Turnhouse Hill Race 2022 – Race Report

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley……”

The Turnhouse Hill race used to be coordinated by Andy Kitchin but has not “run” since 2013. I always liked the race and having run ca. 200 Scottish Hill races, I felt it was high time to do my bit for the running community. Turnhouse, being a local hill, was the perfect choice. Thanks to Andy for letting the Penicuik Harriers take it on. Alas, Covid delayed the re-jig of the race, but we got there in the end.

Being only 5.2kms, with 310m climb, one might falsely assume that Turnhouse is an easy race. But it has an annoyingly runnable initial 1km gradual climb, a steep ascent/descent to/from the summit and a fast 2km sprint back to the finish. It is a perfect mid-week race during the summer.

As this was my first time organising any race, I thought I had everything planned. What could go wrong for a quick mid-week race?

Unlike in the “Kitchin” days, we decided to have marshals on the course and even flagged some sections where we felt there could be some ambiguity in route choice. Despite this, on the decent from the summit, a good third of the runners deviated a little from the main route by following a quad-track trod and not taking the direct straight line to the so-called “biscuit van”. This shortened the race route by about 300 meters. Not much in the grand scheme of things but the shorter route would knock a couple of minutes off race time. Unfortunately, our initial excitement of the lead runner breaking the previous route record (24:46) was dampened when we found his Strava route online. He unfortunately took the short-cut and so we cannot officially change the course record. Also, as so many runners took this slightly different route, we have made no attempt to adjust positions etc. We simply need to flag that section of the route better next year.

If you want to know what the biscuit van looks like, please check out the Covid “distanced” run-through of the course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBPdSJqI8LI

In usual hill runners’ spirit of simply enjoying running for the sake of it, no one seemed too fussed about the route issues and feedback was overall extremely positive. Thanks.

First senior male was Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde Athletics Club) in 22:17, followed by Alistair Masson (Carnethy) in 24:38. As far as we are aware, Alistair did run the full route and beat the course record by 6 seconds, but we will not change the official route record I am afraid. Sorry Alistair – you’ll just have to come back next year. Third male (in fact his category was M16-23) was Angus Wright (Team East Lothian AC) in 24:54.

First female was Sorcha Shepherd (F16-23 – Edinburgh Athletics Club) in 30:51, followed by Isla Paterson (F16-23 – Gala Harriers) with Nicola Duncan (F40) coming 3rd in 31:33.

Finally, we also had a 2km (100m) junior race. All four runners were from Lasswade AC

1st: Freya Mowbray – 8:33

2nd: Bethan Kitchin – 8:51

3rd: Eilidh Mowbray -10:04

4th: Laura Kitchin -10:56

This race (for 10–15-year-olds) will continue next year, so we encourage more runners for next year. It’s FREE!!

Full result will be posted up on the SHR website.

Finally, I must thank the small army of Penicuik Harriers who helped with registration, marshalling, timing etc. As far as I am aware, it is our first hill race as a club. We learnt a lot and hopefully all the wrinkles will be ironed out for next year.

 

Happy running y’all

Rob

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