There’s a reason why I got nominated (by Rob) to write this race report………let me enlighten you all 🙂
It was 6.00 am in the morning. I had a trip to make to Middlesborough and back, with my work, and then I had the Newtyle Hill Race to look forward to………..I was super hyper. I was getting the bug for hill races in nice weather 🙂 I headed out for the day, to whizz around my appointments and get back. Gillian was picking me up at Hillend at 5.25 pm, along with Sadie and Stuart who were coming along also. Rob had decided to make his own way there. We headed off in the Perth (not Australia) direction. Newtyle Hill race is at the Loch of the Lowes in Dunkeld. The race is 7.8km long, and Newtyle Hill is 300m in height. The race was at 7.30 pm and we arrived in plenty of time. Rob was in the car park by the time we arrived, and had already registered. Registration was at the Taybank Pub, in Dunkeld. As the weather was warm and sunny, people were sitting out in the beer garden. But not us, no way……….we were ready to race! Registration was quick, with the usual count of runners, nervous chat, stomach churning etc, etc.
The race starts approx a 5 minute walk from the Taybank Pub in Dunkeld. It starts at an area known by the locals, as “the field”. Adrian Davis, the event organiser, had given us our briefing before the race. I had printed out the maps and distributed them to the other harriers. Adrian advised that the route wasn’t marshalled, but was marked out with bits of red and white tape every 15 metres or so. My head was in overdrive mode at this point, because I was only half listening to the brief, due to those nerves that I get in every race. Also, I was only half scanning the map……….big mistake. It’s a pretty fast hill race, more cross country I would say, with good trails through woods and on undulating roads. The hill is saved until the end, when you’re a bit tired. We lined up at “the field”………..there were approx 40 runners. We were off……….running as fast as we could, through forest, trails, paths, Dunkeld Golf Course, and then on to Newtyle Hill. Stuart was off like lightning, followed by Rob. Gillian was now out of sight, and Sadie was right behind me. As I was climbing the hill, Stuart came down, followed by Rob. I greeted them with a High 5, and carried on up the hill. Boy I wish I was on the descent, I thought. I got to the top, and took a quick glance. There was a fantastic view of the village Birnam, and the bridge over the River Tay. Beautiful. As I started to descend, there were approx 10 runners just behind me, including Sadie. I said hi, and headed on down the hill as fast as I could. Then I was on my own 🙁
When you’re new to hill races, you don’t think about taking the map out, that you’ve neatly tucked into your shorts. You just think about running as fast as you can, and trying to catch some fellow runners. Plus I hadn’t been paying attention to anything on the way to the foot of the hill, because I was so preoccupied of placing my feet correctly, without twisting my ankle. I was trying to follow the red and white tape, but was then getting worried why I hadn’t seen anybody for about a mile or so. I was kind of hoping that Sadie was right behind me……….why didn’t I wait for her at the top?? Why did I head off on my own?? It suddenly dawned on me that I was well and truly lost………what a muppet!! I ran up and down wrong routes for another couple of miles, then I saw a house in the distance……..result, I thought……..civilization. I knocked on the door, and a nice man answered. I explained that I was lost, and had been running a hill race, and asked if he knew where “the field” was. He said that there were plenty of fields around………..don’t think he quite knew what I meant. He said I could just go the easy way back, and follow the main road……….but I wanted to finish the race……….so he pointed me in the right direction. I eventually spotted some red and white tape, and I was back on track. It was starting to get dark, and I was dressed in just my shorts and harriers vest………..plus I was starting to get cold. No phone with me, no whistle, no bum bag, no extra layer……….a true muppet! I was tired.
Meanwhile, back at “the field”, everyone had finished the race and were having sandwiches and drinks. The presentations were happening. Gillian won 3rd lady and got some beer as her reward, but my fellow harriers didn’t stay for the presentations as they had all headed back out towards the hill to look for me. I was starting to wonder if I would ever make it back to the finish. I had covered 12.8km, and the race was 7.8km. Having travelled 600 km by car the same day, I was kind of getting fed up counting km’s!! As I was near the finish, this man and his daughter had also come to search for the missing harrier……….I caught glimpse of them and was so pleased to see them. I asked if I was last (stupid question), and he said yes. I passed them, and shouted out that I would never make it in Celebrity Jungle…….he chuckled. Even when my head is down, I still have my humour 🙂 I ran to the finish……….there was no finish………everyone had gone home, apart from Adrian. My fellow team mates were out searching for me. I got in Adrian’s car to go look for them, and just as I did, I saw Gillian and Sadie heading towards me. I’ve never been happier to see anyone as much in my entire life!! They phoned Rob and Stuart, and we were all reunited again. A happy ending. I had a lot of apologising to do, and a lot of appreciation and thanks to give out. They are my true mates and were extremely supportive…………especially when I felt so embarrassed.
It was a beautiful hill race, on a beautiful day, one that I hope to do again (but not until I have done a course on navigation and map reading).
Newtyle Hill Race may have beaten me yesterday, but it hasn’t broken me……….see you in 2015 Newtyle 🙂
Thanks to Rob, Stuart, Gillian and Sadie………..well done for completing the hill race and well done to Gillian (aka mountain goat) for 3rd lady.