Ready! Steady! Go!

The very first Tiree 10k and half marathon was held in 2006.
(Someone was seen sporting an original 2006 T-shirt.)
The event is now a firm fixture in the island’s calendar.
And it draws people from all over the UK and beyond.

Will Wright – Race Organiser

Organised by Will Wright of Tiree Fitness
and his wife Becky of Chocolates and and Charms,
the event is almost fully booked within hours
of being open for booking.

Becky Wright of Chocolates and Charms with Cafe assistant Lewis

From the start islanders have taken part in the race,
but equally so in serving in various ways including,
working in the Chocolates and Charms’ Cafe
and out on the course as marshals.

Enjoying the carbs!

Participants arrived by ferry and plane.
Some even arrived by private charter,
such as the group who came by a small boat
from the neighbouring Isle of Mull.

Welcome To Tiree

Although some participants arrive early in the preceding week,
registration opens on Friday evening and again on Saturday.
Every runner goes away with a goody bag that includes
amongst other things their important race number
and a race T-shirt.


Registration opens on Friday evening

Before the start of main event
children’s races were held on Soroby beach.
Then all the runners came down to the beach
for the start of the race.

Members of the Tiree Pipe Band playing on the beach

This year Tiree’s Pipe Band were present
and played on the beach before the “Off”.
Then it was the resounding countdown
from 10 to “Go!”

Under Final orders

The runners were off.
For some it would be 10k
For others it would be the half marathon.
What a dramatic setting for the start of a race.

“Go!” – They are off their marks

On this occasion I joined the marshals at the refreshment station
at the cross roads 
opposite Heylipol Church Premises.

For those taking part in the half-marathon.
this is a crucial point in the race.
“Turn left and keep to the left handside of the road!”
(Tiree’s roads are almost all single track.)

All smiles as they await for the first runners to arrive

Marshals have learned from Will’s example
and know how important it is
to encourage the runners –
and they certainly did this!

The first runners come up the long straight to Heylipol Church

As well as the encouraging banter
there was water and jelly babies on hand
for those wanted or required such refreshment.

The timing could not have been better.
We were having guests arriving on race day
from Oxfordshire.

One of the First Ladies to pass through the station

John is a keen mountaineer and runner.
Age 75, he made a late entry
for the half-marathon,
but I will let John tell his story.

John with his camera to hand

Running the Tiree Half Marathon promised to be demanding and exhilarating while enjoying the amazing beauty of the island. It would be very different from many of my previous half-marathons.

Who is that man on the bike? It’s Robert – who has his own marshalling post at Moss and a distinctive style of encouraging the runners

Starting on the beach and traversing the bay and then running along some idyllic lanes and tracks with a relatively small field of runners would be the icing on the cake’ of half-marathons. Earlier in the year, preparations for the race were well advanced and on target with training in the Chilterns and the Highlands contributing to the build-up of excitement of running yet another half-marathon.

Then catastrophe! Following a routine training run soreness developed in my right calf. Investigation indicated that healing would take some eight weeks. What about doing some cross training as a way of maintaining fitness and perhaps I might still be able to participate in the the Tiree Half-Marathon?

But then further catastrophe. The mountain biking and walking seems to have upset an old back injury making walking and standing difficult yet alone the prospect of running.

Result. Instead of participating in the Tiree half-marathon I find myself taking photographs and giving out drinks and words of encouragement. Watching the leaders embark on the last couple of miles of the race made me sad and very disappointed that I had had to withdraw from the race at the last moment and from a race which had so much character and charm. The Tiree half-marathon would have been my 52nd half-marathon but it wasn’t to be. I had to console myself that at least I was there to see the race and handing out drinks encouraging other runners. This was better than not being there at all.

It’s that man on the bike again. His job is done and he reports in at Heylipol

“Thanks John for that helpful insight into your experience.
Being a walker and not a runner I appreciate it.
And thanks too for being a marshal.”

The final runner to pass through Heylipol and she is still smiling

Finally the day was rounded off with ceilidh in the evening.
It is reported to have been one of the very best.
“Just how do they dance after running?
How do those tired feet and aching limbs
find the necessary strength
to take to the dance floor?”

“It’s not the finishing line yet!”

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

A Fly Past at Heylipol