Saturday, 12 November 2011

Tinto Hill Race

Not my best race ever. I've been wanting to do this race for years and through the whimsies of fate have been unable to so I think that added to my desire to do it.  I had also built up a picture in my head of what it was going to be like.

For some reason I thought it would be very steep and mostly on peaty bog and grass. In reality it was pretty much all on very rough track,  and it was very, very busy. Its pretty much 2 miles uphill and then 2 miles down. Where I was in the field we seemed to be jammed shoulder to shoulder a lot of the time on the way up. I found myself walking when I didn't think I should be walking and it takes stubbornness to start running when everyone around you is walking. I had to make my way round people to move up the hill and I felt like I was irritating them. I tried running 50 steps and walking 50 steps but I'd get stuck and have to stop.

I've had a cold for the last few days so my breathing was a bit off although I don't think it had that much impact, my legs felt perfectly strong. Mentally I was a bit adrift. Joan Wilson coming shoulder to shoulder with me towards the top gave me the spirit to try and stay ahead of her to the top knowing she would destroy me on the rough-looking downhill.

On the downhill I'd pretty much given up. I just didn't want to hurt myself and I hated the rough stony ground.   At first a trickle of people were coming past me but this built up to a good size river of people over-taking me. A guy just ahead of me in the latter stages was making more of a meal of it than I was so I joked to him "Its just a bit too rough isn't it?" but he took this kind of wrong and barked "that's why its called hill-running!". No doubt it made sense to him. I thought I would try and beat him to the end for being grumpy but I actually don't know if I did or not.

And then phew, phew Barney McGrew it was all over. I was very thirsty and appreciated the juice and biscuits the Carnethies had put out for us.
As Billy Bragg says you have to take the crunchy with the smooth.


  1. that was race number 40! (of the year)
  2. I did negative splits!
  3. I didn't hurt myself.
  4. Coffee and a cheese sandwich on the way home
  5. Nice sunset over the Pentlands


Dee said...

But would you do it again?
Today was the first time I have run tinto and only my 2nd hill race, I can really associate with what you're saying about walking, through lack of knowing better I walked more than I should have on the way up...
The descent, well about a 3rd of the way down I let the brakes off, probably a bit foolishly, but then I really started to enjoy myself, it was mighty rough though!

Will I do it again, I'd say so given I joined the tinto club this evening, hope to see you at a race soon

Derek Arthur,

Yak Hunter said...

Hi Derek, thanks for commenting. I would do it again. Would quite like to take a drive down there for a training run and run it without 250+ companions!

Hope you have great fun in the hills and hope to see out there.