hour of the central belt. This year it was to be a northern location; it was also the LAMMís 20th anniversary. You are not told the exact location of the event until two days before. The only details supplied were that it 1 Ĺ hours away from Inverness and 4 hours away from Glasgow. I studied the map with these two details in mind to try and work out its most likely start point. One thing was obvious, it didnít matter where it was, anywhere up there was going to be in " big country". Once the allotted day came the long awaited e-mail was sent:- Location was Strathcarron, the postcode and 6 figure grid reference was supplied in the e-mail, so North West it was, due West of Inverness, level with the Isle of Skye.
The race was to start on the Saturday Morning and this meant that we would have to travel up on the Friday night. On the Friday I was working in Edinburgh so Graeme caught the train over and I picked him up from the station. We had packed the heavy gear into the car in the week preceding so he only had his day bag with him. By 15:30 we were heading north with the ambient temperature gauge on the car reading 25c; it was going to be warm. En route we stopped off in Perth to pick up some last minute needed supplies at Tisso (the outdoors store) and M&S for food. As we travelled up we took in the familiar views. Graeme had lived in Elgin so there was no need for a Sat Naví as he knew where we were heading.
We stopped off at the Commando memorial to pay our respects seeing the date was the 70th anniversary of D-Day; 6th June. Graeme pointed out the memorial to men who had been killed from the unit he had served with when he was in the forces. It was quite poignant to see the men who had died in recent wars side by side with WW2 heroes. I was glad we had the opportunity to stop awhile.
En route we discussed our tactics for the forth coming race. In our last training run the weekend before Graeme had not been quite up to his normal high level of fitness; whether this was because of a recent cold or because he had not fully recovered from his epic Doonhammer 4 corners of Scotland run, which involved almost running a marathon a day for 6 days in a relay with 4 other runners, I did not know. We decided to have a nice steady day one, take in the views and Graeme could give me some instruction on the navigation as this is not one of my strongest areas of experience. We were just going to enjoy it and it didnít matter where we finished.
Once we arrived at Kelso Farm near Strathcarron we got parked up and headed to the event HQ to register. At registration we each had attached to our wrist our electronic dibber. The dibber is used to electronically record your visit at each checkpoint. We signed the legal forms, "mountain running is dangerous and may lead to serious injury or death etc etc" - rather death by mountain than death by sofa which is a far bigger killer in the UK, was my thought.
We then headed to the marquee in which there is a retail stand supplying everything you might need, and some you wonít, for a mountain marathon; reassuring if you find that at the last minute you had left some important kit at home. Me and Graeme made for the famous "Wilfs" food stand. Wilfs catering provide food for most of the Mountain Marathons and I am sure a lot of competitors only go for his food. I guess it is not the most tasty although OK, but if you have been running for two days on the mountain living off Kendle Mint Cake and Hi-Five gels once you take the weight off your feet "Wilfs" tastes like the best food you have ever eaten.
While in the marquee I ran in to Adnan who was one of my support runners from my Bob Graham round. He was in training for the Ramsay Round (The Scottish Version of the BG) and was using the LAMM for this. He had a woman club member with him as a partner from his club and I was a little worried if she knew what she was letting herself in for with Adnan. He is a great lad and very physically competent, super fit even by our standards and I wondered if she would struggle if she tried to keep up to his pace.
Wilfs provided Chicken and noodles for tea that night and then our next task was to put up Graemeís tent. Both of us had brought two lots of kit; our rucksacks for the MM were packed and ready and we used spare kit the night before. Our start time was 9:10am on the Saturday. Once the tent was sorted we headed back to the marquee for a pint of real ale each, the profits going to the local mountain rescue team. There was a live band playing too and this added nicely to the atmosphere. Then we turned in for bed to get some sleep, not easy mind as it was so hot I had to lie outside the sleeping bag. We then had laughing and giggling women in the tent on one side and somebody snoring for his country on the other. It didnít seem like I had been asleep for even 5 minutes when the one and only original LAMM alarm went off at 5:00am - the swirling sounds of a piper walking around the campsite diligently making sure that every tent had a rousing awakening. Great if you are one of the first teams off, but we didnít need to be up until 7 at the earliest! Not that I donít find the sound of the bagpipes inspiring, but not 2 hours before I have to get up!
At 7 we got up and made ourselves porridge and tea for breakfast. We packed up all our camp too and, as we still had time to spare, I grabbed a bacon roll from Wilfs. It is a good idea to eat as much as you can without stuffing yourself beforehand as you will be needing the energy later. I compared the weight of my pack and Graemeís and mine seemed much heavier. I sorted through it, throwing out some bits and pieces I didnít think I would need but it was still heavier! Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. We headed for the start and when we got there we were given a map each. We were then told that this is not the start and we have to walk down the road to a coach which is waiting to take us to the start proper. On the coach everybody studies the map trying to work out the likely start point and where the overnight camp will be (we rightly predict the camp location). After a short coach journey we are de-bussed then told to make our way up a small bank where awaits us the start. Before crossing the start line lots decide that it would be a good idea to relieve themselves before the race; nerves? Perhaps, but also a good plan as you donít want to stop once the clock is running and the race is on. We both step forward and dib the tokens in the electronic timing machine. Immediately we are given a piece of paper with the checkpoint locations and overnight camp written as 6 figure grid references.
