Neil Page and Murdo Macleod travelled to Brechin for the resurrection of the White Caterthun Race. This had been a popular race in the 80’s but hadn’t been run since the mid 90’s. While it had previously been a shorter 11.5 miles, this has been extended to a half marathon distance. The run starts and finishes in Brechin, is held on quiet but hilly back roads and includes a cross-country section that heads up the White Caterthun following a narrow path through heather to the summit and a height of 298m. An excellent, challenging, event, enjoyed by both in dry but windy weather. Many thanks to the organisers for a good day out and hope they run it again next year – recommended. The organisers also run The Great Drumtochty Challenge, a one day mountain bike orienteering competition which was started in 1998 by the Brechin Cycle Club. Details can be found at Drumtochty Challenge
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Murdo said: “I saw this advertised on born2run and suggested it to Neil not knowing that his mother lived in Brechin. She kindly offered to put us up so Nicola and I travelled up on Saturday and met up with Neil, Rona and the lovely young Lily. Registration, along with the start and finish was at the nearby Brechin High School and was very straight forward. This race was organised for two reasons according to the web-site; 1) to re-instate one of Scotland’s finest races, and 2) to raise funds for the organisers chosen charity (The Guide Dogs) for their entry into the Flora London Marathon 2009.
Brian, Martin and Christopher McLaughlin are running in the Flora London Marathon 2009 in aid of the Guide Dogs Charity. On the day of the event they are expecting to be the only father and two sons team, with Christopher being one of the youngest entrants on the day as he will only be 6 weeks over the minimum age. Consequently, there were a number of stalls raising funds for The Guide Dogs and there were also some dogs and their handlers supporting the event and demonstrating their skills.
The race was held on quiet but hilly roads heading up and back from the local glens through farmlands. Half way through the 13.1 mile course the route cuts off-road and climbs directly over the top of the White Caterthun following a series of narrow tracks before rejoining the road and descending back down into the farmlands and finally back to the high school. The route was challengingly humply, similar to the Templeton 10 in Dundee, with a long climb in the first part, but the off-road section added a unique twist. The (approximately 2 mile) section was easy underfoot, dry and heathery, up to the remains of the hill fort on the top of White Caterthun before descending back to the road at mile 8 where it was mostly downhill to the finish. There were water stations at approximately 4, 8 and 11.5 miles and each turning or junction was well marshalled. At the finish, you got an excellent medal and, although we couldn’t stay, the prizes were also excellent with an impressively large Quaich for the winner. The weather stayed dry throughout but there was a strong headwind in places, particularly in the first half and on the exposed hill section.
As it was the first time it was run, the field was small (45) but I’m sure that will increase when word gets round and I hope the organisers put it on again. It was universally well received. The organiser also said to estimate about 10 minutes more than your normal half-marathon time and that seemed to work out about right – I was certainly pleased with my time although I was getting very tired by the last mile. Neil went a bit off-course in the final section adding about another mile and dropping back from his third placing to finish sixth in an impressive time given the additional distance and the climbs.
In short an excellent event that can only grow with a unique section off-road. A well organised local race in the best possible sense. Many thanks to all involved; organisers, marshals, helpers and The Guide Dogs for a good day out – highly recommended.”
Neil said: “To sum up for me, I suppose it was a hard course with some significant headwinds and a huge hill climb in the first part but these together with the scenery made it an enjoyable if not exhilarating challenge (until my mix up at the finish). I will definitely look to do it again – if it is continued.”
Some photos including some received from the race organiser: