Photo above ilustrates Ben Rinnes 5 tops hill race from 2016. If I remember it right I got my PB that year for the race. 2h 24min. It is a really tough race and it throws at you everything you can imagine. The 1500m of elevation over 5 hills really can mess with your head. Once you’re on top of Ben Rinnes, you turn arround and you can see the hills you just ran over and you have to go back over them again on the way back! It can really mess with your head.
Today was a good day. All was working fine. Entered the field, registered, warmed up, chatted to few friends, race briefieng, counting at the start line and … 3 2 1 Go!
Lap around the park and out in the road leading to the hills. Quick watch check, a big No No! 3:40/km chasing the leading pack. I slowed down instantly to comfortable pace for the uphill. There was a few runners that started overtaking me but not a big deal. I wondered if they will have enough energy to keep it up on the way back to the park.
The first climb out od the field is gentle but it goes for ages. 5km of constant uphill. I ran for 2.5km and decided to change it into a fast power hike. I was still at the same speed as the guys running so I knew I am saving energy while they are sweating it all out.
It was a nice day with few showers forecasted, sadly nothing like that happened. The wind stopped, sun came out and it was absolutely boiling at times. While we looked over to the other side of the glen at the hill tops getting soaked in nice cooling, refreshing rain we were getting a nice tan line on this side!
1st hill Little Conwal was done, I lost few positions but I knew I will work back up the ladder to regain my position. On the downhill To Meikle Conwal I cought up with 2 runners and overtook them to never see them again but another 2 Carnethy Hill runners got me and were ahead of me now on the uphill. I overtook them on the up again and left them behind. Then they cought up with me on the down again to Ben Resipol. I was savibg my quads on the downhills on the way out. I just had to be strong and keep going at my own pace. On the uphill to Ben Rinnes I overtook another 3 runners with the 2 Carnethy in the group.
While I was 15min away from the summit I started to notice runners coming down. Super fast! I reached the summit to be the 15th runner in the race. Now I had to keep it that way or better it.
On the way down 2 Carnethy runners overtook me again! The same 2 I was changing positions since the 2nd hill of the race… At the bottom of Ben Rinnes a well organised group of marshalls refilled my flask and gave me a cup. Super fast service! Thank you.
On the climb to Meikle Conval I was right behind the Carnethy runners. I overtook both of them. Kept going strong all the way up and down changing positions. On the last downhill I overtook another runner and battled for 1 position with 1 Carnethy runner. She kept speeding away from me on the downhill but as soon as it got flatter or uphill I was right next to her.
Finally with 1000m to go I had enough. I had to do this. I gathered all that was left in me and got into a better gear. High revs are on… Last straight I was ahead. I kept looking over my shoulder. Them around the field final lap. She is still not there. I got this. Last straight on the field. Dodging children and their parents starting their race and finish!
Done. 2h 28min 22s.
With 2 weeks post my 154km West Highland Way I am well happy in finishing this race in this time! Done and dusted. Feet up. Rest up. Recover and go for it again! Ben Nevis Race next.