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Carnethy 5 hill race

14/02/2015

On Saturday February 14th, six members of DRC made the journey to Penicuik to run the Carnethy 5 hill race... Mo Khan reports...

As the mist cleared over the hills, we were joined by over 500 runners at the start line, making this the second highest entry in the race’s 45 year history.

The race involves 5 summit climbs over the Pentland hills, giving a total ascent of 750m in just under 10km. The start is fast despite boggy terrain and a reasonable climb. This leads to the foot of Scald Law and the first of the climbs. This ascent seems much harder than it should considering the legs are still fresh. I was slightly disheartened to be overtaken by a Carnethy runner attired in a kilt and sporran (novel choice of kit bag) who seemed to be bounding uphill rather effortlessly.

Once the summit of Scald Law is reached, it is slightly easier going for the next 3 hills. Approaching the top of South Black, we had great views over to East and West Kip. There is a fast descent from West Kip, giving opportunity for overtaking. Whilst losing height though, runners are ever mindful that they will have to regain all the altitude lost on a strength sapping climb up Carnethy Hill. The last climb is made more painful by virtue of a false summit, which often leads to unsuspecting runners uttering expletives loudly when they realise there is still a substantial climb to go. The final descent of the race is over rough heather and scree, before reaching the field that leads to the start/finish line.

The cool temperature and mild wind led to fast times. The winner was Andrew Douglas from Inverclyde AC in 49m 23s. Charlotte Morgan was the 3rd fastest female of all time, winning the ladies race in 56m 46s.

Despite nursing an ankle injury, Craig Malcolmson showed his experience and strength in the hills. He was the first DRC runner back in a time of 1hr 09m 04s. Not far behind was Seb Pflanz, who came in 1hr 12m 26s. He was pleased with his run, especially as he managed to pick up several positions on the descents. Ranjit, who had limited himself to one change of footwear, was next to finish. Despite focussing on road running with the London marathon approaching, he had a solid run, coming in at 1hr 23m 23s. Not far behind him were Sue and I. Both of us were pushing each other all the way. Sue briefly took the lead on the approach to the Carnethy summit but a speedy final descent helped me overtake her. I finished in 1hr 25m 03s whilst Sue came in 1hr 25m 50s. Kerry continues to notch up her tally of Scottish hill races. She had a thoroughly enjoyable race, finishing in 1hr 37m 23s. Having finished the race unscathed, she almost succumbed to a bad injury whilst disembarking the bus after returning to the school hall!

Special thanks are due to Carnethy HRC who put in a huge effort to organise this event, and to the race marshals. The DRC runners had an enjoyable day and appreciated the post race school dinners.

Mo.

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