In previous MMs I would sit down and write all the checkpoint locations on the map before the start, but this is not Graemeís way. He quickly notes the location of the first CP and we are off. We move steadily at first as per our original plan but we are overtaken by two teams - Graeme turns and looks at me, GAME ON! And we up the pace now, racing other teams to find the first checkpoint, this is an easy one; "handrail" round a deer fence and it is at a gate though the fence. Unlike other MMs on the LAMM both team members have an electronic dibber and both have to record their presence at the CP. In other MMs I have entered only one team member carries the dibber. (This is to prevent one team member running to a check point leaving the weaker runner behind, especially tempting on an "out and back" leg). Every CP dibber has a number engraved on the box, this is to confirm that you are at the right CP for your course. Once we have both "dibbed" and after checking that it is the right number we set off after CP2. This CP is not easy to find. The instructions say "on a spur". On the map there is only one spur but there are two in reality and everybody heads for the first spur. To complicate things the elevation is the same for both spurs so even checking the altimeter led us to think we were on the right one. There are about 4 or 5 teams now all looking around the same area for the little white and orange "parachute" marker which is at each CP. In the end we all conclude that this is the wrong place and set off again to find the right one.
For the next CP we take a direct route to it while other teams contour round. This means we drop a little height and then have to climb again. Graeme has a theory that if you canít cope with some climbing should you really be in a MM. We find this CP quickly; it is a long way to the next CP though. This time we stay high. We are heading for a big rockface just to our right on the horizon, we plan to use this as an "attack point" to get to the top of the next hill and we run down towards it. Once under it we drop into the valley then start to climb up the grassy slope on the other side. We find a Quad bike track which makes the going easier.
I reach into my bag for a pork pie (a food of choice on MM for me due to its extremely high calorific value). Because of the rate at which you are burning calories on an MM you can, in fact, almost have to eat all the foods that as a runner we try and avoid. I take a bite from the pork pie but spit is out it is warm, the weather has been so hot that the pies were warm and I was concerned that the meat might have spoilt and to eat it will lead me to become unwell, that would have meant a disaster. I play it safe and throw out all my pork pies (I think some fox or badger will dine well tonight). I am now concerned that I will not have enough food for day two but I really had no choice, it was not worth the risk.
The next CP is around 3 or 4 lochies. It takes a while to find the right one but Graeme is on the right track and we check in. We set off for the next one again but this takes a little finding with us and 3 or 4 other teams searching for it. We are now running with a team from Sweden and we talk a little to them. To get to the next CP we have some nice fast descending which continues for a couple of kms. I tell Graeme I am concerned by all this downhilling as eventually it will mean that we will have to go up again. We are running down a grassy ridge with the ferns getting taller and taller as we get lower.We try to follow a meandering path though them. The Swedish team take a line to our left and we head straight down. We cross a shallow river and the inevitable starts - we are climbing. We keep a small burn to our left as we go up, it is a steady slog. I fill my water bottle from the stream and drop in an isotonic tablet which fizzes as it dissolves in the water. Eventually after a lot of climbing we bear left looking for the CP, this is easily found. The Swedes are a looking a long way below us, our route was better!
We next have the biggest climb ahead of us for day one, it is a contouring climb with heathery grass underfoot and relentlessly up and across the mountain face we head; this is tough going. We are heading for a col on top of the ridge and after this we will drop down to the next CP. Across and up we continue. Ahead, above us I see a team working away, then another team, just small dots climbing out of the valley can be seen coming our way. Eventually we reach a small path towards the top of the col. Here we stop contouring and go straight up to the top. When we are almost at the peak our Swedish friends turn up, they must have climbed a little quicker than us. Once over the peak we start to drop. There are another couple of teams around and we have caught two up. Dropping down we cut to the left with one team, while the Swedes and another team stay on the path heading right. We drop the other team pretty quickly and get to the CP first then the Swedes catch us up slightly after and announce "your lines seem faster than ours, we will follow you from now on" erm Graeme is not happy with this; they are supposed to be the orienteers!
