Report from the Hon. Handicapper
The Carnethy 5 in the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh is one of my favourite fell races, a 6 miles, 2500ft of ascent covering the summits of Scald Law, South Black Hill, East & West Kip and Carnethy and the 45th race this year, so just a year younger than yours truly! The race description from the Scottish Hill Racing sums up the race pretty well, steep climbs and descents with plenty of fast running in there too:
The startline is something to behold. 500 runners like extras from Braveheart lined up for battle, fittingly at the site of The Battle of Roslin. The race starts with a chaotic charge across flat marshland for the gateway to the hill. Then steep climbing up Scald Law in a heather trod where passing is awkward. Once at the summit of Scald Law you are exposed to any freezing cold northerly winds for the ridge run to South Black and the Kips. From the top of West Kip drop rapidly to pick up the trail and fast running down to the Howe.
Once down at the Howe the climb back up looks a little daunting. Gradual climbing leads into a sheltered gully which steepens until it spits you out onto the ridge where you can see there is fair bit more climbing to reach the summit of Carnethy. Once around the huge summit cairn drop sharply onto a spur, then steeply down rough heather with buckling legs, through the gate, then gather all remaining strength for the dash back across the marsh to the finishing mound.
After a quiet end to January training and racing wise I decided not to push hard on the mad dash to the bottom of the first climb to Scald Law. This however isn’t the best race tactic at Carnethy, as the deep heather and where there is one, narrow path means that passing anyone involves wasting lots of energy, which I didn’t think was a good idea. After Scald Law it’s a lot less congested and you can settle into your own pace for the next four summits.
I was surprised and pleased for the support of a couple of “come on/well done Otley” shouts from spectators and Caron managed to run round & shout me on at three points of the course too. I was hoping for a sub hour finish, but was a little disappointed with a time of 1:01:10, but not too much considering my recent training, finishing in 70th position.
The race was won by Andrew Douglas, Inverclyde AC in a time of 49:23, first woman was Charlotte Morgan, 56.46 from the host club Carnethy. The current English Fell champ. Tom Addison, 6th, helped Helm Hill take the team prize, a Claymore sword! south of the border to Kendal. See full results here and a funny punters guide to the pre-race favourites for the race here.
Ps. Thoughts on the recent BBC report that running fast isn’t good for you and that a speed of 5 miles per hour for 2 and half hours a week is the best for your health? I’m pretty sure all of the that seven over 70’s who finished on Saturday would argue with that one… including Jimmy Jardine whose done all 45 races! and was 495th / 515 finishers.