Right, you’ve read the shite about the relays but that’s not gonna be a flash in the pan. Oh no. There’s going to be a heck of a lot to get through this year, it’s only January after all and already you’re reading your second batch of what I like to call ‘non-fact based facts’. I’m going to struggle to keep the content fresh and original, I’ll warn you now. Still, with the help of some tricks learnt at university, chief amongst them the housewives favourite of ‘cut and paste’, we’ll all be able to create some speculative masterpieces for your collective head scratching.
Introductions aside here’s the latest in the ‘Punter’s Guide’ series…….Carnethy 5. Yup for you readers in England we’re moving increasingly North of the border this year (hence the Devil’s Burdens Relay guide earlier in the week) for two reasons, 1) I live up here and 2) it’ll help publicise a racing scene that in some cases feels a lot harder than that south of the border. I’ll have a think of why I reckon that is and maybe blog about it at some point. That’d be nice eh?
So what’s Carnethy 5 then? Only the bastard season opener for Scottish fell racing you ignorant swine!! At least, it’s the season opener for ignorant swine’s! There’s a few more even earlier ‘season openers’ (see Devil’s Burdens) but this is the one that gets the willy tingling for the big dogs.
Carnethy 5 AM 6m 2,500ft climb
Carnethy 5 so called NOT because it’s five miles long, which in my naivety I thought, but because it features five summits. Ahhhhhhh. I’ve been on a quick shufty of this one and it’s actually prettttttyy tough. Packs in a lot of running in a fair bit of climbing in not much distance. It’s £15 to get in (Carnethy HRC and their sound business acumen again!……..relax I’m only joking) and due to popularity there’s a cheeky ballot system to get through. It’s all very ‘European’.
Scald Law’s your first hill and you’ll be glad to know it’s the highest (that’s a FACT by the way verified by personal experience in that it felt like it was the highest due to the amount of effort it required from me). Straight up off the gun. Over 1,800ft in a smidgen over a mile means you’ll be chewing your knees trying to keep up with the lads and ladies in front. Like bit wavy and undulatey for a little bit as you detour slightly over South Black Hill. An up and a down like a shite, slow roller-coaster has you peering through your tears towards the summit of East Kip, which is followed – quel surprise – by it’s brother, West Kip. By this time you’re only actually about halfway through the race. Where the funk is the rest of it?! You’ve done four out of the five, only Carnethy itself left to come. Don’t worry this last one’s piss. It’s not really, but you didn’t really believe me anyway huh?? There’s a right big scree slope on the backside of Carnethy when you get there. Now in the Lakes you’re not really supposed to run down scree shutes cos you might send some rocks clattering down on the ubiquitous sheep synonymous (English A-Level……GUILTY) with that beautiful part of Britain. I guess it’s the same in Scotland too? Everyone does anyway though and today is no different right? You wanna be flying down this bastard like a coursing dog (watch Snatch if you don’t know what ‘coursing’ is) cos the finish is at the bottom and no one likes a loser. A faint heart never fucked a pig I always say.
The records for this little plum date back quite a few years……16 for the men’s and 13 for the women’s to be precise. You’d do well to be beating Gavin Bland’s (Borrowdale) 46mins 56secs and Angela Mudge’s (Carnethy) 54mins 20secs but I’m sure there’s plenty who harbour ambitions for it. I’ve certainly got my suspicions, otherwise this blog post would be pretty shit wouldn’t it? Shall we see who they might be?
Orlando Edwards (HBT) – 3/1
Last years winner becomes this years favourite-ish. Yeah so he’s got a film star name, in fact he’s got two first names in his name, but he also appears to be fairly rapid too. A colourful shorts and tighty-whitey wearing man about town to boot.
For – tighty-whitey’s are scientifically proven to improve both running and sexual prowess, both ‘must haves’ for the serious fell runner; a fine face of hair allows said face to remain warm in cold or adverse weather conditions therefore preventing a needless and shameless waste of blood to warm the facial region, where the blood can be better served bringing oxygen to the legs, touche Mr. Edwards; lives in London apparently so extra points for being as far as physically possible from anything resembling a hill; won last year beating some rapid people in the process.
Against – with that name and beard combo he’d be on for an acting career of sorts, running across frozen Scottish hills in February or hustling the red carpet with Gemma Arterton before bumping uglies (can’t believe I just said that….I’m becoming more like my Dad every waking moment) with her off that new Stephen Hawking film….no not the ginger one; tighty-whitey’s……how old are you?!?
Hector Haines (HBT) – 3/1
My Mum once told me two sage bits of advice when I was younger that I’ve tried to abide by ever since, firstly, never, EVER trust short men or tall women, and secondly, people whose surname begins with the same letter as their first name will always break your heart.
For – won some BIG races last year in frankly ridonkulous times, including *deep breath* Ben Lomond, Ochils 2000, new course record at the Isle of Jura (he beat fuckin’ Billy Bland’s record!! Billy bastard Bland!!); he BEAT Billy Bland; strong name that, Hector, like a character from the Illiad, let’s just hope he doesn’t have any achilles problems (get it?!).
Against – will never be allowed to race in the Lakes for what he did to poor Billy, end of.
Rob Jebb (Bingley) – 3/1
Rob Jebb. Robbo. Jebby. The Bingley Rocket. Ok so I made up the last one but it fits.
For – wears the White Rose and so can harness the fabled “Power of Yorkshire”; borrowed his legs from the pistons of a Corvette, hence why he is so good at going uphill and Corvette’s aren’t; you should already know about his cadence (it’s in excess of 1,000,000 rpm and I’m not even making that up); English, well Yorkshire, so needs to get his skates on in Scotland for obvious reasons; yeah he can uphill but you should see him going down one too!
