Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lucy's 1st Munro (and my 3rd)

It was a lovely day today, so Lucy and I headed out through Comrie to the car park at Invergeldie which is at the start of the easy way up Ben Chonzie (pronounced Hone-zee). We had an absolutely brilliant walk/run to the top, where I took this photo, then an even better run back down. The whole trip took 1 hour 59 minutes and 54 seconds - as you might have guessed it was a bit of a sprint finish over the last 400 metres or so.

Ben Chonzie is our nearest Munro. I found this description of it on 'Munromagic' (

Ben Chonzie is a solitary Munro at the head of Glen Turret, but is normally ascended from Glen Lednock to the SW as there are tracks leading high on its slopes. Ben Chonzie is a heather clad hill with moderate inclines leading to gentle grass slopes on the crests of the summit ridge. The biggest problem with Ben Chonzie would be finding the summit but for the line of iron fence posts on the crest of the "L" shaped summit ridge which lead you there. There are crags E of the summit.. Ben Chonzie is famous for its many mountain hares.

Well, we found the summit ok by following the iron fence posts, and we saw quite a few of the mountain hares which looked more like small sheep than rabbits. The views at the top were absolutely brilliant, particularly looking back down Loch Turret to Crieff. I'm sure there would be a great run from the car park at Loch Turret, along the east side of the Loch, up the steep slope to the top of Ben Chonzie, down the route described above to Invergeldie, down through the trails to Comrie, then over the hills and back to the starting point at Loch Turret car park. Maybe we could get a WHW training run over that route some time?

The picture below shows me at the top of my 3rd Munro. 3 in 42 years - at this rate I think I am unlikely to complete all 284, at least any time soon. I have previously done Ben Lomond (when I was still at school) and Beinn Ghlas.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nice to Cannes

Last weekend allybea, Phil T, Liz T and I were in the south of France for the first ever Nice to Cannes marathon, staying with my brother in Antibes. What a contrast to the depressing weather here: the daytime temperature was a very pleasant 20 degrees or so, warm enough to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, but not too hot for running. I could certainly get used to that.

The marathon was a great event, well organised and passing through some beautiful parts of the Cote D'Azur, although I'm sorry to report that I didn't have a very good run. My back had been bothering me a bit in the week prior to the race and after about 7 km it started to hurt quite a lot. I decided to go into 'just finish' mode, and spent the next 35 km shuffling along and feeling generally uncomfortable. The section up to the half way point was a real drag, with loads of runners passing me, but things improved a bit after that and I managed to keep going at more or less the same pace until the finish in Cannes. My time was 3.36 - definitely not one of my better marathons - but at least I managed to scrape into the top 2,000 of the 8,300 finishers. Phil T finished in 3.21, having found the last 10 km a real struggle.

Despite my poor run it was a first class weekend. We spent most of Saturday in Nice, which is a fantastic place, then spent a bit of time in Cannes after the race, enjoying a few leisurely hours in a pavement cafe having a beer and some lunch - a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It was also great to spend a bit of time with my brother.

Since arriving back I haven't done much running at all, due to a combination of a heavy cold, a busy week at work, a sore back and a general lack of motivation. Running wise I've had quite a busy year: I've completed 2 ultras (the 24 hour race and the Highland Fling, as well as my unsuccessful WHW attempt), 4 marathons and 6 half marathons, so I suppose my body is ready for a bit of a break. There is not much coming up in the way of races, although the WHW training runs are due to start at the end of November, so this seems like as good a time as any to take it a bit easier.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


There must be a new edition of myRace out soon. I wonder if I will be in it this time?

Monday, November 03, 2008


Last week I was saddened to hear of the untimely death of one of my Strathearn Harriers clubmates, Simon Wake. Simon was one of the club's finest hill runners, regularly competing in various events on the hills and making the occasional appearance on the roads. He was a member of our winning team in the Comrie Hills relay last year, and this year competed in various races such as the Inverness half marathon, the Three Peaks Race and the Highland Cross. Simon was always at the centre of club activities - he was a regular at the club training runs, and served as social secretary until recently - and I will always remember how welcome he made me feel when I first joined the club, as he did with all new members. During the summer we were shocked to hear that he had been diagnosed with cancer, and completely devastated to hear of his death last Thursday. My thoughts are with his wife, Shelagh, and the children, at this very difficult time.