We have one more CP to get then it is back to the overnight camp. We set off and are now "bog trotting", making our way though boggy ground through tufts of grass and weed. This is my weak spot, I am at least as quick as Graeme on other ground but here I am having to work hard to keep up. Over a river and a quick fill of the water bottle with another tablet dropped in. We climb up the other side and keep on going up. We are now running along a ridge edge with a big drop to our left, far away I can see the overnight camp with a few tents already up. I see teams in the boggy ground directly below us. We are looking for a gully to descend down, and the CP should be 100 meters off the end of the gully. Graeme has used the gully as an "attack point" for the CP. An attack point is a well defined feature which you can then use to find a less defined one. We find the gully. It is a steep grassy drop down, and we use the time honoured fell runners downhill technique of "disengage brain and go for it" and fly down the gully. The Swedes are left floundering, trying to pick their way down. As I head for the visible CP, I see teams closing on it from my left. I am racing to get there first, I see one go thigh deep in a bog and almost fall on his face, I start to laugh but then I do exactly the same thing, falling into my own mantrap! I am out of it in a flash and hit the CP just before them. Graeme is just behind me. All day I have let Graeme dictate the pace but now with the end of day one in sight I head for the front and running through the bog and tufty grass we push on as hard as we can. We leave the Swedes and other teams behind. We then catch a mixed team who are moving well but we soon get past them and on to a farm track. This is fast running and it suits me. I pick up the pace but start to leave Graeme. I slow but only a little, the end is now in sight and we head for the welcome sight of the LAMM banners and the taped funnel of the day one finish. Down the tunnel, dib our dibbers and that is day one done and it is only just after 4 pm. Seconds after we have crossed the day one finish line a printer whirs and we are given a small piece of paper like the receipt from a supermarket checkout till. It gives our total time for the day, our time taken for each individual leg between CPs and our position - 13thoverall and 2nd Veteran class.
We walk away talking about how well we have done. We are both well pleased with how we have performed on day one. Our thoughts now are of recovery as this will be key to a good day two performance. Our first stop is the river next to the field we are camping on. There is a sign up saying drinking water up stream of the bridge, washing below it. We strip off and join others sitting in the river cooling the hard worked leg muscles. The water is not really cold enough and I keep moving my legs about to get cool water over them. I splash water over my upper body, head and under my arms doing my best to remove the worst of the sweat and salt that cover me. After washing as best I can I get out of the water.I dry myself off with the tee shirt I wore that day and put on a fresh top, compression tights, and clean socks. We have been issued by the LAMM organisers with plastic bags to put our feet in as this allows us to wear our wet fell running shoes but keep our feet dry. With the sweat of the dayís exertions removed and in fresh clothes I feel much better. The sun is still shining down and a good breeze is keeping the midges away.
We look for a nice flat piece of ground to put the tent up on, one of the advantages of being a front runner is the pick of the best camping spots, and we find a place next to James Kellock and his running partner from Dumfries. James used to run with ADAC. We chat awhile and they are doing well in the score class.As I unpack the tent I find an extra bag in it, full of the biggest, heaviest-duty steel tent pegs you have ever seen! Graeme is absolutely laughing his head off at this find! It all comes back to me, my tent is a lightweight competition tent and the pegs that come with it are small and light but donít make for a secure tent in bad weather. The last time I used the tent I was in the car so extra weight was not an issue so I put the big ones in to use. I had meant to put up the tent on the Wednesday before the MM as a trial run but as it was raining I didnít bother, a wet tent is a heavy tent, and hence I ended up carrying them for 6 and a half hours all over the highlands! For the next couple of days Graeme had endless fun at my expense over this. Now I knew why my bag was so much heavier than his. On the plus side, I found another bag of Jelly Babies in the bottom and this now meant I had enough food for day two without any worries. With Camp made we got the water boiling for cups of tea and to make up our re-hydrated food, spagí bolí for two. I had a bag of luxury chocolates for a sweet but the heat in the car coming up had melted them into one big block. Oh well, its all calories, so down they went. We tried to do as little standing and walking as we could in order to rest our legs. We also got down as much fluid as we could with the aim to urinate clear at least twice that night; on top of that we kept as warm as we could, especially our legs. The reason for all this was to make sure we were as fully recovered and rested for day two as we could be.
While sitting around our tent, former club mate Dan Watson turned up. I had put a sign on our tent reading "ADAC". This is not a bad idea as almost all the tents are the same colour green and are the same make of Tera-Nova, it helps you find the right one if you leave it for any reason.Dan was laying just behind James in the score class; it looked as though all 3 teams were doing well. Dan is the SNH ranger for Glen Coe, so navigation is easy for him. We chatted for a while before he went back to his own tent.
