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Creag Dhubh Hill Race – Saturday 3rd August

A counter in the British Fell championships, as well the Scottish Hill Running championship and most importantly a club Hill Race GP counter, the race was considerably busier than usual with over 300 starters. Part of the Newtonmore Highland Games, the race starts with a lap of the games field before heading towards the hill via an obstacle course of 2 barriers, a lumpy field, 2 more fences, a river, some rounded boulders, a very steep bank, another fence next to a crash barrier and across a road. The race then hits a wide gravel track leading towards the birch woods of Coille na Creige Duibhe, where a narrow path leads through grass, rising to a narrower rockier trail through heather to the summit of An Torr.

The race was started by the legendary Joss Naylor and with a total distance of 5.6km with a 370m climb, on a very sunny hot day it proved a challenge, with passing on the narrow path tricky. Not too much of a challenge for Neil Mclure, however, who was first harrier home for the men, despite falling and bashing his head. Arianne Holland had a strong run to finish first Carnegie woman. The club was represented by a strong field of 11 Carnegie runners.

The descent is fast and exciting down heather initially and then back down the narrow trail with little chance of overtaking until lower down. Then after the road crossing the same crazy obstacle course of 5 fences plus a river to cross, before a final lap of the games field to finish.

Report courtesy of Lesley Reynolds