Monthly Archives: October 2010

Bella 10k Entries received to 31st October

Update: Entries to 7th November have been posted here.

A list of all entries received to the Jimmy Irvine Achilles Heel Bella 10k, so far (31st October, 2010) is available here. If you’ve entered, please check your details are on the list, and get in touch by e-mailing if you’re not on the list as you’d expect.

If you’ve not entered yet, there’s still time, but the event is filling up fast. See the event pages for entry details, and get your form in the post.

The course maps have been updated on the Events page also.  If you have been studying the maps, you’ll now notice a slight change in some of the markers to reflect the fact that the course has now been accurately measured by an approved measurer.  This resulted in a change of position for some markers, and a new finish point.

Birkebeinerløpet, Norway

Elsie Downham ventured a bit further afield to our usual race reports…

I thought I would write up my latest (and now not so recent) racing experience as it was a bit different and very fun. And muddy. On 18th September I went to Norway to run an off-road/x-country/hilly half marathon race. I have a friend living in Oslo who told me about the event and twisted my arm to enter it back in the spring when running in the Norwegian hills for 13.1 miles seemed like a good plan.

The race is famous amongst Norwegians, and they are very proud that 8000 people run it each year (given that the Norwegian population stands at only about 7 million, I guess this is quite an achievement!)
So, the race is called, take a deep breath, the Birkebeinerløpet and takes place just outside of Lillehammer (a 2.5 hour train journey north of Oslo). There is a website to visit which has information about the race I did, as well as other running events (on the same day there is the Halvbirken, 11km and the Ultrabirken, 73km) and cycling and skiing races which take part at the same location – you can translate the page to English if your Norwegian is a bit rusty :)

I flew to Oslo on the Friday. We woke up very early on Saturday morning for porridge and sandwich making (Norway is super expensive so you always need to make sure you have a good food supply on you so as not to blow your credit card on a banana (£1.59 I paid for ONE banana on the morning of the race, not amused). We then got on a train (nice trains in Norway) to Lillehammer with lots of other runners. There was a very complex but well organised system for leaving your bags at the finish (the stadium in Lillehammer), and for dropping any extra layers just before the start which were then shipped back to the finish for you. We were then bussed up the mountain to the start at Sjusjøen, just less than 900m above sea level. 

It was cold when we got off the bus, and being a true northerner I’d already stripped down to my shorts. Lots of funny looks from sensible Norwegians in full length tights, long sleeves, hats and gloves. What a bunch of wusses! I was very glad to be sporting my new INOV8 Mudclaws – lots of boggy and muddy sections, very steep downhills, rocky and rooty singletrack, and some sneaky uphills too. I managed to more or less stick to a 5 minute kilometre pace and finished the race in 1hr48min28sec, which they seemed to think put me above average for my age group and I got a small silver cup :D (average finishing time for women aged 25-29 was 1hr59min02sec). There was a good spread for race finishers – soup, bread, cinnamon buns, bananas, and even showers!

So, all in all a long way to go for a race, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of variation in terrain, a good post-race feed, and Scandinavian blondes of course.

Hope to be back at training sometime soon…

Ben Venue 2010 Results

After last year’s gale force winds, the weather gods were slightly kinder to the 95 runners at the Bella Ben Venue Hill Race today, with a torrential downpour on the start line and only 30mph winds on the ridge to contend with.

But the weather did not stop some fast racing, with the lead changing hands many times between the top group before Matt Sullivan (Shettleston) & Peter Devenport (Bellahouston) used local knowledge for a good line on the final downhill on the open hillside from the ridge into Gleann Riabhach, and managed to pull away from the others. Matt held off Peter to win in a time of 1 hour 10 mins for the 8 mile course, but if Peter had not been forced to stop and tie a shoe lace in the run-in, the finish could have been even tighter. Finishing close behind this pair were the Shettleston duo, Tom Owens and Jethro Lennox.

In the ladies competition, Jacqui Higginbottom (Carnethy) used her speed (& long legs) on the steep trail section to overcome Shona Robertson of Westies, while Ellie Homewood, also of Westies finished in third.

In a tightly fought male vet race, the eventual winner was Bruce Smith (Carnethy) from Will Manners (Strathearn) and Alan Gilkison (Westerlands). In the ladies vet competition Fabienne Thompson of Carnegie held off the Carnethy pair, Joanne Anderson & Joan Wilson.

The teams prizes were split to the east & west of the country, with Shettleston winning the men’s (Matt Sullivan, Tom Owens, Jethro Lennox) and Carnethy winning the ladies (Jacqui Higginbottom, Fiona McKinnon & Joanne Anderson).

Being a new race, not everyone took the optimum route today, and I’m sure everyone knows of places where they can shave off a few seconds in the big race next year, but spare a thought for the runner who took a very non-optimum route, and ended up at Kinlochard, resulting in a 12 mile taxi ride back to the finish!

Ben Venue is one of the SHR championship races in 2011, so with this being the first race over the full course, we are keen to learn from your experience, so please send any comments or suggestions for improvement to

The race doubles as a fundraiser for the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team, so many thanks to all the runners, marshalls & helpers who helped raise £500 for team funds.

Hope to see you all next year!

Results available as either a PDF (link) or Excel (link)