Along with Craig Grieve I headed across to Symington last Saturday on a glorious day for racing which saw 269 runners competing in the popular Tinto Hill Race. For those who are unfamiliar with this race it’s pretty straightforward following a path all the way up, going round the cairn and then back down the same way, covering 7km with 460m of ascent.
People were keen to get off to a good start and there was a fair bit of jostling as the airhorn went off like a damp squib and the race squeaked in to life. Once through the early gate the race settled down and we progressed uphill with Craig about 30 yards in front for most of the first half of the climb. The early stages were quite muddy and I was looking for the best route to avoid the boggiest sections, knowledge I should have saved for the descent later. As the climb steepened and got stonier I started to pick up a few places and gradually closed down on Craig who said later he had struggled at this stage. We swapped places a couple of times before I got in front on the final climb and I managed to achieve my first target of getting to the summit without walking, turning in 20th place and well within my previous best time at this stage.
The descent is one of my favourites as it’s one you can really attack and I initially picked up some more places only to start losing these again my legs tired and were almost grinding to a halt every time the path levelled off. Soon the finish came back in to sight and the steep stuff was almost over but not before taking a fall as my foot slid away in the slippy conditions. I managed to bounce straight back up apparently with only my pride hurt, further inspection however showed my little finger was sticking out an unusual angle and possibly dislocated. By this time my legs were pretty much done in and another couple of places were lost before crossing the line in 36:50, good enough for 23rd place and a pb, Craig finished in 30th place and also had a pb of 37:57. Meanwhile impressive running from Prasad Prasad saw him winning by almost 2 minutes in a time of 30:51, while there appeared to be a few more folk coming to grief on the descent. After the dust had settled on this one a trip to the BGH and an xray showed up a broken finger from my tumble, although by then the pain from this was secondary to the aches in my legs which this race always invokes.