Ben Rinnes Hill Race

Very early on Saturday I left for Dufftown with Scott and the kids to enter the Ben Rinnes hill race. I’d read a little about it and Rob had assured me it was manageable! I’d also realised it would cover some of the much needed training for Ben Nevis. It’s described as the most runnable of the long hill races, with little real navigation, another plus for me. The race is part of the Dufftown Highland Games, so while I ran, the boys watched caber tossing amongst other things, and ate their body weight in ice cream and sweets.

The route takes you over Little Conval, Meikle Conval and up Ben Rinnes, then
back the same way. It has elevation of over 1500 metres, which my legs were really feeling by the final climb on the way back, and is just short of 14 miles. We set off just after midday, starting with a lap around the pitch where the games were taking place – and the sun decided to come out. I love the sun but the timing wasn’t great and I found the first half hour tough as I tried not to panic about the distance etc. Thankfully after that, I began to relax and enjoy the sections of running and walking as we went over Little Conval, down and then up Meikle Conval. There were some quite boggy sections here but still fairly manageable.

The descent on Meikle Conval was a bit tougher through heather and the recent rain had made it fairly muddy, so I had a bit of an undignified slide down. At the foot of the hill on the road crossing there was a very welcome water station, and some lovely marshals giving us lots of encouragement. Then it was time to start the climb up Ben Rinnes. We’d been instructed to keep to the rocky path at all times, which takes a winding route up the hill. I’d definitely found my mojo at this point and really enjoyed the climb to the summit. The ground had thankfully dried up there, and so I managed some decent running back down with no falls – phew. After this, we followed the same route back over the Convals, with lots of great downhill sections and back to finish with a lap round the playing field again. There was lots of support from the crowd watching the Games, and a great atmosphere.

The race is well organised, with great marshals and a well marked route. The Highland games are great to watch too. I so enjoyed it (despite the cramping legs), and definitely plan to return next year. Hopefully we could get a few Harriers to enter!

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12 comments on Ben Rinnes Hill Race

  1. Amy Kerr says:

    Fabulous running my little mountain goat!

    • ?
      “The Highlands of Scotland”
      Oh to climb Ben Rinnes and look yonder down glen
      Reaching its peak after a strenuous climb
      Tones up your muscles also your mind
      But for me now those days are far behind
      In body have gone but in spirit remain
      Leaving Bonnie Scotland never has been the same
      Miss dearly my Scottish friends and folk
      Who had time of day for a laugh and a joke
      Unlike now where for folk to raise a smile
      Look the other way to avoid returning your smile
      Out with the dog having a walk
      Meet fellow dog walker who is reluctant to talk
      But pass by without a glance
      Should you say hello just by chance
      For happiness and community life the place for me
      Is in the Highlands of Scotland where I long to be

      Dale Quentin

  2. gilly says:

    sounds fun when a race is attached to the local Highland Games. Well done on your placing! Looking good for Ben Nevis.

  3. Bill Bennet says:

    A great report Gillian and a great run – 1st F40 is pretty good. If you really like Highland Games, pipe bands,caber tossing and all that you should run Greag Dhubh at the Newtonmore Highland Games on Saturday.

  4. Rob says:

    YES YES – let’s maybe try a harriers weekend next year. This was one of my favorite hill races last year. The Aberdeen Angus burgers after were to due for!!!
    glad you liked it!

  5. Dave says:

    Great effort Gillian. You must have found the mojo I always lost on the climbs and you “enjoyed” the climb, how do you enjoy climbs?

  6. Sadie Kemp says:

    You are tempting me Gillian, it sounds like a great race, well done you X

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