Checking the results which had now been posted up near the event tent we had made it into the "chasing" or what is sometimes called the "racing" start. In the LAMM if you finish within 90 minutes of the leaders you are in the chasing start. The leaders go off first, next 2nd placed team and so on, and each team member is given two numbers, one to be worn on the front and one behind. This makes for exciting racing on day two, if you are the team in 10th place and a team with a higher number than 10 over takes you then you know you have dropped a place and the other team knows they have gained a place. This sure makes everybody runs their hardest in the leading pack on day two. We collected our numbers - 13, unlucky for some, but as I was born on the 13th it did bother me much. Our start time was 7:09am.We turned in for bed and discussed our tactics for day two. We both said we would be happy to keep our place as second fastest Vetí team and worked out what we need to do to achieve this, but I felt confident that we would be stronger on day two than some of the other teams. We both said that a top ten 10 finish place would be great too. After a bit of thinking I said to Graeme "I have a plan for day two". "What is it?" he asked. "We shall just run down whoever is in front of us and see how well we do". A bit arrogant perhaps, or confident, depending on your view point, but to do well in sporting events you have to believe in yourself and I did believe in my team. Outside the tent we heard the pitter patter of raindrops on the canvas. It had been forecast for heavy rain that night and it was not wrong. At around 9pm Graeme paid the loo a visit and he came back in to say that a team had just come in from the hill. They had been out for 12 hours. It would have been a hard day for them and they must have got lost to have taken that long.
I didnít sleep too well and I listened to the soothing sounds of the rain on the tent as I lay all nicely warm and dry in my sleeping bag. I know from experience that I can perform quite adequately without sleep for 24 hours, I am a bit of an insomniac so the not sleeping didnít worry me too much. Before we knew it the familiar sound of the pipes was wafting though the camp site as the 5am revel was played. We lay in our sleeping bags for the next 45 minutes. The wind had dropped, the rain was now lighter and we could see a swarm of midges crawling on the outside of the tent. We cooked a breakfast of instant porridge and tea without opening the tent. We then dressed and packed as much kit as we could. Before we broke into the world outside the tent we covered ourselves with insect repellent and put on midge hoods to keep the little pests away, then it was out into the open. We packed the tent down but as it was wet it weighed a little more than ideal, still, everybody else was in the same boat. The large tent pegs were hidden in the bushes. I joked that somebody might one day turn up to camp and find they had left their pegs at home only to find the ones we left.After eating the food on the previous day and losing the heavy pegs, my bag for day two felt positively light! As we made our way towards the start line I joined the very long queue for the portaloos. We made the start with a few minutes to spare and then the rain stopped so we quickly removed our waterproofs. Perfect!
We got our count down to go. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and we were off. Immediately after we crossed the start line we each picked up a piece of paper with our 6 digit grid reference numbers on for todayís course. We set off after team number 12 in front of us. Our Swedish friends were wearing number 14 and just behind us. We worked hard and by the time we were at the first CP we had caught up with team 10 having passed 12 and 11. Our Swedish competitors were right with us. To be fair there was little naví involved in this first CP and it was all uphill.
We were now leading a little group of around 5 teams, although as we ran the gap between us and all the other teams started to get a little larger. It was obvious to me and Graeme that we had the legs to outrun the other teams should we choose; nice position to be in. We hit the next CP with no problems and all the other teams just followed us. We realised that they would just keep following us, relying on Graemeís navigating and this annoyed him. We stopped at the top of the next col and looked at the map. Graeme said to me "Lets make out we are lost and let them take the lead." We can outrun them when we wish anyway. With a bit of luck they will take the wrong route and we can lose a couple of teams. The other teams caught up with us at the col and all promptly stopped. We looked at the map pointing at things on it making out we were unsure of the way. The other teams then started looking at their maps, standing around us. Team 10 suddenly set off dropping left down in a diagonal line and the other teams followed. We just stood and watched them. At last Graeme said "Come on, lets go. That team 10 seem to know what they are doing". We now followed them, running at the back of the group.
After 15 minutes of running Graeme said they had gone wrong. We stopped and he looked at the map. "They have turned up the wrong valley.". There were two valleys running parallel to each other. They had all turned up the first one but we needed the second one. We tried to slip off the back without any of the other teams noticing us and took a 90 degree turn heading to the right valley. We thought we had got away with it, but then I noticed that the Swedes must have been keeping one eye on us as they also had dropped off the group and were running towards us. I said to Graeme "So much for team 10 knowing what they are doing."We found the next CP and there were a lot of other teams around it too. Team 10 had managed to get to the CP too and I had a quick chat with them. They were from Ireland. That made for an international theme in the race for a top 10 finish. We now had a slog up through heather on a steady climb to the top of a col. The map showed the CP on the top of a big summit. The contour lines were very close together indicting only one thing, an awfully hard climb. Finding it would be no problem, getting to it would be the fun part. We walked up through the heather trying to find the best route following deer trails and filling my water bottle as I crossed a stream. I spoke to another mixed team as we climbed up and they were pleased when I said we were part of the racing start as they were also in the same class as us. Climbing, I missed my footing in the undergrowth slipping and trapping my right leg in some rocks. I cursed while extracting myself but found I had no more damage than a grazed shin and bloody knee.
