As far as Scottish Hill Racing goes the Carnethy 5 is the blue ribbon event of the year, run in the Pentland hills just south of Edinbugh it contains 2,500ft of climb in just under 6 miles and annually attracts a very high standard of runner from around the country. This year it was no different, with current english fell running champion Tom Addison not even able to make the top 5, trailing the winner Andrew Douglas by 3 minutes. The course itself is a tough one, which is reflected in the winning times (Gavin Bland holds the record at 46 minutes, which no one has got near in 16 years) and contains next to no flat running. Terrain wise it reminded me a lot of the howgills, in respect to the very steep sided, grassy slopes, however where they differ is with the thick and coarse heather spattered around them which makes running both up and down these hills very difficult. The last descent in particular is treacherously steep and alternates between shale and slippery/trippy heather. I saw more than a few people take a nasty tumble down here and there were a fair few bloodied knees at the finish line.
Personally the race was a bit of a disaster, as my legs seized up half way up the first climb, making the subsequent 4 climbs somewhat unpleasant. In hindsight 1 week was probably not enough recovery for me after a hard run at Rombalds Stride the previous weekend. Ex-Abbey Sam Alexander had a good race though finishing in 40th place, which given the standard of the field was a great result. Full results here (you’ll need to scroll down for a while to find my name….)