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Ben Rinnes Hill Race 25/07/2009

Distance –22.4km Climb – 1570m After much persuasion and assurances that zero navigation was required, I decided to do the Ben Rinnes hill race, part of Dufftown Highland Games, with Nick. It’s a 14 mile out and back course to the summit of Ben Rinnes passing over Little Conval (not so little!) and Meikle Conval on the outward and return journeys. It turned out to be a well-marked course (phew!) mainly on tracks, but due to the rain, parts were incredibly muddy. With much dithering and debate about what shoes to wear – we were obviously going to make a bad choice! We weighed up the fact that it hasn’t stopped raining for the last few months against the fact that it was mainly on what appeared to be good tracks, and opted for trail shoes rather than fell shoes – oops! The first mile – it felt longer - was a steady climb to the foot of Little Conval. There then followed a steeper climb to the summit. Panic set in as I realised that deep mud was the order of the day and whilst climbing was doable, I realised I was going to have a fairly hairy time on my return descent. Managed to pass a number of runners on my ascent only to see them fly past me on the descent – a re-occurring theme I’m afraid :mad:. It was on the first ascent, just two miles in, that I caught up with Nick. Realised that something was wrong as I have never caught up with Nick before. He was frantically rubbing his calf but assumed all would be well, and continued. To cut a long story short (he will give the longer version) he seems to be left with a fairly serious injury which was probably aggravated by continuing to mile 9 before pulling out. Meikle Conval was much the same – a hard climb, hands on knees, and a scary, slippy-sliddy descent. Think it was on this descent I took a dive. Thankfully the mud was wonderfully deep and no damage was done – no onlookers either! A welcome water/juice stop around mile 5 was much appreciated. 3 cups of juice later, I started my ascent of Ben Rinnes. The track weaved up to the summit – just seemed to last forever. It was around 5.5 miles for me that Andy Symonds passed on his return journey. Anyway, got to the top and was greeted by the click, click, click of the official photographer (if I’d had any strength left, he would have gone over the edge!) and then looped around to make my way back down again. Return journey was hard but I felt reasonably good. Managed to keep in front a woman who had kept passing me on the downhill stretches. The marshal at the last summit gave me extra encouragement by telling me if I kept a good pace, I should be in in under 3 hours. So that’s what I did –threw caution to the wind on my last descent, and went for it! Race finished with a loop of the highland games events field. Managed to find an extra burst of speed as applause spurred me on (had to make everyone think that I’d ran that fast all the way!) Finished in a time of 2:57. My finish time put me in 58th position (85 runners). Came 7th out of 15 women. Knew I could have done better with proper fell shoes and more practice on descents. Thoroughly enjoyed the race and the games after. I would definitely do it again – the only criticism was no juice or water at the end (or food – so not one for you Dean!)
Nick's picture

Well done Susan, and great race report. Full results can be found here: [url] Andy Symonds won in a new record time of 1:56:55, taking 5 seconds off Jon Duncan's record set in 2000. Given just how muddy it was I can only imagine how fast he would have been given drier conditions. Amazing. Photos are here: [url] including one of me sitting on the summit of Ben Rinnes having withdrawn from the race. My facebook status gives the story of my race so I'll just copy it here: [quote] [B]Nick Brown[/B] has totally "hurt" his leg, did not finish the Ben Rinnes hill race, and may not be able to run for some time. :( [/quote] [quote] [B]Nick Brown[/B] While running up the first hill my left calf seized up, but I pushed on for an hour thinking it would pass, but my left foot quickly went numb, and I had to pull out. Despite taking my shoe off and massaging it my foot stayed totally numb for about 4 hours, totally freaking me out. Went and saw a paramedic at the event field and was told the seized muscle was impinging on a nerve! Thankfully it was not a blood vessel and my foot still had circulation. More massage of my calf and shower returned feeling eventually. But it appears the seizure has resulted in a bad tare and I can longer even support my weight on my left leg. Look like I'm gonna need a fair bit of rest to let it heal properly. Not even a real hill running injury like a gash or busted ankle. Pathetic! :( [/quote] As Susan mentioned my calfs started cramping at about 2 miles, which is pretty normal for me but usually wears off after stretching them out on the first big climb, but this time it did not, and I probably should not have pushed on to mile 9 taking in more than 1/2 the total 5000ft of climbing. By that stage my foot was like a block of ice and my calf had gone from aching to a sharp shooting pain, so I had to withdraw and get a lift back to the event field. Not sure if its tare or something else, but I can still barely stand on it, but I'll hopefully see a physo or doctor in next few days and can begin letting it heal. So no Tour of Fife for me, but hopefully mended in time for the rest of the Long Hill Races.
graemebartlett's picture

Hello Susan,I can assure you

Hello Susan,I can assure you there most definitely was water and juices available adjacent to the race finish line in the games arena.Food outlets also.Graeme(organiser)

Susan's picture

Hi Graeme. This report was

Hi Graeme. This report was for the 2009 race - not sure if you were thinking it was more current? Susan