By ĺ of the way up we had dropped team 10 and all others apart from the Swedes who stuck to us like limpets. On reaching the top of the col we were faced with the mountain right in front of us on the top of which the CP was sited. It was just one huge chunk of sandstone rock with what looked at first to be no way up its almost vertical sides. Behind me I heard one of the Swedes say "They canít possibly think we are going to climb up that can they?" Yes they do I thought. Maol Chean Dearg is a 933m Munro, what a great place to put a CP and there was no way the course planners were going to let us get though day two without one big climb at least. As we approached the mountain from the South/South West there was no obvious way up, although there is a path on the north east side.
We set off running down towards the valley from the top of the col where we were standing. From the valley we would have to pick a way to climb up to the summit. As we set off we put up a herd of red deer hinds, me and Graeme felt right at home. We picked up a good path in the valley bottom and headed west along it for a while, looking up at what looked like a cliff of sandstone above us. We could see only one way up, a narrow terrace cut across the mountain from west to east. This then turned into a gully just before the top. We left the path, heading to the bottom of the only route we could see to the top. I checked the time on my watch as I planned on timing this climb. As I looked up I thought 11/2 Yewbarrows. Yewbarrow is a hill in the Lake District and it has a tough climb out of Wasdale which is very steep. Not as steep and long as the one we faced but thinking of it this way helped me mentally.
I popped in my mouth a couple of blocks of Kendal Mint cake which is almost pure sugar and gives you a big spike in energy but I donít find this a problem if I am burning it immediately with a big climb. It helps you power up to the top. The climb was a hands and knees job, a scramble all the way to the top. We were first climbing on grass and looking back below us shortly after we had started, the valley looked full of other runners all heading for us! There was nobody ahead. Me and Graeme both climbed at our own pace. The two Swedes pulled a little ahead of me and me ahead of Graeme. The rest of the pack were gaining on us during the climb. As we got further up the ground became loose and while looking for a hand- or foot-hold it was easy to dislodge a rock which would fall away, gaining great speed while heading for the others below us. I was trying my best not to knock any rocks onto Graeme and the others but if I did dislodge one I would shout out a warning and watch to make sure that it didnít hit anybody. Those below me and above me were doing exactly the same. This could get messy, I thought.When I eventually made the gully the left side was blocked with snow leaving the right side with only loose rock for a footing. Even the gully walls were of little help; if you tried to take a handhold off them the rock would come away like slate in your hand. I climbed up with snow on one side and a rock wall the other. This was getting tricky, although I have been in worse spots to be fair, but I was doing my best not to knock anything down onto those below as I went up as carefully as I could. Then I reached one of the Swedes who had frozen and would not move. Looking to my left I saw we were now above the snow and that there was a strip of grass again which would offer better foot- and hand-holds with less chance of dislodging rocks.
I encouraged the Swede to work his way across the gully towards the left and onto the grass. He did so slowly, bit by bit. I thought, if he slips he will take me with him all the way to the bottom. Once on a better footing he got his confidence back and started to climb up and I followed. Not long after I heard shouts from below us, a woman was stuck just in front of Graeme. I shouted down to get on the grass and they acknowledged me. It was later to transpire that she had slipped back down the gully and managed to stop herself but not before grazing her side; it could have been much worse.
We reached the top only to find the electronic checkpoint dibber was not working. In this situation you write down itís unique serial number on a piece of paper to prove you visited the CP and I wrote down "5AM", or SAM as I used to remember it in case we lost the paper. I waited. Some other lads, team 8, came to the CP and as they got near I said "CP 160 lads?" They said "no CP 154". "Oh you must have come to the wrong one" I said. There was a look of total confusion on their faces for a minute before they worked out I was joking and I said "No, not really. It is 154, but it isnít working." They eyed me with suspicion and I said "Honest, its not working. You will have to write the number down." They tried to dib anyway, but then so would I, before writing the number down.
Once me and Graeme were back together we set off descending the mountain on the North East side via a small path that switch-backed its way down the steep face. This descent in fell running terms is called "technical", to everybody else it means it is steep, rough and rocky. Luckily I like technical descents. I soon found that rather than following the path as it zig zagged down it was quicker to go straight down the face itself. We soon caught and overtook team 8 making us, of course, 8th in the race. We also left behind 4 or 5 other teams. The steep descent gave way to a more gentle one and the next CP was on the edge of a small loch.We got to the CP with no other teams in sight. I was keen for us to get away from it so not to give the teams following a clue to its location. There was a path going left round the loch and I headed down it immediately after dibbing. As we went left round the Loch team 8 found the CP and went right around the Loch. Looking on the map both ways looked equal distance, but it would turn out the right path was better, allowing for quicker progress.
