I do not enter that many races, partly because I have moved around lot the past 2 years so I rarely planned far ahead. Also because I tend not to enter races to be competitive, and for a lot of races, well that is the point. I find races are, however, a good way to take on a challenge I did not know how to do alone. For example, the Ring of Steall. I did not know how to get into the mountains or have the confidence to tackle routes off the beaten track. Here was a mountain race with ridge lines (something very new and an exciting prospect for me) that would have the route way marked and with other people around to follow. A great introduction! Needless to say I obviously did train to be able to complete the race safely, but before I ran that route in the race, I would not have done it alone. Another reason I do not race often is cost, and also cut-offs.
Anyway, so it is weird in a way or maybe natural to find myself as race director for a new race, and at a time when I am struggling to want to race myself. So why the Tyndrum 24?
Like most things in life, I was in a place at a time when an opportunity arose. I was meeting Kirsty from By The Way for coffee in Tyndrum to discuss hosting a training camp at her hostel. She said she had a race idea that might interest me, something herself, Ellen and Ran had talked about, but had not the time to organise. The idea was a 24hr lap race using the hostel as a base. The race had to be in the off season to make it viable for the hostel. Kirsty suggested September, but with the Salmon Skyline events it seemed a bad time. Somehow, don’t ask me how, January seemed a great time to hold an endurance race in the Highlands!
Another part of why I am doing the things I am (changing careers from medical physics to sport development, starting an outdoor business and organising a race) is I do these things because I want to get more people outside and get them into things maybe they would have thought of before. The T24 is a race that could be used as a race, or as a training event. Here is an opportunity to not only run cut-off free (only one cut-off to worry about!), but to run in potentially extreme conditions for a long amount of time and the opportunity to run trails in the dark with less risk as you have other runners around you, a medical team on hand and a race team behind you. I am someone who is thinking in several years time about the Spine Race, yet running through a night in winter alone is still beyond my capabilities. A race like the T24 could be stepping stone in that direction.**
We spent some time then working out how you start a race. E-mails were sent to land owners, we sought interest on Facebook and I made couple of phone calls to ScottishAthletics. Our business WayOutside was not yet incorporated and we needed a bank account asap. First thing first, get a business up and running, then find someone to provide the medical cover for such an event. Thankfully that only took 3 phone calls and we had Rescue Medics on board. Then it was ticketing, UKA and Scotland athletic race rules, insurance, route mapping, T&Cs, timing…. the list goes on! The goal was to put on an affordable race, but in all honesty hosting a race race like this is expensive! I was sad to have to make it as expensive as it is, also once over a certain price people expect a certain type of event.
The next step was to stick to our values and this proved hard at first. There is a lot of expectation for race T shirts, medals, goody bags, to drive your own car etc… I caved and agreed to race t shirts even though I had not budgeted for them. This decision really ate me up inside. Max and I hate owning things (now I live in a house I am struggling with the *stuff* everywhere) and prefer to fix our running kit than buy new items and do worry a lot about the environment and climate change, how can we not? As chance would have it, I had been commissioned to write piece for Women’s Running so I thought I better buy a copy and read it as if I am really honest, I had never read their magazine before. It is actually really good though! And in this issue was a brilliant article by Dan Lawson of ReRun Clothing. As soon as I finished the article I messaged Dan on facebook and he called me back. ReRun would do the T shirts for our race! If you have not visited the ReRun website please do, they upcycle and re sell second hand running kit 😀
I am now at a point where ticket sales are nearly breaking even with the cost of the race (well covers half the cost…) so I can begin to sleep at night again. Also we have a pretty even gender split of race entries which makes me really happy to see.
**I am signed up since drafting this post to the Cheviot Goat race…..
The Tyndrum 24 has a 6hr, 12 hr and 24hr option and you can form a paired team in the 24hr option for fun. All races start at midday 18th January at By The Way Hostel (the train from Glasgow literally stops in the middle of the race route and the one from London stops 5 min walk away). Please check out the website for more info and tickets link – https://www.wayoutside.co.uk/tyndrum-24
I want to thank everyone sponsoring and supporting the Tyndrum 24 and Max and I at WayOutside.
Nothing Ventured Running