Saturday, May 27, 2006

Eastern Cairngorms Challenge 27 May 2006

As the first race event in this location you might expect a couple of glitches, but a suprisingly good race was had by all...

Very showery day, with heavy rain over the previous days and on approach to the start line, but only occasional drizzle during the race itself.

From Glen Clova, the racers headed up Jock's Road toward Crow Cragies. The track is pretty good when you're on it, but half the field were like sheep and missed the highest checkpoint by not staying on the path! Both routes had about the same ascent and distance, but probably less boggy on the path. The ~65 runners then raced down the steep headwall to the Lochcallater valley and eventually onto a grassy plain before joining the well constructed path adjacent to the Loch. At Lochcallater Lodge most participants collected bikes, but some hardy souls carried on and ran the last 3 miles to the finish. Leg power also carried us, more slowly, to the highland games arena in Braemar for post-race pasta.

Overall, the field was remarkably close together, although the major descent did separate a few folk out. The bike at the end was a novelty and certainly sped things up a bit, but runners (who hired bikes, especially) may think that expense and transport hassle are not really worth it for 3 miles... Anyway, the route is highly recommended and fingers crossed the race is held next year too, perhaps with enough cosmics to give Forfar Runners a run for their money.