We were now "bog trotting" again, walking though water logged ground covered with reeds and rushes and trying to avoid the small ponds and wettest bits. You canít really run easily in this so it is a case of walking as fast as you can and I was having to work hard to stay with Graeme. Team 8 were pulling away and behind us the Swedes were catching us up. By the time we had cleared the bogs onto some better running ground the Swedes were back with us, but it wonít be for too long. We found the next CP easily and from here on it was all downhill to the finish with just two more CPs to collect en route.
We were now barrelling down a long grassy bank heading for a farm track that would lead us to the next CP, Graeme was running 10 yards to my right side when he suddenly disappeared. I didnít know where he had gone and I stopped and shouted him. He said he was OK and appeared again. He had tripped and fallen into a gully with a stream in the bottom but by incredible luck it must have been the only burn in the highlands not to have rocks in the bottom! If there had been he could have been hurt but, back on his feet, we were flying again and our Swedish Nemeses were not far behind!
We picked up the farm track and were still heading downhill. That is an advantage of being better at coming downhill; you always know that almost all hill races, irrespective of length, are going to finish with a downhill to the finish line. On the good running of the farm track we were able to use our speed to pull away from the other teams. This is an advantage I find myself with in a lot of hill races. Because I still run the roads as well as the hills it means you keep good pure speed when the conditions underfoot allow. Pure hill runners lose some of this in my opinion if they do no road/track running.
The CP was on a stone wall by a gateway, easy to find, and we were through it in seconds. We were now running on a flat track and we crossed over the main road, the finish being only 1km of flat running away and with just one CP before then. The next CP was on a bridge. You couldnít really miss it. We were running on a farm track with fences either side. I was encouraging Graeme to up the pace. He said his hamstrings were tightening and he darenít push more in case they cramped up. I kept looking over my shoulder to see where our competitors were. I could see them and while they were way back they did seem to be closing. We crossed another main road then ran though the car park where we had parked 2 days before. The marquee and finish were in sight. I looked back again and I could see the Swedes. I thought, if they catch us I wonder if I could rugby tackle both of them to the ground then get up and outsprint them to the finish. In the end we made the finish 30 seconds ahead of them. As we ran in the crowds cheered us in the final straight. We dibbed for the last time as we crossed the finish and then handed the dibbers over to be downloaded. We waited with bated breath for the result. Had any teams passed us on the hill by taking a different route and we were further back than we thought? We just didnít know. The paper slip with our times on was handed back with the words "Well done lads." We checked the results - 9th overall in Class and fastest male veteran team over the course, although we were knocked back to second due to the age handicap system which is used. Still, we were very happy with both placings. A member of another team was arguing with the organisers. He and his partner had dibbed a control 15 minutes apart so obviously were not together at that point. Teams have to dib within two minutes of each other. Tough I thought, you should have worked as a team.
Graeme said afterwards that he would have been very unhappy if the Swedes had beaten us after blatantly following us for two days and I told him of my thoughts of rugby tackling them to the ground. We laughed about it; allís well that ends well.
We had a washdown in a barrel of cold water, put some fresh clothes on and headed back to Wilfís for the free after-event meal. We did have a plan to travel back the next day but as we had finished in good time we stopped for the prize-giving then headed off on the long drive home on a big high.Both of us had a great event and were well pleased with our placing.
