Up to Kingussie on Saturday for the Creag Bheag race organised by our very own Manny Gorman. Despite the fact that there were several other races that day he got a field of 36 I think, which is a good advance on last year but this race deserves a much larger entry. Its a short race around 5K or so with about 800 feet of climb. Manny himself wasn’t running which meant he has to be seriously crocked because he usually runs with at least one limb missing and a collapsed lung to make things interesting. There were a good few Westies in the entry, Brenda, myself, Luke A, Val B, Ros, and Kevin with ex-Westie Jim Hall also running. Hill running is full of conmen keen to tell you how they’ve risen from their sickbed to try this race against doctor’s orders and sure enough old Hall and Val are both of that ilk with tales of woe that would bring tears to a glass eye. The race starts and finishes at the foot of a steep wee grassy bank and then after around 150m of tarmac you’re into the woods on narrow grassy paths. From the start Alastair Anthony and Bob Wiseman of Ochils were heading the race and the ladies lead was being contested by Neah Evans of Shettleston ( though her real spiritual home club should be Westies) and Eilidh Wardlaw of the Edinburgh Jobbie Squad. Conditions were perfect and the route is a real delight through the woods for the first half with a few sections with rocks and tree roots to keep you literally on your toes. You then turn onto the ridge for the main climb which this year was much easier due to path improvement works which replaced several boggy bits with excellent stone steps. I was trying to catch Colin Wilson on the climb while keeping his wife Joan behind me when I caught sight of Jim Hall climbing quickly and Val B wasn’t too far behind. This was just the spur required to force my aging carcass to the top and off on the descent ahead of said JH. The descent is great, a couple of wee dodgy bits but mainly good underfoot with few problems. At the bottom you’re directed back into the woods with a small climb then undulating path for about half a mile or so before you’re back on the outward route with the short road section then the wee steep bank to finish. Didn’t catch Colin but held off the chasing pack so was a happy man.
The race was wone by Alastair Anthony in a new record of just under 26 minutes beating Manny’s old record by over a minute. Bob Wiseman as second and our own Luke was in the first 6 I think and got the V40 prize. First lady was Neah Evans with Eilidh Wardlaw second and Ros Evans won the ladies V60 prize, not surprising really as she has already retained her SHR V60 championship for 2013. Ros finished looking like the victim of some domestic abuse after taking a tumble in the last section of woods and scratching her face quite badly but should be ok in a few days hopefully. Manny had marked the course brilliantly but despite that a few young fast chaps had somehow managed to go wrong. Possibly Einstein’s Relativity is involved, at the speed I’m going the route was really obvious whereas at their pace, close to the speed of light, the space-time continuum is warped and they get lost ……or maybe they were just tubes.
This is one of the best short races in the calendar and its run by one of our own. Next year get a couple of carloads together in Sodom and Gomorrah, the west End, and come up to Kingussie to partake of its delights.