Against – still has those kids of his (but still runs hard); still has that job too (jobs being bad for running); surely his knees will give out soon?
Andrew Fallas (Carnethy) – 4/1
Runs for Carnethy and is called Andrew. He’s not slow either. That’s about the sum of my knowledge of him though. Anyone?
For – is a shareholder in Carnethy PLC and so uses a sound understanding of business principles to develop a world-beating training plan because as everyone knows ‘assisting individuals, corporations, and governments in raising financial capital by underwriting or acting as the client’s agent in the issuance of securities’ is the key to both responsible investment banking and efficient, and effective, running training programmes; can see through the colour black; once ate 19 party-rings in one go cos he felt like it = BAD ASS.
Against – I’ve heard about him, he has a SHR profile thing and I think I’ve seen him once but does he really exist?; works part-time as a pool attendant and erstwhile swimming teacher, it’s great work and it keeps him busy but by heck does it get in the way of his training schedule; thinking about it he WAS at the Donard Challenge British Champs race in N.Ireland last year but the person I thought he was was actually someone else so now I’m really not sure if he exists!
Finlay Wild (Lochaber) – 5/1
The wild man from the Hie-lands. Cuillin ridge record in a time bordering on the insane but what do you expect?
For – there’s no roads/electricity/shops/tapped water in Scotland north of Stirling so poor Finlay has, from a very young age, had to run down from Fort Bill to collect the paper and milk, check on the football scores, change his Lottery numbers and pick his Grandad up from the chippy each week, this of course gives him phenomenal endurance and speed; he looks mad, and so is mad, and no-one hangs around to see what’s gonna happen when a mentalist starts running towards you; check out Morgan Donnelly if you don’t believe me.
Against – this ‘madman’ tactic can backfire of course, if the people running away from you are both faster than you and are heading in the right direction as far as the finish line is concerned then it’s game over sonny; every second Sunday he is out catching haggis for the English tourists….is the Carnethy on one of these days this year?
Jasmin Paris (Carnethy) – 2/1
From what I’ve read, which you can probably guess is not that much given the wild statements being bandied about, she’s been winning pretty much everything this past season. Short of her legs getting so strong that they end up eating her body to feed themselves (it’s happened before – Mr Douglas Bader) I can’t see her not winning this one. But the record?…………yes, probably (ignore what I say later on!)
For – as above; smiles a lot so obviously enjoys her work and if you’re not having fun then what’s the point huh?; local knowledge counts for a lot of course but get this…..there’s some proven race prowess in the hallowed land of Cumbria if you’re prepared to do your research (I’ve got the work experience lad on it now!); on that smiling thingy-bob, it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile – according to Bill Hicks – which means she has more energy to put into running, simples.
Against – nice guys finish last, and I presume that goes for gals too therefore she’s probably going to finish last; you can only have one top dog in a club, Mudgey’s got that covered; had a great season last year so is a definite flash in the pan obviously….right??
Angela Mudge (Carnethy) – 3/1
Names don’t get more Scottish than this huh? Record holder and, having had a quick goosey-gander through the profiles on the oracle of Scottish Hill Racing, the aptly named ‘Scottish Hill Racing’, she’s been there or thereabouts in this race since the dawn of time.
For – knows EVERY SINGLE BLADE OF GRASS on this course, which makes her like ‘Rainman’ but without the crippling autism, or for that matter the off-screen madness that sums up our man in the bush, Russell Crowe; having said that she probably does have Crowey’s mentality but must channel it into her running cos she looks just a little bit too nice?!; probably works in the film industry actually, thinking about it, and so has access to the props and make-up department….what am I trying to say here?……well, she’s pulling off the results of someone half her age *hint hint*, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to surmise that she IS half her age! Mystery solved!
Against – nah just checked with the National Records Office…..you can’t fake that shit; holds the record and let’s face it, it’s not gonna be beaten, Angela knows this so pressure’s off her really; I think she’s busy that day, though I’ve been known to make stuff up.
Sarah McCormack (Moorfoot Runners) – 3/1
If it’s the one I’m thinking of she lives in the Lakes now, little factoid for you, if it’s not the one I’m thinking of then I’m going to spend the next few lines assessing someone that I have literally no clue about. Such is life. We’ll press on regardless.
For – going out with an Irishman = luck of the Irish and a leprechauns sense of trickery can change the outcome of a race in an instant; held the course record at the Wansfell race in 2013 (got spanked this year though), a race that normally attracts a strong old field; founding mother of the tribes of Israel and previously married to Abraham before dumping him for the Irish fella – you try fitting in some training round that responsibility.
Against – if she really is the ex-wife of Abraham that would make her well over 2000 years old – a biological impossibility; you’re only as good as your last race (where she was actually quite good); runs for Moorfoot Runners, which now makes me think that it isn’t the person I’m thinking of…..awkward; yeah according to the Bible she died of grief when Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac (but never did)…..it is DEFINITELY not who I think it is, I couldn’t be more wrong.
Scout Adkin (Moorfoot Runners) – 7/1
Young, pretty and runs…..fast.
For – got a brother that runs just as fast and if the Brownlees (hallowed be thy names) are anything to go by then a little bit of sibling rivalry makes you an Olympic champion (that’s why my brother’s a heroin addict….he’s always gotta go one better!); getting closer and closer to a sub-1hr Carnethy race and between you and me that’s the golden time for a good placing; probably at university so knows how to drink….you can’t call yourself a hill/fell/mountain runner until you can down ten pints of bitter and cycle through a hedge, has a cool name.
Against – probably can’t get out the front door with all the ‘gentleman suitors’ lined up for her hand in marriage; got too much homework to do I’d imagine, or just revs it off, which is a double ‘against’ cos your running career won’t last forever.
So that’s your lot. You can quite clearly see who the strong clubs are in Scotland! Byeeeee.