Eildons 3 Hills Race 2014 Sat. 21st June 2014
1 SMITH, Sullivan Cambridge & Coleridge Senior Men 0:36:09
2 ANTHONY, Alasdair Ochil Hill Runners Senior Men 0:36:19
3 NAYLOR, Donald Hunters Bog Trotters Veteran 40 Men 0:38:20
4 FULTON, David Hunters Bog Trotters Senior Men 0:38:53
5 JOHNSTON, Fergus Gala Harriers Senior Men 0:39:09
6 STEWART, Iain Westerlands CCC Senior Men 0:39:09
7 HAMMOND, John Carnethy Hill RC Senior Men 0:40:34
8 KEMP, Alexander Senior Men 0:41:13
9 BUCHANAN, Roy Portobello RC Veteran 40 Men 0:41:33
10 WARD, Dave Hunters Bog Trotters Senior Men 0:42:27
11 ALLSOP, David Arran Runners Veteran 40 Men 0:42:29
12 GLAVES, Lachlan Senior Men 0:42:34
13 MURRAY, Keith Teviotdale H. Veteran 50 Men 0:42:48
14 MCGOWAN, Jamie Gala Harriers Senior Men 0:42:59
15 LONGMORE, Rory Annan & District AC Veteran 50 Men 0:43:09
16 DIVER, Michael Clydesdale H. Veteran 40 Men 0:44:00
17 SHORT, Kenny Teviotdale H. Veteran 40 Men 0:44:12
18 TAYLOR, Michael Hunters Bog Trotters Senior Men 0:44:43
19 DALGLEISH, Fiona Gala Harriers Veteran 40 Ladies 0:44:57
20 MURPHY, Chrys Gala Harriers Veteran 50 Men 0:45:22
21 PENDRICH, Neil Veteran 40 Men 0:45:35
22 ROONEY, Edmund Lauderdale Limpers Veteran 50 Men 0:45:42
23 MCINTOSH, Shona Hunters Bog Trotters Senior Ladies 0:45:48
24 GIBSON, Peter Gala Harriers Senior Men 0:46:06
25 FAGAN, Rachel Gala Harriers Veteran 40 Ladies 0:46:11
26 DAVIS, Duncan Carnethy Hill RC Veteran 40 Men 0:46:25
27 HUNTER, Russell Senior Men 0:46:39
28 BUCHANAN, Duncan Veteran 40 Men 0:47:05
29 CLARKE, Martin Gala Harriers Veteran 50 Men 0:47:10
30 JOHNSTON, Alan Gala Harriers Veteran 40 Men 0:47:37
31 BOWDEN, James Hunters Bog Trotters Senior Men 0:47:43
32 BRYDON, Derrick Gala Harriers Veteran 40 Men 0:47:54
33 CHALMERS, Robbie Senior Men 0:48:18
34 DUNCAN, Andrew Veteran 40 Men 0:48:20
35 ROBSON, John Annan & District AC Veteran 50 Men 0:48:33
36 BARBOUR, Alastair Senior Men 0:49:58
37 IRELAND, Douglas Jog Earlston Senior Men 0:50:19
38 WILSON, Alex Veteran 50 Men 0:50:32
39 CONNOR, Julia Tinto Hill Runners Veteran 40 Ladies 0:50:34
40 KNOX, Tommy Gala Harriers Veteran 50 Men 0:50:40
41 WEIR, Jonathan Senior Men 0:50:44
42 TAYLOR, Stephen Chapel Allerton Runners Veteran 40 Men 0:50:47
43 HULME, Martin Corstophine AAC Veteran 50 Men 0:50:57
44 SWANSON, Alan Carnethy Hill RC Senior Men 0:51:19
45 DUNCAN, David Ochil Hill Runners Veteran 50 Men 0:51:24
46 HALL, Kevin Veteran 40 Men 0:51:35
47 MOFFAT, John Highland HR Veteran 50 Men 0:52:03
48 PURVES, James Gala Harriers Veteran 50 Men 0:53:15
49 COLLINS, Trevor Carnethy Hill RC Veteran 50 Men 0:53:48
50 MACGOWAN, Ben Senior Men 0:54:08
51 HAINES, Florence Edinburgh Univ OC Senior Ladies 0:54:17
52 PENNY, Alastair Stirling University Senior Men 0:54:23
53 GODFREY, Kevin Lothian RC Veteran 40 Men 0:54:36
54 LAUDER, Steven Run Duns Veteran 40 Men 0:55:21
55 SLOAN, Robin Carnethy Hill RC Veteran 50 Men 0:56:26
56 SAMWELL, Brian Veteran 50 Men 0:57:19
57 COLTMAN, Alan Teviotdale H. Veteran 40 Men 0:58:11
58 BLACKLEY, Lisa Senior Ladies 0:58:18
59 LOCKIE, Paul Teviotdale H. Veteran 40 Men 0:59:17
60 PRIESTLEY, Janet Annan & District AC Veteran 50 Ladies 0:59:32
61 DALGLEISH, Lisa Jog Earlston Veteran 40 Ladies 0:59:56
62 CREIGHTON, Alan Annan & District AC Veteran 50 Men 1:00:28
63 LITTLE, Judith Senior Ladies 1:02:27
64 SIMPSON, Greg Veteran 40 Men 1:03:02
65 MACVICAR, Suzanne Senior Ladies 1:05:53
66 KEEFE, Caroline Jog Earlston Veteran 50 Ladies 1:05:53
67 CASS, Pauline Jog Earlston Senior Ladies 1:05:53
68 HUTCHISON, Struan Senior Men 1:06:31
69 PATTILLO, James Teviotdale H. Veteran 50 Men 1:07:00
70 ROBSON, Jean Annan & District AC Veteran 50 Ladies 1:07:06
71 KING, Shelagh Gala Harriers Veteran 50 Ladies 1:08:55
72 DOUGLAS-HAMILTON, Alasdair Veteran 50 Men 1:11:53
1 Hunters Bog Trotters 17
2 Gala Harriers 38
3 Carnethy Hill RC 70
4 Teviotdale H. 82
5 Annan & District AC 101
1 Gala Harriers 18
2 Jog Earlston 31
LAMM 7th/8th June
Mabie 6 miles trail race results.
