Cambus Canters is an informal series of 6 time trials held each year from April to September with the aim of encouraging individual progress and of identifying the most improved Deeside Runner of the year.
Cambus Canters has been running since 2000. Initially following a “normal” race format this was adjusted in 2003 to a handicap format, which has been followed every year since.
The format of Cambus Canters is obvious to those of us who have taken part regularly, but for the uninitiated a brief explanation of how Cambus works follows below.
It is a series of six 4.2 Km time trials run over the same course on the first Thursday of each month from April to September. Based on running history, the handicapper gives runners a predicted time and associated start time. Runners then set themselves off on a staggered basis according to their assigned start times (slowest first). If everybody were to run precisely to their predicted time they would all cross the line together. In practice the runner making the biggest improvement on their predicted time will cross the line first, followed by the runner with the second best improvement and so on. Points are awarded on finishing order. If you run faster than predicted, this becomes your new handicap for next month.
First home is awarded 50 points, second gets 49 and so on. The overall winner at the end of the season is the runner with the highest score calculated from their best 4 results out of the six possible runs.
The most improved Deeside Runner also gets a very nice Capercaillie trophy to look after for 12 months.
The route follows footpaths and land rover tracks and crosses a small stream and 3 foot bridges through the Cambus O’May woods. In places it can be rocky, it can be muddy and there are some exposed roots and a few steep slopes. It can be slippy underfoot particularly in adverse weather conditions and on the bridges. Runners should be familiar with the course, its route and its navigation and if participating for the first time are recommended to reconnoitre it in advance. Some permanent Forestry Commission yellow markers are present along the route (see below), but no extra markers are set out by Deeside Runners on the night.
The Cambus Canters route starts from the Forestry Commission car park at Cambus O’May (on the north side of the A93 about 2.5 miles east of Ballater – near to the Riverside Cottage cafe) and follows the permanent yellow way marked “Pine Tree Trail” in a clockwise direction. A fixed map of the trail can be found in the car park. Further information on the location of the car park and the “Pine Tree Trail” can be found on the Forestry Commission site at http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/cambus-omay and a description and simple map can be found on the walkhighlands site which refers to the route as the “Pinewood Trail”.
First runner off at 7:00pm, or shortly thereafter.