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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.)
Marshals have learned from Will’s example
and know how important it is
to encourage the runners –
and they certainly did this!
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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?”
This is ‘Life on Tiree’