Gordon 2nd ď55Ē, Rory classed as 1st ď45Ē (.. John is just too young, but his day will come...).
Mabie Trail Race 2014 Results
Position Name Club Cat Time
8 Andrew Rae Dalbeattie Running Club 43:25
9 John McRobert Dalbeattie Running Club 43:46
10 Sandy Shankland Dumfries Running Club 43:54
11 Andrew Webster Hardrock Hoodlums 44:23
12 Sean Connor Galloway Harriers 44:54
13 Norman Neilson Dumfries Running Club 45:10
14 Iain McMurtrie Dalbeattie Running Club 45:38
15 Stuart Clark 46:21
16 David Little 46:26
17 Ranjit Thomas Dumfries Running Club 46:29
18 Neil Jeffrey Dumfries Harriers 46:32
19 Hazel Smyth Dumfries Harriers 46:37
20 Gordon Vivers ADAC ...... 46:45
21 John Green ADAC 47:10
22 Paul Harrington 47:23
23 Malcolm Lyons 47:26
24 Emma Knowles Dumfries Harriers 47:35
25 Keith Ainslie Dumfries Harriers 47:48
26 Sean McMinn Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers 48:20
27 Andrew Black 48:30
28 Raymond Quinn 48:33
29 Emma Laverie Edinburgh AC 49:18
30 Euan Duff 49:40
31 Samuel Nordkil 50:14
32 Peter Horsell Galloway Harriers 50:21
33 Jennifer Lapping Tynedale Harriers & AC 50:26
34 Piotr Richter 51:03
35 Graham Gillooly 51:24
36 Ian Hughan Cairnsmore Trailblazers 51:35
37 Catherine Niblock Rikís Bike Shed 51:49
38 Mark Brown 52:59
39 Frank Stewart 52:59
40 Alexander MacDonald 53:24
41 Lynn Grieve FBM Fitness Academy 54:31
42 Sue Jeffrey Dumfries Running Club 54:44
43 Stig Nordkil 55:19
44 Andrew Robb 55:29
45 Stephen Duffy 55:44
46 Ian Sandilands 55:58
47 Neil Moffat 56:14
48 Stewart Ferguson 56:17
49 Hayley Clark 56:21
50 Anne MacFarlane 56:28
51 Lynne Thomson 56:50
52 Frank Skachill Dumfries Running Club 56:53
53 Saki Nakamura 56:55
54 Carol Elliot Dumfries Harriers 58:15
55 Sean McGleenan 58:22
56 Garry Hawthorne 59:11
57 Gail Earl Dumfries Harriers 59:19
58 Fiona Jardine Dumfries Running Club 60:47
59 John Quinn 60:47
60 Angela Dalzell 62:03
61 Vicky Hart Dumfries Running Club 63:58
62 Kirsteen Mitchell 64:23
63 Tracey McBlain 64:23
64 Jane Stewart 67:06
65 Patricia Lilly 67:15
66 Colin Stewart 67:16
67 Jill Fraser Hartree Harriers 69:47
68 Paula Hingley 71:33
69 Colin Campbell 71:37
70 Carrol Finlay Rons Runners 77:09
71 Maureen Kelly Leverets 83:16
72 Jacqueline Wilson 83:16
73 Leonie Eerman 89:50
Rory has provided his report on his cycling challenge.
SOLWAY SPORTIVE 18th MAY
Personal result:-Rory finished in 6th position
Strong headwinds winds right from the get go at Dumfries round the Criffel / Colvend coast to Dalbeattie, followed by more along the other coast road to Kirkcudbright. However Glenn and I were lucky enough to be started with a really strong group, so worked together & got sheltered for the first half. I was able to contribute to the workload on the hills, but on the flat sections no choice but to sit in out of the wind. After the halfway point on the road to Gelston these guys REALLY put the hammer down for sustained periods, and the group splintered one by one. I had to go above and beyond just to hang on to the wheels, but knew if I lost contact it would be all over. So hung in there & eventually there were just 4, then 3, then 1 guy saw a quick opportunity & got away by himself. The other 2 of us worked together over the last few hills from Haugh of Urr to Lochfoot, then on the last climb my left quad cramped right up, and my pal got away (on his super-duper Colnago, youíd have loved it) Ė my leg briefly seized up & thought Iíd definitely have to climb off at one point, but drank remaining water, got the speed up again, and was Ok to the finish.
Glenn was unlucky in that heíd had to put in a major effort between Colvend and Dalbeattie, as he briefly lost a small gap, and found he had to chase down our speeding group all by himself. He did really well to close the gap into these winds, and get back in the group, but it must have taken it out of him, and he wasnít quite recovered when the group surged on the Dundrennan uphill stretch - so he lost contact again. Still he was first V55 and well pleased, as he should be. On another day it could have gone the other way, just the way it panned out on the roads.