Portrait of a Hill Runner

2018 David Shepherd Memorial Glamaig Hill Race

Despite the Glamaig Hill Race being local for me 2018 was the first time my diary allowed me to cover it.  I chose a good year with both the overall course record and the Women's record being broken.  The race also recorded a record number at the start line and finishers. The course is very simple, starting from Sligachan Hotel it is basically a mile run to the base of Glamaig, 1.25 miles steeply up, turn around, 1.25 miles trying to keep you balance down first scree and then very steep grassy slopes followed by a mile run to the finishing line.  The descent is described by Scottish Hill Racing as probably the roughest and toughest of any Scottish hill race.

I have in this selection chosen some of the close up portraits I tend to take of athletes.  They are from the front through to the back of the field to give an impression of what it takes to be a Scottish Hill Runner.  It is certianly not the crowds.  The race started at 15:00 and at the same time as nearly 20 million were watching a soccer match on TV I counted 5 spectators up on the hill.  I think supporters from both events enjoyed their beer in the evening, but for those at Glamaig it was brewed on the premises; thanks to the Cullin Brewery.

A number of my action images in full clour are in the Skye Times and can be viewed here.

For a larger version of the smaller images just click on them.

14 minutes in and race winner Finlay WIld has just started the steep part of the ascent. He was to win in a record time of 00:44:22 - 5 seconds quicker than his previous record set in 2012.
Ted Mason jumped from 5th to 2nd on his rapid traverse of the scree shoot. Impressive to watch close up and as his portrait shows he passed me in a determined and focussed mood.
Jill Stephen shaved a second of the Women's record which had stood since 1990 (the last time England were in a semi final of a soccer World Cup). Her new record is 00:56:09
Caked in dust from the scree shoot but still fighting for his balance and maintaining good pace there is almost the breaking of a smile (or grimace) from this hill runner.
Time to empty the shoes at the foot of the scree slope. It will make the run down the rest of the hill and across the open peat moor that little bit more bearable on tired legs.
Best foot forward. Her standing leg is lost deep in the scree as this hill runner reaches the bottom of the scree shoot.
And at the end of the day the reason why we take to the hills remains "because we enjoy it". I had started making my way back as I was passed close to the road before the hotel by one of the tail end runners. My camera pack was feeling very heavy so it was good to enjoy some banter with this fine competitor who though thinking the descent was 'crazy' had enjoyed his day on the Glamaig.

2 Responses

  1. Michelle Hetherington
    | Reply

    I love these photos from Glamaig, so gritty and atmospheric. Theres one of me I’d love to use ,is this possible ?

    • Thank you. Glad you like them. I will get in touch to arrange image when back in office. Geraint

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