Alternative Carnethy 5 – 5 races in 5 nights!

My home running club Carnethy organised a race every weekday evening last week that made up a series called the Alternative Carnethy 5 (here’s the original race).

Ahead of the event, individual challenges are set – from a killer downhill-only flyer to an orienteering finale – that take place over the week at 7pm. You can race on the night or complete each course in your own time before close of play on Sunday and if you run all five your accumulated time goes forward to a magical scoring system (no one knows!?) that will decide a winner!

Some of the routes, like the Caerketton Doonhill, are organised year after year – with this year seeing a new course record I can’t even fathom! – while others are brand new and such routes can only be thought of by the mad brain of Mark Hartree, the race series organiser. Here’s how the five routes looked this year –

1. CapeBellsHelextric 8.2km, 460m ascent


2. Allermuir Uuuuuuuppppphill 3.2km, 320m ascent


3. Caerketton Doonhill 1.8km, -320m ascent


4. Threipmuir’s in the way, min 7km, max ascent 180m


5. Mini mountain marathon


Unlike Nigel who managed to race each route on the night it was held, I took Monday and Wednesday off and squeezed both of these routes into a social run with some mates on Saturday. Thank you to Ais, Eoin and Jonny for joining me and Nige for pointing us in the right direction while herding the others around the hills!

The finale of the mini mountain marathon – an orienteering course similar to a score event – on the Friday evening summed up this week of madness with runners given 75 minutes to dash around trying to find controls dotted around the hills. Somehow, despite missing 5 of the 13 controls and coming in over the allocated time my other race times made up for it and I came out on top among the four ladies who completed the five races in the week! It just goes to show, turn up and do your best and you may just get somewhere!

Next year I’m hoping to encourage more ladies to enter and attempt all five routes, it’s a fun if not a little exhausting week! It’s for everyone, all inclusive, and a good way to discover new trails and spots for running that you didn’t know existing, even if you did think you knew the hills on your doorstep like the back of your hand!

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