> 2009 race reports
09/08/09 Glenshee 9 2009 - from John Telfer

John, Paul and Lewis - photo: Wendy Appleby

21 miles 6,000 feet

Lewis Grundy and Paul Appleby followed up on excellent runs at Arrochar in June to finish in 17th and 31st places showing an obvious penchant for rocky Scottish mountains. I managed to convert my DNF at Arrochar into a 51st position out of 69 and also kept my body intact this time.

Conditions were nigh on perfect, warm enough with a bit of cloud and breeze and with no problems with visibility the race posed little in the way of navigational challenges. Starting from the ski centre at Glenshee the race takes in nine Munros and had the added benefit of starting at 2,000 feet. Apart from the first long, gradual climb to the first unpronounceable Munro most of the ascents are in the 300 - 600 feet range meaning that there are plenty of opportunities to keep running if you are able to.

The going underneath from the first to the sixth Munro also varied enormously from good walkers paths, through grassy trods, bog, marsh, heather and boulder field, something for everyone. There then followed the horrors of one near vertical climb of 1,300 feet after the one and only road crossing, 14 miles into the race. It is a slog that makes Borrowdale's Gable and Dale Head ascents feel like a hop, skip and a jump. One's reward for this is a run along the service roads used by the ski operator specialising in very stony going underfoot. Although not overly steep there is a 2.5 mile run out to the eighth Munro and then a run back before bearing off for the final Munro.

This has the added attraction of meeting runners who have already bagged the Munro in yonder distance and are only 3 miles from home whilst lesser mortals such as myself still had nearer to 6 miles of fun left. Back over horrendously spiky ski paths up to the final Munro the coup de grace is a hideously steep descent between the ski lift pylons and all the various wires and other such detritus left lying around to trip up the tired and despondent fellrunner.

Another Scottish epic with last year's inaugural record being beaten in a time of just over 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Results and pictures on the SHR website

John Telfer

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